Seth Travers and his Calvert teammates had an epiphany at the start of the fourth quarter last week. The Cavaliers were tied with Northern, which had beaten them by 45 last season.

"We realized we were actually in this game," Travers said. "So we just stayed hyped the rest of the way."

Imagine if the Cavaliers had stayed "hyped" throughout all of their close games this season. That energy carried them to a stunning fourth quarter in which they scored 21 unanswered points against one of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference's better defenses to win, 35-14.

Consider:

* In Week 2, Calvert was tied at halftime with Lackey before falling apart when the Chargers scored two third-quarter touchdowns en route to a 32-14 victory.

* In Week 3, the Cavaliers had the tying extra point blocked in the final two minutes in a loss at La Plata.

* Two weeks ago, Calvert was tied with Thomas Stone heading into the fourth quarter before losing, 21-14.

Heading into tomorrow's game at Chopticon, Calvert now has the confidence that it won't crack late in the games.

"Northern was just the start," Travers said. "The previous games, we came so close. We just couldn't convert at the end."

Calvert's first-year coach, Marc Watson, said of his players: "They know they're not bad. They understand they're a good football team. But they know that if they take a play off and play 9-against-11, that's trouble.

"They're not quitters. Against Lackey, they quit after Lackey scored in the third quarter. After that, they learned that if they quit, they'll never play."

The Cavaliers need look no farther than their quarterback, junior Anthony Lorenzano, who easily could have quit playing after a benign tumor was discovered on his spine early last season. After surgery, six months' rehabilitation and a few regular season games to get into his groove, Lorenzano had his best game last week. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 174 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Seven completions -- and the final touchdown -- went to Travers.

"If I made a mistake, I'd just scratch it out and keep on going," said Lorenzano, who completed just seven of 27 passes the previous two games. "We're comfortable now. We're playing as a team. [The comeback] gave me a lot more confidence in the team."

So much confidence, both players said, that the Cavaliers aren't looking at their record to judge how good they are.

"It's not just a rebuilding year," Travers said. "It's a playoff year."

"They're the best 2-5 team in the state, that's for sure," said Patuxent Coach Steve Crounse.

Sure, it sounds crazy, but in Calvert's region, the 2A South, only five of the 13 teams have winning records. The Cavaliers don't care about how many hypotheticals they would need to snag one of the region's four playoff spots. All they care -- and think -- about is that they can win every time on the field.

This is a far cry from the Calvert team that was decimated by the opening of Huntingtown last year and relegated to stat padding for the rest of the conference.

"We're back," said Travers, one of 13 starters expected to return next season. "This is the same Calvert High School team that was winning a couple years ago."

"It's not just a rebuilding year. It's a playoff year," wide receiver Seth Travers said after Calvert's 35-14 win over Northern.Calvert's Anthony Lorenzano completed 10 of 13 passes for 174 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Northern.