Calera survives scare from Sumter Central

Published 12:24 am Saturday, October 15, 2016

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

YORK – Heading into their Oct. 13th meeting with Calera, Sumter Central had scored more than 30 points only once this season, which came in the Jaguars’ only win of the year, a 38-13 victory over Marbury in the third week of the season. Against the Eagles and thanks to a number of unfortunate turnovers, Sumter Central broke the 30-point mark again on this night, but the Eagles were able to escape with a win, thanks in part to a 30-point second half.

One of Calera’s horde of running backs, senior Alex Dozier, scored the game’s first touchdown in the opening quarter on a 13-yard run to give the Eagles an early 6-0 lead. However, Sumter Central responded later in the first with a two-yard touchdown run, which tied the game at 6-6, and then the Jaguars scored again in the second quarter on a long, 71-yard run. After converting the two-point try, region doormat Sumter Central held a 14-6 lead over Calera at home. The Eagles responded before the half with a 10-yard scoring run from Trez Harris, but still went in to the half trailing 14-12.

Yatil Gant jump-started the second half for the Eagles, as he blocked a Sumter Central punt that tied the game at 14-14, which brought Calera even for the first time since the game started. However, the tie was short-lived, as Sumter Central promptly scored on a 63-yard touchdown pass to go back up 20-14.

Alex Dozier then scored his second touchdown of the night on a seven-yard scamper, and after a successful two-point conversion, Calera had its’ first lead of the game at 22-20 and never relinquished that lead again. Dozier added his third touchdown of the night early in the fourth, but the Jaguars promptly returned the following kickoff back for an 82-yard score, brining the game to a 28-26 contest.

Decorean Mickens then scored touchdowns on runs of 16 and 38 yards, which were bookended on either sides of another Sumter Central 39-yard touchdown pass. Mickens’ second score iced the game for the Eagles however, and Calera moved to 6-2 (4-1) on the season.

Alex Dozier led all Calera running backs in touches, 24, rushing yards, 184, and touchdowns, three, while Harris ran the ball 14 times for 79 yards and a score, Mickens ran just five times for 90 yards and scored twice, and Jaramy Dozier also ran five times for 42 yards as well. Freshman quarterback Edwin Karanja was 8-for-18 throwing the ball for 48 yards. On defense David Lawrence led the way from his outside linebacker position, as he had three solo tackles to go along with three assists.

The Eagles ran 68 plays on the night to Sumter Central’s 52, and Calera outgained the home team 421 to 343, while most of those yards, 375 of them, came on the ground. The Eagles also lost three fumbles in the game and had an interception as well, which kept this one closer than it otherwise would have been.

Calera is back in action next Friday against Marbury on the road as the Eagles try to wrap up the No. 2 seed in 5A Region 3.