Calera outlasts Chelsea in shootout
For fans of offense in football, Thursday night’s game between Chelsea and Calera was a dream. In a game that saw the two teams combine for 964 yards of offense, Calera defeated Chelsea 48-40.
Calera started the scoring as it took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on seven plays. Brandon Wells scored on a 14-yard scamper. A bad snap on the extra point left Calera with an early 6-0 lead.
Chelsea would match Calera’s drive as the Hornets went on a 10-play drive that covered 67 yards. Jake Ganus found John Calhoun for a 7-yard touchdown and Alex Levinson’s extra-point kick gave the Hornets a 7-6 lead.
With Calera taking over on its own 23-yard line, the Eagles needed only five plays to go 77 yards to retake the lead. Brandon Wells scored on a 54-yard run and Nathan Langer’s extra-point kick would help the Eagles retake the lead 13-7.
Chelsea started its next possession on its own 32-yard line. Using a punishing rushing attack, the Hornets drove down to the Calera 3-yard line, but would come up short when a fourth-and-goal pass was batted down by a Calera defender.
Calera took advantage of the defensive stop and put together an impressive eight-play, 97-yard drive that saw Brandon Wells and Eugene Rodgers combine for five carries for 56 yards. Rodgers would take it in the final three yards for a touchdown and the extra point gave Calera a 20-7 lead.
Chelsea drove 80 yards on its next possession on nine plays and scored on a 1-yard run by D.J. Washington to make it 20-14. The big play on the drive was a 46-yard pass from Ganus to Jake Campbell to move the ball to the 5-yard line.
Calera’s Travis Green returned the kickoff 44 yards to the Chelsea 48-yard line to set up the Eagles’ next possession. Eugene Rodgers scored his second touchdown of the night on a 7-yard run to give Calera a 27-14 lead.
Chelsea took advantage on its next possession, where the Hornets started on their own 40-yard line, by marching 60 yards in eight plays. Ganus was responsible for all 60 yards on runs and passes and found Washington wide open in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:08 remaining in the half to help Chelsea cut the lead to 27-20.
Chelsea’s defense would come up big next when Terry Carter picked off a Wells’ pass. The Hornets marched down to the Calera 32-yard line and got a huge lift when Alex Levinson nailed a 49-yard field goal with plenty room to spare as time expired. The field goal cut Calera’s lead to 27-24 at the half.
Chelsea made a costly mistake starting the second half as the Hornets fumbled the kickoff back to Calera, but the Hornets’ defense held Calera on fourth down.
Chelsea’s offense responded quickly with a two-play drive that saw Ganus score on a 26-yard run to help the Hornets retake the lead 31-27.
Chelsea would be back in business as Calhoun stripped the ball from Calera on the kickoff to give the Hornets good field position at the Calera 39-yard line. Calera’s defense stepped up and Chelsea’s Levinson kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Hornets a 34-27 lead.
Wells took over on Calera’s next drive as he rushed six times for 50 yard and scored his third touchdown of the night on a 17-yard run. Langner’s extra-point kick would help Calera tie the game at 34-34.
The offense continued to dominate the game as Chelsea mached 48 yards on six plays to retake the lead. Julius McCall took the pitch on fourth-and-1 from the 28-yard line, but a missed extra point only gave the Hornets a 40-34 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Calera used four passes and four runs later in the quarter to march 84 yards, with Wells once again finding the end zone on a 24-yard run. Langner’s extra-point kick would give the Eagles a 41-40 lead.
Despite all the offense in the game, it was defense that helped Calera take control. Calera’s Jeremy Hyde picked off a Jake Ganus pass at the Chelsea 34-yard line on a key play in the fourth quarter.
Calera wasted little time expanding its lead as Wells faked a handoff and scored from 20 yards out to help the Eagles take a 48-40 lead with three minutes remaining.
Chelsea would not give up as they took the kickoff and marched down to the Calera 25-yard line. On fourth-and-one, Calera’s defense stopped McCall at the line of scrimmage to seal the win 48-40.
Calera head coach Scott Martin saw many positives for his Eagles in the game. The Eagles will host Saks in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs next Friday night.
“We knew coming into the game that Chelsea had a good physical team,” Martin said. “The last two years, this has been a great game. Now we have to get ready for Saks because we can’t look past anybody at this point or it could be your last ballgame. “
Wells led the way for Calera with 298 yards rushing with five touchdowns and another 145 yards through the air. Eugene Rodgers added 58 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles.
Chelsea was led by Jake Ganus, who passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns and added 84 yards rushing with a touchdown. Washington added 103 yards rushing with a touchdown.
With the win, Calera finished the regular season with an 8-2 record. Chelsea finished the season 2-8.