Caldwell baptized by fire, responds with huge win

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Colton Caldwell stepped in at quarterback Friday against Davidson and led the Rocks to a huge win (Photo by Stephanie Porter)

In the biggest game of the season for Dublin Coffman with a
Ohio Capital Conference title and top-seed for the Region 3 playoffs on the
line, Colton Caldwell stepped in under center for only the second time in his career as
a starter and led the Shamrocks to a 10-7 win over Hilliard Davidson.


COLUMBUS – You would have never thought Colton Caldwell was
a backup quarterback.

In the biggest game of the season for Dublin Coffman with a
Ohio Capital Conference title and top-seed for the Region 3 playoffs on the
line, Caldwell stepped in under center for only the second time in his career as
a starter and led the Shamrocks to a 10-7 win over Hilliard Davidson.

The tight end-turned-quarterback took the snaps
following the season-ending leg injury Cole Stoudt suffered last week.

“We haven’t played a game like this yet (this season). We
practiced hard all week because it was an emotional game,” Caldwell said. “We
played the best to our abilities and did great.

“It was a rough week of practice but we all got all the
plays down and did great tonight.”

The senior southpaw Caldwell was 8-of-13 passing for 100 yards and rushed for
76 yards on 25 carries from the pistol formation most of the night. He scored a
touchdown on a 14-yard run late in the first quarter to give the Rocks and early
7-0 lead.

“We put in a lot of running plays for me and our offensive
line did a great job doing that. They just made huge holes for us and we just
ran the ball last night,” said Caldwell.

The adjustments on offense proved to be effective.

“It’s not like we can come up with a whole new offense
because we don’t have time to sit down and recreate going into Week 8,” Coffman
head coach Mark Crabtree said. “But we were able to emphasize (Caldwell) as a
runner a little more and that is one thing we might not do with Cole.

“With Colton, he offers a little bit more in the run game.
It was clear that he wasn’t completely comfortable in the passing game and that
is where Cole was excelling. We have good, skilled receivers and we just have to
keep practicing.”

As Crabtree mentioned, it took a series for Caldwell to
settle in throwing an interception on Coffman’s first possession.

“I had a bad pass and it got tipped a little bit and I just
let it get past me,” he said. “My teammates picked me up and the offensive line
and defense said it was going to be fine and we just finished off the game.”

Coffman (8-0, 3-0) had lost three of the last four meeting
with Davidson before Friday’s road win.

“I am proud of our players. We are battling through some
adversity and our players stepped up and did a good job tonight,” Crabtree said.

Davidson (6-1, 2-1) tied the game in the second quarter on
a 1-yard option run by quarterback Jimmy Curtis. Davidson was without senior
quarterback Jake Trubiano and backs Rico Butler and Spencer Delande due to
illness and injury.

“We’re both great teams and I think it would have been
close just like it was tonight (with Davidson’s starters in the game),” said
Caldwell.

Senior kicker Kyle Clinton connected on a 32-yard field
goal early in the fourth quarter to give Coffman the final 10-7 lead. The Rocks
then held the ball for the final 6:02 of the game that included a Caldwell
fourth down conversion late in the drive to seal the win.

“(Crabtree) just told us to hold onto the football and do
our best. Our offensive line did a great job making holes for us to get
through,” Caldwell said.

Stoudt is one of the top players in Ohio for the Class of
2011, according to Ohio High magazine, with early scholarship offers to
Cincinnati and Louisville. He broke his leg just above the knee last week
against Hilliard Darby and underwent surgery in which four pins where placed to
stabilize the bone.

He was advised by doctors not to attend the game, according
to Crabtree, but had some advice of his own for Caldwell before the game.

“He said, ‘Hold onto the ball, do your best, play as best
as you can and do what you can do’.” We won it for him and the team,” Caldwell
said.

Caldwell knows that Friday’s game is most likely a preview
for a future postseason match up with Davidson.

“We’ll see them again in the playoffs. We’re both great
teams – they are a hell of a team – and we’re just going to play hard every team
we play,” he said.

“It was just a great game and a great environment to play
in.”

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