Wildcats roll through Calera

Shelby County claimed the juggernaut win Friday over Calera at Ricky Cairns Stadium, 26-6.

The match-up between the Wildcats and the Eagles bizarrely resembled the 2007 meeting. However, this year the tables have turned with Shelby County being the ranked, undefeated team with the surging Eagles looking to avenge last season’s loss.

As the bands battled from sideline to sideline, the ‘Cats and the Eagles defenses smothered one another’s offenses as the first quarter came and went with no score.

It wasn’t until the game clock struck 1:53 in the second quarter when the ground attack of the Wildcats finally cracked the bending Eagle defense as Tae Lewis hit his stride from the Eagle 19-yard line to put his team out in front, 7-0.

It was the same song, different dance as the second half opened with both defenses picking up where they left off with suffocating play.

A four-and-out punt on the Wildcats first possession had the Eagles in a prime spot to gain momentum as the third quarter rolled along. A muffed punt would be cataclysmic for the Eagles as it resulted in an 11-yard touchdown strike from Braten Dill to Dustin Wood two plays later.

Darion Sutton would add another score from the 1-yard line as the third stanza came to an end giving the Wildcats a comfortable 19-0 lead.

Down but still fighting, Eagle quarterback Brandon Wells reeled off an athletic 30-yard run down the sideline to inject life back into the Eagles offense. Wells then connected with Kendal Cox to go in for the score on a fourth-and-five call from the Shelby County 12-yard line.

Trailing 19-6 with 10 minutes remaining, the Eagles would have another shot to pull within a touchdown after a four down series from the Wildcats.

Facing 3rd and 21 from his own 21-yard line, Wells was forced to throw and Daniel Watkins was on the other end for the interception, taking in for the score and securing the win for the Wildcats.

Shelby County’s offense accumulated a quiet 237 yards of offense on the night, but, if defense wins championships, the Wildcats staked their claim Friday night, holding the Eagles to 72 yard of total offense.

“We knew that we needed to come into Calera tonight and be ready to play because we knew they would give us their best shot”, Wildcat coach Ryan Herring said. “Our defense hadn’t been playing well the last couple weeks, but they really showed up and played well for us tonight. I’m very happy with the win.”

Despite the loss, Calera held its own versus the Wildcats. Inopportune turnovers and miscues on offense countered any momentum the Eagles seemed to be gaining as the game pressed along and Eagles head coach Mac Thompson knew that.

“I am extremely proud of our guys, and I thought they fought their tails off on defense tonight. They did a lot of things tonight defensively that gave us some trouble, and they knew how to get to us”, Thompson said. “The turnovers hurt us tonight, and they were able to punch them in for scores. We’re going to be okay and we’ll get better.”