Calera falls in road test against Chilton County

Published 1:15 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

By CAREY REEDER | Special to the Reporter

CLANTON – The Calera Eagles fell in their second road test of the season on Friday night, Sept. 22, ultimately falling behind early against Chilton County before the Tigers pulled away for a 37-3 region win.

“We are still learning and we are young, even our older guys are young based on experience,” Calera coach Jerad Holder said. “We just have to keep grinding, but like I told the kids, ‘You can either make excuses or make it happen.’ Luckily, we are going into the bye week and we can lock back in on some of that and have a better second half of the season.”

While Calera tried to get the ball rolling on offense, Chilton County’s defense frustrated the Eagles and led to multiple errors, including five turnovers on the night. In the end, though, Holder held his team responsible for their performance.

“They did a good job keeping us out of rhythm, and we just had too many turnovers in the first half,” Holder said. “We had some key guys go down, but at the end of the day, they won the line of scrimmage. If you cannot win at the line of scrimmage, you are in for a long night. It does not matter what level of football you are playing at.”

Calera stifled the Tigers opening drive after advancing into Eagles territory. On the ensuing Calera drive, CCHS linebacker Demarcus Riddick picked off quarterback AJ Johnson and returned it 35 yards for the touchdown to put the Tigers up 7-0 early.

While Calera looked to respond on the ensuing drive, the Eagles were intercepted again, this time by Justin Godwin inside the Tigers five-yard line to preserve the 7-0 lead after the first quarter.

D.J. Jackson doubled the CCHS lead with a nine-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.

Later in the quarter, Calera’s T.J. Hernandez converted a 27-yard field goal to get the Eagles on the board at 14-3.

The Eagles tried to get going offensively as the first half drew to a close, but they were stopped by the Tigers with their third interception of the first half with two minutes left in the quarter by D.J. Caffey.

With the ball at midfield, Luke Moates found Marco Simon for a big gain down to the three-yard line where Jackson scored his second touchdown run of the night from three yards out.

Calera entered the halftime locker room trailing, but the Eagles were still within striking distance as the score was still 21-3. Chilton County coach Marvin Morton recognized that and tried to motivate his team to finish strong.

“I told the guys, ‘This is your opportunity once again to prove people wrong,’” Morton said. “It comes down to executing the game plan and not making mistakes. The guys really took hold of it and we got the dominating win that we wanted.”

The Tigers did finish, as quarterback Logan Coppedge had two second half touchdown passes, one each to Jordan Simon and Hunter Ousley. Kicker Jorge Castillo also converted a 32-yard field goal in the half to extend the lead.

“Our offensive line played phenomenal tonight and they allowed us to be flexible with what we called,” Morton said. “Logan Coppedge probably played his best game of the season and made plays when needed. The execution from the offense was great … These guys are growing in front of our eyes, and I am excited about it.”

Calera (0-5, 0-3 Class 6A, Region 3) will take on Pelham High School on Oct. 6 in their next game.