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The Calvert football team all but pleaded the fifth when asked about individual performances following its 21-13 win over host Northern on Friday night.

Exhibit A: Tyler Payne on his game-saving play where he ripped the ball loose from Northern running back Christian Harrison in the fourth quarter to help preserve the win.

“I have nothing to say about that, I give all the credit to my team,” Payne said. “I give all the credit to my offense and the D-line worked hard all night. Again, that’s not what I work for, it’s a team effort. Somebody opened a hole and I was right place, right time. That’s how it happened.”

Exhibit B: Vincent Bowen on his first-quarter seven-yard scoring run following a 10-play, 77-yard drive to put Calvert on top 7-6.

“I’ve got to give it to my offensive line,” Bowen said. “Everyone did their job and blocked well.”

Exhibit C: Keith Gross Jr. on his second-quarter interception that helped set up Calvert’s second touchdown.

“I’d like to give it to my man [linebacker] Denzil [Bonner],” Gross said. “He was the one who held the [receiver] at the line so all I had to do was follow the ball.

The Cavaliers (4-2, 3-2 SMAC) picked up their fourth win in 2012, one more than it had all of last season. So are the days of Calvert struggling coming to a close?

“I think so,” Calvert head coach Rick Sneade said. “People around us realize we can be good, but most importantly our kids realize we can be good. If we could win out and find a way to squeak into the [Class 2A South Region] playoffs, I think that would change everything.”

The turning point came early in the fourth. With Calvert holding its eight-point lead and the Patriots driving, Payne ripped the ball out of Harrison’s hands at the Cavaliers’ 37.

“That was an important play,” Sneade said, “a very important play.”

“Christian did a nice job of running the ball for us,” Northern head coach A.J. Berberian said. “It’s just one of those things where he was double covered and the kid from Calvert made a nice play.”

Northern went four and out on its next possession and turned the ball over on downs on its final possession when Taylor Wagner’s pass was batted down at the Patriots’ 30.

“We’ve been playing some really tough games and we’ve had some trouble finishing off at the end and I think that finishing at the end was more important to sustain against their pressure,” Sneade said.

The Patriots couldn’t have started any better as it took the opening kickoff and promptly mounted a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in Joe Hunter’s short scoring run. The drive chewed up almost seven minutes.

But Calvert came back with a lengthy drive of its own that came to an end on Bowen’s touchdown and resulted in a 7-6 lead.

After Gross’ pick, Sean Kinney hauled in a 45-yard scoring pass from Jermaine Hunter and the Cavaliers led 14-6 at halftime.

Calvert got some breathing room on the first drive of the third quarter when it marched down the field in 14 plays that covered 70 yards before Hunter scored from four yards out.

“We’re pretty small and thin up front so getting that lead didn’t mean we had the game in hand,” Sneade said, “but it gave us some breathing room.”

Mason Cox answered back for Northern when he scampered 53 yards to close the gap to 21-13, but that was as close as it would get.

“That kind of awakened us to make some stops on defense,” Bowen said of Cox’s run.

Northern (1-5, 1-3) saw its losing skid extended to four games.

“The kids played real hard tonight,” Berberian said. “There’s nothing about our performance I’m ashamed with. It’s just little things right now and it was little things last week. It’s things we can fix, things we can work on. We’re coming along. The kids from Calvert made more plays than we did tonight.”

mreid@somdnews.com

Calvert 21, Northern 13

Calvert 7 7 7 0

Northern 6 0 7 0

First quarter

N Swann 2 run (kick failed), 6:42

C Bowen 7 run (Tyler kick), 11:07

Second quarter

C Kinney 45 pass from Hunter (Tyler kick), :51

Third quarter

C Hunter 4 run (Tyler kick), 6:40

N Cox 53 run (Rexroth kick), 7:39

Team stats

C (10 first downs, 37-156 rushing, 113 passing, 0-0 fumbles, 8-73 penalties)

N (12 first downs, 39-221 rushing, 16 passing, 1-1 fumbles, 4-30 penalties)

Top individual performances

Rushing C: Hunter 11-61, Wallace 10-37, Chase 5-20; N: Cox 21-148, Grimwood 3-24, Harrison 7-16

Passing C: Hunter 3-11-0 113; N: Wagner 1-4-1 16

Receiving C: Kinney 2-75, Payne 1-38; N: Grimwood 1-16