Shelby County defeats Calera 41-14

The Shelby County Wildcats protected their home turf Friday night with a 41-14 win over the Calera Eagles.

The rivalry between the Eagles and Wildcats has gained steam over the years and the faithful in attendance resembled such for both teams. With no rain in sight, the table was set for an old-fashion grudge match between two of Shelby County’s finest.

After fumbling the opening kickoff at their own 9, the Eagles found themselves trailing just 45 seconds into the game when Chris McDowell muscled in from the Eagles’ 5-yard line. Chad King’s point-after attempt quickly gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.

“You can’t turn the ball over against good football teams, which we obviously did to open the game,” said Calera coach Scott Martin. “It was already going to be a tough night and that (play) just kept the momentum on their side all night.”

“If we can’t get off the field defensively, we can’t score on offense. Tonight, we couldn’t stop them and get our defense off the field.”

Shortly after an Eagles’ four-and-out series, the Wildcats found the end zone again when lineman-turned-receiver, Josh Reid, took in a pass from Braten Dill from the 5-yard line to claim a 14-0 lead with 9:39 remaining in the opening quarter.

Dill hit the end zone on the Wildcats’ first possession in the second period on an 8-yard scamper to extend the lead to 21-0.

Down but not out, the Eagles took advantage of a big return by Ronnie Clark on the ensuing kickoff to put Calera in business at the Eagles’ 41-yard line. Calera quarterback, Brandon Wells, then took control of the offense and led his unit on a nine-play scoring drive that ended when he connected with Jeremy Hyde for an 11-yard touchdown.

With 8:46 remaining the opening half, the Eagles narrowed the Wildcats’ lead to 21-7.

On the next two Shelby County offensive possessions, Dill cruised in from the Eagles’ 1-yard line and connected with Tae Lewis on a 42-yard scoring strike off the heels of an Austin Shelton interception.

The Wildcats scored on five of their six first-half possessions to claim a 35-7 lead.

“I am real happy of the way we came out and executed on both sides of the ball tonight,” Wildcat Head Coach Ryan Herring said. “For the second straight week, our offensive line really set the tone for our offense. This was a good win for us as we get ready for John Carroll next week.”

Coming out of the half, the Wildcats rejuvenated their running game with a scoring drive that started at their own 10-yard line and ended with Lewis crossing the goal line from the three yards out.

An opening drive that consumed just under eight minutes gave the Wildcats a 41-7 lead after the failed point after.

The athletic Wells managed to add another score for his Eagles with a 34-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline late in the fourth quarter.

The visiting Eagles offense tallied 53 yards through the air and 145 yards on the ground.

For the Wildcats, the offensive line made way for 353 yards on the turf and 47 yards through the air. Dill finished the night with 92 yards on the ground while accounting for four touchdowns. Chris McDowell added 80 yards on 15 carries.

The Wildcats (3-1) travel to John Carroll next Friday, while Calera (2-2) will host Greensboro, as both teams step back into region play.