Given Calvary Baptist Academy’s religious ties, the oft-used David vs. Goliath story has a little more meaning.
With three straight games against Class 5A competition to open the season, the Cavaliers football team was much more David when the schedule was released.
After three consecutive victories, including convincing wins over defending 5A champion West Monroe (40-29) and last year’s runner-up Carencro (52-33), Calvary’s role has changed.
“It’s funny how three weeks ago, you were David and now you’re getting on a bus and everyone thinks you’re Goliath,” Cavaliers head coach John Bachman Sr. said. “It’s switched and they’re ready for us.”
With the eye-opening victories, Calvary’s role, indeed, has changed. The Cavaliers jumped to No. 2 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A state poll behind John Curtis.
The Cavaliers, however, have had little time to enjoy the fruits of two of the biggest wins in program history and that does not change this week.
The “they” Bachman Sr. spoke of is Teurlings Catholic, a perennial Class 4A power that Calvary will face Friday in Lafayette.
“Keep working hard, week after week,” senior wide receiver Lane Falcon said. “You can’t take any time off.”
Given the daunting early-season schedule, a 3-0 start seemed unlikely.
“You don’t go in there thinking you’re going to knock them off,” Cavaliers defensive coordinator Ronnie Alexander said of West Monroe and Carencro. “You go in and play as hard as you can and think you have a chance.”
The Cavaliers’ belief was steeled after defeating West Monroe in Week 2’s Battle on the Border at Independence Stadium, but it was based in each other.
To a man, the Cavaliers pinpointed the difference between last season’s 1-2 start this season’s burst to 3-0 as one thing.
“The word teamwork keeps coming up over and over,” senior free safety/wide receiver Weston Steelhammer said. “We play really well as a team. We all know our part and we all do our role first and then help out. Coach has been on us about staying together and we’ve done that so far.”
Steelhammer has been a mainstay in Calvary’s secondary since his freshman season. Alexander calls him perhaps “the smartest” free safety in terms of aligning the defense and making calls the veteran coach has mentored.
The addition of quarterback Daniel Fitzwater, however, has given Calvary a mirror image for Steelhammer on the other side of the ball.
“I don’t know what he did in Texas, but you see his poise and his presence and you know he’s been under duress before and it’s something that doesn’t bother him,” Bachman said. “That’s a rare quality for a quarterback to have, but it’s a great one to have.”
The 6-foot-6, 217-pound Fitzwater has developed a quick rapport with his receivers, allowing the Cavaliers to flourish offensively despite the loss of big-play running back Brandon Wilson.
“He brings something special,” Falcon said. “He can scramble around in the pocket, he can throw a missile where he needs it and he can throw it deep. He’s good with the play fake, a great guy and a great quarterback.”
Steelhammer knows about being part of something special at Calvary.
The hard-hitting safety was behind the plate for the Cavaliers when they recovered from a 3-11 start to win the 2A state baseball championship in May, catching the final pitch of Calvary’s 3-1 victory over Riverside.
Though Steelhammer echoed Falcon’s words about staying humble, he has allowed himself to think about what could be for the Cavaliers.
“I’ve had some good moments here at Calvary over my four years,” said Steelhammer, who recently picked up a scholarship offer from Air Force. “I’m definitely looking to get to celebrate on that Dome floor this year and getting a ring in football as well.”
Connect with Jason Pugh on Twitter at @JasonSPugh.