Black relishes No. 1 receiving role for Calumet
HAMMOND — Whenever Calumet needs a big catch in 2019, it leans on big No. 81.
Warriors senior wide receiver Chris Black is A-OK with that.
“I’m just thankful that my coaches, my offensive coordinator, and my teammates trust me in that role,” Black said.
When an opposing team sees Calumet (8-1) on film, it’s fairly obvious that Black is its No. 1 target.
The attention doesn’t faze Black, though, as he actually likes it and even prefers it.
“I like having the attention because then if I’m covered, I know one of my other teammates will step up,” Black said.
The big plays Black has made throughout the season has shown that he’s a cool customer on the football field in tough situations.
On the Warriors’ second drive in their Greater South Shore Conference North-clinching 44-0 win over River Forest back in Week 8, Black caught a 32-yard pass on a crucial third-and-long, which set up a TD run.
In that same game, he also caught a 44-yard TD pass from junior QB Mark Flores.
The Warriors face the Ingots (6-4) in Friday’s Class 3A Sectional semifinals.
Back in Week 3’s 38-22 win over Wheeler, Black caught six passes for 89 yards, including an important 17-yard first-down catch on a third-and-long after Wheeler tied it at 22 late in the third in part of a seven-play, 78-yard drive in which was the go-ahead score.
“At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has a college body and that draws a lot of attention to him,” Calumet coach Rick Good said. “He also knows how to make a big play.”
When asked if Flores thinks his No. 1 target is the best receiver in the Region, he only needed two words.
“No doubt,” Flores said.
Something that’s not mentioned in any stats, highlight reels or social media posts is Black’s ability to block, which is something the receiver takes very seriously.
“On every single play if I know the ball isn’t coming to me, I want a block to spring someone free for a touchdown,” Black said.
His blocking was put on display in Calumet’s 69-0 win over Hammond (0-9) in the postseason opener, as one of his blocks helped running back Phillip Collins get loose on the outside for a 25-yard TD.
“A lot of our edge runs depend on solid blocking by Chris and the rest of the receiving corps,” Good said. “We knew he was going to have a great year catching the ball because there are not a lot he misses, but we challenged him to be a more complete wide receiver.”
Calumet’s goals before the season were to win a conference title and win a sectional title.
Given the fact that the program hadn’t won a sectional game since 2014 before Friday night, that hasn’t stopped the Warriors from believing they could win a sectional for the first time in school history.
“You’re only guaranteed 10 and these seniors have always talked about wanting to play a game in November and now they get to do that,” said Good.
Black had a different version of goals but with the same path and destination.
“We wanted to be 1-0, then 2-0 and so on,” Black said. “We wanted to win conference and stay undefeated and then a sectional title. We also wanted to compete with the best in the state.”
In last year’s 43-12 decimation by eventual state champ West Lafayette, the Warriors actually hung with the Red Devils with the score 15-12 at the half and that game taught the team a lot.
“We learned that we had a lot of room to grow and if we wanted to be where we wanted to that we couldn’t be selfish and work hard during the offseason,” Good said. “Chris epitomized that and it’s showing on the field.”