Calera drops first game to Demopolis

Calera lost its first game of the season to Demopolis on Sept. 16 by a final of . (File)

Calera lost its first game of the season to Demopolis on Sept. 16 by a final of 38-13. (File)

By CHRIS MEGGINSON / For the Reporter

CALERA – Eighth-ranked Calera was outscored 31-6 in the second half, falling to the two-time defending Class 5A, Region 4 champs Demopolis Tigers, 38-13, Friday night.

“I feel like we didn’t play our best, but you have to give credit to Demopolis. They’ve been the top team in our region, and they proved tonight. We’re trying to get to their standard. We didn’t’ play it tonight but hopefully we’ll get there next time,” said Calera Head Coach Andrew Zow. “It was evident we weren’t prepared. As a staff and as a team we’ve got to do a better job preparing during the week, and that falls on my shoulders.”

Despite several turnovers in the first half, Calera entered halftime tied 7-7 with the Tigers after the Eagles recovered a muffed punt at the Demopolis 40. A few plays later, Jermaine Ross punched in a 4-yard touchdown and Zach Ford added the PAT to make it 7-7. The Tigers previously scored on a 74-yard touchdown run.

“That touchdown was key and to go into halftime tied up. With all of the turnovers we had, I thought we were in good shape,” said Zow. “I thought our guys needed to come out with a little more energy in the third quarter and didn’t do it. I think that showed through the rest of the game.”

Calera attempted an onside kick to start the third quarter, but Demopolis recovered at the 50. The Tigers went on to score on touchdown runs of 15 and 24 yards and a 28-yard field goal to take a 24-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Eagles could not get its defense off the field, running only 12 plays in the second half for -6 yards, while allowing 184 yards to Demopolis in the final 24 minutes of action. In all, Demopolis collected 354 total yards of offense in the game, including 343 on the ground. Calera had 186 total yards.

“Demopolis did a great job in the second half not letting our offense on the field. It’s hard to stop a team that has the running game they have. We have an explosive offense that can put points on the board, but we couldn’t do it tonight,” said Zow.

Demopolis added two short touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. Calera answered the second one with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 1:38 left to play by Alex Dozier, who was subbed in late.

“I think it was a great play. He wasn’t even supposed to be back there,” said Zow. “We threw him in and he was able to bounce off some guys … Once he made that one cut and had some separation and hit another gear he was off to the races. That was a heck of a play by him and a heck of a play by our special teams guys, Coach Gary Griffith and Bill Madigan. It was about two quarters too late.”

Dozier led the Eagles with 149 all-purpose yards, including the return and a team-best 54 yards rushing.  Dyson Edwards led the Calera defense with five solo stops and four assisted tackles, while Jaramy Dozier had four and four.

Calera (4-1, 2-1) remains home Sept. 23 to host Jackson Olin for Homecoming.