Calera gears up for Handley
By MICKEL PONTHIEUX / Sports Reporter
CALERA – The Calera Eagles are looking to get back on winning track when they host Handley in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs on Nov. 9.
The Eagles (8-2) are coming off a tough 29-23 loss to Chilton County where three turnovers proved costly.
“It’s a learning experience and a wake up call,” said Calera head coach Wiley McKeller after the regular season finale loss. “We have to prepare for Handley which I think is going to be another very physical game.”
Handley (6-4) finished third in Region 3 and have been successful for most of the season. The Tigers won five straight games in the early portion of the season and currently average 33.4 points per game on offense.
During their winning streak, the Tigers ranked as high as No. 5 in the ASWA poll, but fell out of the rankings in Week 8.
Duran Zachery leads the Tigers with 1,129 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns on the season. Senior quarterback Trae Kyles has rushed for 852 yards and nine touchdowns on the season while throwing for 488 yards on 23-of-49 passing.
Zachery and Kyles are going to have to contend with a stingy Eagles defense. Calera has only allowed an average of 14 points per game with three shutouts on the season.
The Calera offense averages 36.8 points a game led by senior quarterback Zack Reneau and senior tailback Sam Adams. Reneau has thrown for 1,325 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season with only two interceptions on the season.
Adams leads a stacked Eagles’ backfield. The senior has rushed for 726 yards and eight touchdowns while junior Ronnie Clark is second with 631 yards and seven touchdowns. Shakeith Tyes has ran for 527 yards and five scores.
The balanced Calera offense faces a Handley defense that has given up 22.6 points a game this season.
The Eagles have met the Tigers just one time on the gridiron. Handley defeated Calera 21-7 in 2008 in the second round of the playoffs.