Saturday served as a lesson in moving on for the Calhoun football team.
The Colts had three touchdowns called back and were whistled for a whopping 18 penalties, but Nicholas Turrini’s shifty running and Ariel DeJesus’ all-around effort lifted the host team over Bellmore JFK, 27-21, in a Nassau II season-opener.
They put the negatives behind them to outlast a Cougars team that showed late life.
“It’s something you can’t control, so you just have to roll with the punches,” said Turrini, who scored two touchdowns but had another two called back because of holding calls. “You just have to get up; you’ve got to keep going.”
Calhoun marched down the field on its first drive, capped by a 35-yard score on an option by Turrini, who struggled passing but made plays with his legs.
No play is dead with Turrini under center. The nationally recognized lacrosse player can turn nothing into something when the pocket collapses, and he showcased his wheels by running 19 times for 76 yards.
Turrini’s second touchdown, a 13-yard option run, gave Calhoun a 14-7 lead. Thomas Casimano, who ran 28 times for 139 yards, scored from four yards out in the third quarter, with the missed extra point making the score 20-7. Jake Marine’s tackle on a botched punt attempt made the two-play, 6-yard drive possible.
Calhoun took a 27-15 lead with 4:05 remaining on DeJesus’ 16-yard touchdown on 4th-and-inches. Just when the lead seemed comfortable, Bellmore’s Jason Small took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown that made the score 27-21.
Even though every Calhoun strike of the second half was answered, DeJesus said he never wavered.
“That happens,” he said. “It’s a football game. Things go back and forth. We just have to play our defense.”
That defense was sturdy. DeJesus had 18 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery, while Keith Rosales had two sacks and James Thomann had three.
On Calhoun’s final possession — a penalty-free nine-play drive — DeJesus took a handoff up the middle on 3rd-and-3 for 23 yards to midfield with just over a minute left, effectively sealing the game.
DeJesus ran 15 times for 89 yards. Each of his carries went for positive yardage, a bonus for a team that struggled to overcome the penalty flag.
“We can’t control how the refs dictate the game,” DeJesus said. “We can only control how we play. We always try to keep a positive look on things and just keep going.”
Turrini prompted the Colts to keep trudging forward, returning to the huddle with a positive outlook after several home-run plays went for naught. DeJesus was impressed by his demeanor.
“That’s a leader that on any team, he can make a huge impact,” he said. “That’s what a quarterback is supposed to do, and that’s what he does."