Calera honors life of Brayden Ray in region opener against Benjamin Russell

Published 12:31 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

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By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

CALERA – The Calera Eagles’ lead was short-lived in Friday night, Sept. 8’s matchup with Benjamin Russell, as the Wildcats prevailed 57-7.

Prior to kickoff, the crowd paid tribute to Calera wide receiver Brayden Ray, 15, who lost his life in a tragic accident on the morning of Sept. 3. A 29-second moment of silence was observed, matching Ray’s jersey number. In addition, the center of the field was painted with the words “Calera Strong” and the hashtag #BRay.

The Eagles were first to score with Demetrius Davis reaching the end zone on a four-yard run, with 9:19 left in the first. Calera still led 7-6 following a Wildcats touchdown courtesy of Malcolm Simmons and a failed conversion attempt.

From there, it was all Benjamin Russell, as T.J. Wilson ran a 53-yard touchdown and Gabriel Benton found Chris Foster from 15 yards out. Then, in the second quarter, David Lawson hauled in a seven-yard reception to make it 26-7.

A 32-yard pass from Calera’s Antorious Johnson to Jamariun Ford set up a field goal attempt for the Eagles, but the kick was blocked and Ben Russell took over on the 27-yard line. Then Foster hauled in a 25-yard pass for a touchdown.

Following an interception, the Wildcats kicked a field goal to end the first half with a score of 35-7.

Foster showed up again in the third quarter, catching a 20-yard pass with 8:53 on the clock to bring the score to 42-7 following the ensuing PAT.

Simmons returned a punt for another Wildcat touchdown, and Noah Long sneaked into the end zone for two points as the clock showed 7:05 in the third quarter. This brought them to the 50-point mark.

Finally, Lawson caught a pass from 27 yards out to score the final points of the night, save for the resulting PAT, making it 57-7.

Calera threatened in the fourth but the entire quarter ended up being scoreless for both teams.