CHS suffers first loss; Goshen matchup next
Turnovers proved costly as the Calera Eagles (6-1) fell for the first time of the season, 20-13 to Highland Home (6-1) last Friday night.
After taking a 7-6 lead in the first quarter and driving to the Highland Home 12-yard line, the Eagles fumbled, turning the ball over the the Flying Squadron. One play later, the Eagles were down 14-6. The Squadron’s D.J. Chambers scored on an 88-yard run to give HHHS the lead.
&uot;That play was really the turning point in the game,&uot; Calera head coach Ken Adams said. &uot;We had the lead and were about to go up 14-6 before the fumble. Then one big play later, we were in a hole. That kind of took the wind out of us for a while.&uot;
Highland Home got on the board first when Chambers scored from 18 yards out in the first quarter. The kick failed, giving the Squadron a 6-0 lead.
Calera answered with a long drive capped by quarterback Jay Haynes on a 2-yard run. Gary Goggins’ PAT gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead heading into the second quarter of play.
Julius Dulaney’s run for 2 points following the 88-yard scamper by Chambers gave the Squadron a 14-7 lead heading into the locker room at the half.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Chambers picked off a tipped pass and rambled 45 yards with 2:30 left in the game to set up the clinching score for Highland Home.
O.D. Bryant scored from 39 yards out for the Squadron. The PAT failed, but HHHS had a 20-7 lead with little time left on the clock.
Calera put another score on the board late in the game when Corey Turnbloom connected with Cory Merritte from 13 yards out. The PAT was blocked, leaving the final score 20-13.
Calera also had to deal with injuries throughout the game. The Eagles had to play without return specialist C.J. Pearson following a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Pearson had returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown that would have tied the game in the second quarter but was called back due to a block in the back penalty.
&uot;That hurt and the block in the back happened behind the run,&uot; Adams said. &uot;That’s just a mental mistake which we will have to work on.&uot;
In the third period wide receiver Michael Ellison was put out of the game due to a leg injury and Haynes was lost in the fourth quarter due to an elbow injury.
&uot;All of those guys will be alright for this week against Goshen, but I didn’t want them to go back in Friday night and risk getting hurt worse,&uot; Adams said.
In all, the Eagles committed 3 turnovers on the night &045; 2 interceptions and a fumble.
&uot;Turnovers really hurt us, but we intercepted a pass and recovered 2 fumbles as well,&uot; Adams said. &uot;They (Highland Home) just did a little better job converting theirs into points.&uot;
The Eagles will play their next two games on the road &045; two games with huge playoff implications. The Eagles travel to Goshen, coming off a 50-0 whipping of R.C. Hatch, Friday night.
&uot;The next two games are big for us because they will decide who gets homefield advantage,&uot; Adams said. &uot;We’d like to avoid being the fourth seed and having to travel to Gordo to open the playoffs.&uot;
Gordo, 7-0, is the top-ranked team in Class 2A