Calera to take on Chelsea in exhibition

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

When the Calera Eagles take the field Aug. 22 against Chelsea, they’ll be making up for lost time.

Coach Wiley McKeller said his squad would be using the preseason matchup as means of getting more practice time to fine-tune their offense. McKeller said Calera has missed out on being able to work out all the kinks due to spending a great deal of time indoors because of the rainfall this summer.

“The weather has been killer,” he said. “We need every bit of practice. It puts us in a bad way. (Our) passing game has struggled because of the weather.”

With former wide receiver and running back Ronnie Clark moving to quarterback, the Eagles will work on the timing of the passing game in the jamboree, McKeller said.

The exhibition game will feature the Calera and Chelsea varsity squads squaring off in the first half, with the junior varsities playing each other in the third and the freshman-only teams playing in the fourth.

McKeller said the goal of the format was to ensure that both schools allow starters to get experience while limiting opportunities to get injured. With both schools featuring a limited number of players — Calera plays in AHSAA Class 4A, while Chelsea is one of the smaller 6A programs — staying healthy is crucial to success.

“Anytime you’re in 4A you have depth issues,” he said. “It’s not worth getting a player hurt in a jamboree. Our goal is to recognize weaknesses.”

McKeller said the main goal was to play in something other than an intrasquad matchup.

“The kids get tired of that,” he said. “You’re constantly playing each other. The kids are ready to face someone else. We’ve worked our kids really hard. We’re ready.”