Calera beats Central-Tuscaloosa 39-29 in home opener

Published 1:32 am Saturday, September 12, 2015

Calera's Kyle Harrell breaks a run into the Central-Tuscaloosa secondary during Calera's 39-29 win on Sept. 11. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Calera’s Kyle Harrell breaks a run into the Central-Tuscaloosa secondary during Calera’s 39-29 win on Sept. 11. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By Chris Megginson / For the Reporter

CALERA – Calera brushed off its region-opening loss last week at No. 6 Demopolis with a 39-29 win over Central-Tuscaloosa in its home opener Friday at Ricky M. Cairns Memorial Stadium. The win evens the Eagles’ Class 5A, Region 4 record at 1-1.

“It’s always good to bounce back after losing a tough one like at Demopolis,” said Calera coach Wiley McKeller. “We’re somewhat young upfront on both sides of the ball. Even though we won, we’re still a work in progress. We’re nowhere where we need to be, come week eight.”

Army commit Kyle Harrell went to work early for the Eagles, scoring the first touchdown of the night on an 85-yard run. It started a 20-carry, 250-yard and three-touchdown night for the senior to lead Calera’s 405 yards of rushing offense. Harrell added a 5-yard TD in the second quarter to make it 13-0, before Central-Tuscaloosa scored for the first time on a 3-yard run.

The Eagles were able to gain a buffer going into halftime after quarterback Ty Evans made it 19-6 with a 44-yard touchdown run.

Central battled back in the third quarter, scoring 15 straight to take a 21-19 lead, until Yatil Gant jarred the ball loose with about six minutes to play in the third on a sack. Trez Harris scooped the fumble for a 70-yard touchdown return to regain Calera’s lead, 25-21. It was one of two sacks in the game by Gant.

“That swung momentum in our direction, and we took control from that point,” McKeller said.

The Eagles’ extended their lead in the fourth with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Gant and another touchdown run by Harrell, this time from 54 yards.

Central struck late, scoring on a 53-yard pass and 2-point conversion with about a minute to play, but it was too little, too late.

Evans followed Harrell’s lead with 88 yards on the ground and 31 by air on 3-for-4 passing. Charles White had nine carries for 82 yards.

The Eagles held Central to 380 yards of offense, 163 on the ground and 217 passing.

Alex Dozier and Charles White led the defense with six and five solo tackles, respectively. Dozier added two assists and White had one.

Calera (2-1) travels south on I-65 next Friday to Jemison.