Region champs – Calera clinches title with win at Vincent

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Calera Eagles knocked off Vincent in a Class 2A, Region 4 rivalry, winning their eighth straight and clinching the region title for the first time in coach Ken Adams’ nine-year tenure.

The 31-21 win at Harold Garrett Feild earned the Eagles (8-0 overall) their first region title since the 1980s and a guaranteed home game in the first round of the playoffs.

&uot;There is no way to explain it,&uot; Adams said. &uot;This was important to these kids. These kids have played hard; they’ve earned it.&uot;

Vincent jumped out to a 7-point lead when Derrione Kelley took the opening kickoff and raced 85 yards for the game’s first score.

&uot;We stayed motivated for two plays, but then it took two plays for Calera to score,&uot; said Vincent coach Dwight Spradley.

The Eagles answered Vincent’s kick return with a T.J. Green 25-yard touchdown run before the first minute had even expired on the game clock.

Two defensive touchdowns helped Calera amass 28 unanswered points in the first half to take a 14-point lead into halftime.

Green picked off a Steven Adams pass and returned it 45 yards for a Calera touchdown and David Lacey scooped up a Vincent fumble and returned it 32

yards for a score.

&uot;We’re not good enough to turn the ball over and be able to win,&uot; Spradley said, &uot;especially against a team like Calera.

Mike Ryan made the most of his only carry of the game for Calera, taking it to the house on a 54-yard touchdown run.

Desmond Yowe carried a season-high 34 times for Vincent, including a 4-yard touchdown run just before the half.

&uot;Our offensive line played one of their better games of the year,&uot; Spradley said. &uot;We challenged them last week and they responded.

&uot;We came out in the second half and moved the ball but (Calera) is a tough outfit.&uot;

The Eagles struggled to find an offensive rhythm, Adams said, but kept the lead because of big plays and solid defense.

Wendell DeMoss anchored the Calera defense with 16 tackles, including three for a loss.

Paul Delbridge and Mike Liveoak each recorded 11 stops for the Eagles, while David Lacey added six tackles.

Delbridge led the Calera ground game, gaining 121 yards on nine carries while Green totaled 76 yards and Lacey finished with 46.

Defense dominated the second half of the game with Calera’s only score coming off a 29-yard field goal by Corey Turnbloom.

Vincent scored with 17 seconds remaining when Steven Adams connected with Kelley for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

Vincent (2-6 overall) moved to 2-4 in region play with the loss.

The Yellow Jackets must win Friday against Hale County and count on a Calera victory over Pickens County to have a chance to tie for fourth place and a possible playoff spot.

&uot;If we play with the energy and intensity we did (last) Friday night, we won’t have to change any of our schemes,&uot; Spradley said. &uot;We tried to change some things earlier in the year and that just ended up messing us up. So we decided we would just sink or swim with what we know.&uot;

After a matchup with Pickens County and 3A Fultondale, Calera will host the fourth-place team from Region 2.

&uot;It makes a big difference playing at home in the playoffs,&uot; Adams said. &uot;We’ve already gotten this far, but it is going to be tough from here on out. When the playoffs come, it’s one loss and you’re out.