Calera blanks Montevallo in opener
It’s difficult to call a three-touchdown performance in a 34-0 shutout victory a disappointment, but that’s exactly the way Calera High School senior quarterback Brandon Wells felt following a win Aug. 27 over rival Montevallo.
Wells, who scored two rushing touchdowns and also threw a 63-yard touchdown strike to receiver Cikia Shanks, felt he didn’t play his best game against the Bulldogs in the Shelby County Reporter Game of the Week.
Wells gave credit to two other players who share the backfield with him, running backs Eugene Rodgers and Tedarius King, for picking up the slack.
Rodgers and King combined to rush for 140 yards as Wells only managed 48 rushing yards and 121 passing yards in the season opener. King led the Eagles with 91 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“I’m not going to make any excuses,” Wells said. “I just played bad. But tonight just helped everybody see that I’m not everything we have.”
Wells still played a key role in the Eagles’ victory. His 63-yard strike to an open Shanks down the middle of the field with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter jumpstarted a stagnant offense, which had to sit out a 1:15-minute lightning delay before taking the field for the kickoff.
Wells’ 23-yard touchdown run, set up by a 38-yard dash by King on the play before, with 4:45 remaining in the first half gave the Eagles a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Wells scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 8:38 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 20-0. King found paydirt on a 4-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left in the third quarter to make it 27-0.
Money Lyles capped the scoring for Calera with a 42-yard touchdown run with 2:10 remaining in the game.
Montevallo had a few scoring chances, but couldn’t capitalize despite rushing for 175 yards and securing 12 first downs in the contest. The Bulldogs took advantage of long runs by running backs R.J. Scaife and Garrius Chappell to drive deep into Calera territory.
Chappell led the Bulldogs with 121 yards on 18 carries. Scaife added 84 yards on 18 carries.
However, several drives ended without any points on the scoreboard. Montevallo kicker Brett Gray missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt in the first quarter and couldn’t connect on a 27-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter.
Calera coach Scott Martin gave his defense credit for keeping the shutout intact.
“Our defense kind of carried our team tonight,” Martin said. “Our back was against the goal post all night. I was extremely proud of our defense.”
A.J. Nixon led the Calera defense with nine tackles. Skylar Wachs finished with six tackles.
Montevallo High School presented a scrapbook to the family of former Bulldogs’ coach Richard Gilliam during a pre-game ceremony.
Gilliam, who passed away in a car accident in the spring, helped integrate the school.
Montevallo volleyball coach Tena Niven, who helped organize the ceremony, said the school was proud to offer the book of memories to Gilliam’s family.
“It was like a big family reunion for them,” Niven said.