Contact aids action

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Andalusia’s Michael McCalman was chosen as The Star-News’ Player of the Week for his performance in last week’s 36-18 win over Hillcrest-Evergreen. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

It was a spring day more than two years ago and Andalusia was in the middle of spring training, when Bulldogs quarterback Michael McCalman, then a freshman, dropped back for a pass and received a hit he’ll never forget from teammate Ethan Jones.

He laughs when he thinks about that day, but added that he remembers that particular hit — one of many more to come — being the most painful.

“(Jones) hit me pretty hard,” McCalman said.

Game-time contact doesn’t faze McCalman, who is now a junior, and his performance in last week’s 36-18 region victory over Hillcrest-Evergreen earned him The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound junior threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more in the Bulldogs’ win over the Jaguars, going 9-of-14 for 160 yards in the air and 130 yards on 20 carries on the ground.

Other than holes created by the offensive line and being able to see plays easier, McCalman said adrenaline was another key in his stellar performance.

McCalman still gave credit to his teammates for his good game.

“Your adrenaline just gets running and you play (hard),” he said. “Everybody just did a great job.”

It wasn’t until the sixth grade when the junior decided he wanted to play football. McCalman played the sport also in the peewee league, where he also was a QB.

“Once I got into high school, I really started to love it,” he said.

As the years went by, McCalman said the game became more natural to him.

At the start of this season, Andalusia (3-0, 2-0 in Class 4A, Region 1) had a young offensive line with no playing experience.

Now with three games under their belt, McCalman said the “front seven” have improved each game.

“They’ve definitely grown,” he said. “They didn’t have any playing experience. Now they do.

“They’re learning, and I trust them,” he said.

Even though he is a junior, McCalman said it takes a lot of “respect” from his teammates to be a leader.

“You have to work hard because if you don’t work hard, people aren’t going to look up to you,” McCalman said. “If you don’t work hard, you have to have respect and show people you are willing to work for the team to win. People will follow you if you think you can lead them to win.”

And that’s exactly what drives McCalman as a player — winning.

“I really like to just work hard to be the best I can be,” he said. “We all have God-given abilities. It’s just right that we use them to the best of our abilities — or the best we can.”

When it comes game time though, McCalman said everything happens so fast that he doesn’t realize he’s getting hit.

“When you get hit, you try to get back up and try to — we run a fast-paced offense — so you try to get the next play and get it over with,” he said. “You don’t really have time to think about it much.”

McCalman is the son of Dr. David and Stacie McCalman of Andalusia.