Eagles drop regular season finale in wild game

By Chris Megginson | For the Reporter

CALERA – Sylacauga built a 10-point lead before halftime and Calera was unable to get the stops it needed to pull back in front in a 45-35 home loss to close the regular season.

“Tonight is a tough one to swallow in front of your home crowd when you’re expected to get your seventh win,” Calera head coach Andrew Zow said.

The Aggies ate up more than seven minutes of clock on their opening drive to set up a 30-yard field goal, but Calera’s DeCorean Mickens answered with a 23-yard touchdown run and extra point from Zach Ford. Sylacauga scored in less than two minutes to end the first quarter with a 10-7 lead.

Mickens regained the lead for Calera, 14-10, with a 3-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. He finished with 53 yards in the game. Sylacauga took the lead once again, 17-14, with a 27-yard TD pass midway in the quarter before recovering a Calera fumble on the kickoff and adding another touchdown run before halftime, 24-14.

The two teams traded scores in the third quarter with Cornelious Brown IV throwing touchdown passes of 6 and 35 yards to Dee Woodson. Each Calera touchdown was answered by a Sylacauga touchdown run to keep the Aggies in front, 38-28, entering the fourth quarter. The Aggies tacked on another touchdown run to begin the fourth quarter, while Brown threw his third TD pass, hitting Quin’Darius Crews from 11 yards out.

“We never could stop their offense all night. There were way too many mistakes and not being disciplined,” Zow said. “Ask me in 12 hours, and I may have a different thought about it, but right now I do not think we are as disciplined team as I think we need to be. If we can be a disciplined team like I talked to the kids tonight, with the good athletes we have on our team, we can be a tough team to beat.”

The Eagles forced only one Aggie punt all night, as Sylacauga collected 309 yards rushing compared to Calera’s 113. Calera balanced the total offensive numbers (Sylacauga 462, Calera 453) with 340 yards passing – all from Brown connecting on 22-of-30 attempts. He also threw two interceptions.

Brown, who had 58 of the 113 rushing yards, had three receivers around 100 yards. Chandler Smith caught five passes for 124 yards, Crews had seven for 103 and Woodson had six for 90.

Zakiyah Johnson and Dylan Killingsworth each had seven solo tackles, while Johnson had two solo tackles to lead the team overall. Cameron Rogers and Trenton Yowe had six solo stops and two assists each.

“Offensively our guys played well. There were moments we couldn’t run the ball and get things going in that area. We threw the ball well. We just need to go back and correct a few minor things,” Zow said. “Our biggest thing is to bounce back and have a good week of practice and welcome an athletic team in Jackson and see how we stack up against them.”

Calera (6-4) will host Jackson High School (5-4) in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Nov. 10. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.