Thompson, Calera search for answers in spring game

Calera running back Shakeith Tyes, pictured in this file photo, ran for 178 yards in a scrimmage game against Thompson May 15. The Warriors and Eagles tied, 17-17. (FILE)

Calera running back Shakeith Tyes, pictured in this file photo, ran for 178 yards in a scrimmage game against Thompson May 15. The Warriors and Eagles tied, 17-17. (FILE)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

For Thompson and Calera High’s football programs, the issue all spring long for both squads has been about finding the right players to step up and fill voids created by impact players.

After the two squads tied 17-17 on May 15, both schools’ head coaches feel they have better ideas about their lineups headed into the summer months.

“We had some big spots on offense we needed to fill,” Thompson head coach Michael Montgomery said. “You have to make sure who’s going to step in to roles can produce.”

Part of the reason so many younger players were needed was due to injuries suffered to a few starters, Montgomery said.

“(We were) definitely hit by the injury bug,” he said. “(We) had three starters out. (We’re a) bit better depth-wise than previous years. The defensive front will be strong. We’ve found some depth. Now we’ve got to get better.”

Montgomery went on to say he was pleased with the progression quarterback Zach Brammer made over the course of the offseason.

“Zach managed the offense well,” he said. “Zach has a good head on his shoulders, (and) is getting better every day. He did a good job. He’s definitely got to have a good season for us to be successful.”

For Calera, head coach Wiley McKeller not only had to focus on the loss of Clark, but an unexpected transfer from key lineman Tyler Pritchett, who moved to Auburn during the spring.

“(When) we lost Pritchett, we had to revamp what we were doing,” he said. “Nobody knew what to expect. It’s hard to lose a potential SEC (player).”

Even with the shake-up, McKeller said he was pleased with his team’s effort.

“I thought we did pretty good,” he said. “Thompson has a lot of speed. They have some really good kids. (Rayam) is really good.”

McKeller went on to say he was very pleased with the effort of rising senior Shakeith Tyes.

“I think that Shakeith is the best back in the state of Alabama no one knows about,” he said.  “He runs so hard. He ran for (178 yards) against a 7A team.”

Both squads now head into the summer workout months eyeing their respective kickoffs. Calera will host Bibb County Aug. 29, while Thompson heads to Wetumpka Aug. 22.