Tears splashed in sorrow, an ice bath was poured in celebration.
It was that kind of surreal night at Oaks Christian School (Westlake Village, Calif.) on Friday, with the host Lions rolling up a resounding 48-0 victory over Newbury Park.
First, the grim news:
Oaks Christian standout senior defensive end Bo Calvert suffered a broken right leg near the end of the first half. He was trying to chase down Panthers quarterback Cameron Rising, got his leg tangled up with a Newbury Park lineman, and fell in serious pain to the stadium turf.
Calvert moaned in obvious agony until medical personnel were able to stabilize the leg with a cast. An ambulance arrived nearly 10 minutes later to transport him to the hospital.
“It was tough to take,” said Lions junior defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. “I cried my eyes out.”
Then the happy circumstances, at least for Oaks Christian.
Running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 197 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 39, 29 and 10 yards, and the Lions defense pitched a shutout against the potent Panthers in what becomes a historic win for coach Jim Benkert.
The Lions coach picked up win No. 250, and players responded by dousing Benkert with an ice bath as he delivered his postgame address.
Afterward, the Lions broke into cheers of “250! 250! 250!”
“It means I’m getting old,” Benkert told a reporter through a grin. “It means I’ve coached a lot of football games.”
More serious, he added: “It’s a nice feeling. I’m a little surprised the players knew about it, but they apparently for ready. For me, I’m happy that I’m able to share this with my wife and family, who are all here.”
As he spoke, family members all sported shirts that noted: “Coach Benkert, Win No. 250.”
Benkert mostly wanted to praise his players, who he said “gutted it out” after Calvert’s difficult injury.
Benkert said he saw the X-rays in the second half, and it indicated a clean break. “He apparently won’t need surgery, which is great news,” said Benkert. “It’s 6-8 weeks to heal, and he can be here cheering for his teammates.”
Calvert’s younger brother, Josh Calvert, played linebacker on defense and shared the first-half quarterback duties with Marco Siderman.
Calvert completed 5 of 6 passes for 89 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Robert Fletcher. He also rushed for 48 yards on four carries.
“It’s definitely a tough night,” said Calvert, who spoke to his brother briefly before he was placed in the ambulance. “I’m not the one who is injured, but all my teammates made sure to let me know they support him and me. They’ll help us get through this.”
Thibodeaux summoned up constant pressure on the Panthers quarterbacks with three sacks, including one that produced a forced fumble. He said Bo Calvert is more than a teammate.
“We’re not blood, but he’s my brother just the same,” said Thibodeaux. “We stayed together tonight for him. You overcome adversity together.”