Calera releases 2024 football schedule

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

It’s a new day in Calera as Scott Rials takes over as the head coach of the Eagles ahead of the 2024 season, and he and his staff have already gotten to work and assembled the 2024 football schedule.

While much of Calera’s schedule will be familiar to fans with four opponents from last year’s Class 6A, Region 3 field, a pair of new faces to the region along with four intriguing non-region games will provide some fresh opponents for the Eagles to face.

Calera will open up the 2024 season on August 23 at home against the Northridge Jaguars. This will be the first time the teams have ever met on the football field.

The Jaguars went just 3-7 in 2023 and 2-5 in a difficult Class 6A, Region 4. While Northridge has never faced Calera before, it is no stranger to the county as it lost to Oak Mountain in each of the past two seasons.

While the Eagles will not travel to Tuscaloosa to face Northridge, they will still make the short trip west to face the Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons on August 31.

Calera is 4-0 against Central all-time, and their most recent meeting happened in 2017 with a 22-14 Eagles win on the road. The Falcons also share Class 6A, Region 4 with Northridge and went 5-5 in 2023 to finish one game off of a playoff spot.

That game will lead right into region play, where Calera will have a difficult test out of the gate against the Benjamin Russell Wildcats on the road on September 6. This is the third straight season that the Eagles will face the Wildcats in their region opener.

While Benjamin Russell won last year’s meeting 57-7, its offense will be searching for its identity without quarterback Gabe Benton and wide receiver Malcolm Simmons as both All-State players will graduate this spring.

Calera will then return home to take on the Pelham Panthers in Week 4 on September 13.

The Eagles lost last year’s edition of the county battle 35-6 on the road, but they will hope that a change of scenery and a new quarterback for Pelham helps them earn a region win.

Then, for the second straight season, Calera will travel to Chelsea to take on the Hornets on September 20. This time, however, they will square off as regional foes after Chelsea dropped from Class 7A in reclassification.

The Eagles found some success against the Hornets in a 38-24 loss, as their 24 points stood as their best offensive effort of the season until their season finale against McAdory.

Both Chelsea and Calera are looking to regain positive momentum after the Hornets went 2-8 in 7A last season, which makes this game crucial for both sides.

After a bye week on September 27, the Eagles will travel to Brookwood for a non-region game against the Panthers on October 6.

This will be the third opponent from Class 6A, Region 4 for Calera and provides a great opportunity for a win as Brookwood is coming off a 1-9 season, trails the all-time series with the Eagles 2-0 and will have a new coach in Chris Foster this fall.

The following week, region play will resume for Calera with a home game against the Chilton County Tigers on October 11.

While the Eagles lost to the Tigers 37-3 on the road last season, Chilton County will also have a new coach in 2024 and is looking for answers after a fourth straight losing season.

Calera will then face a familiar foe who is new to Class 6A, Region 3 in the Spain Park Jaguars on October 18 on the road, as the county foes will square off for the third straight season after never meeting prior to that.

The two sides met last year as non-region opponents in the first game of the season, and while Spain Park looks to be one of the stronger sides in Class 6A, the Eagles could always play late-season spoiler and earn their first-ever win against the Jags.

Calera will close its region slate against the Helena Huskies on October 25 for the first of two home games to end the regular season.

The Eagles may have been shut out in last year’s meeting, but they don’t have to go back too far to find success against the Huskies. Calera beat Helena in 2022 in a wild 52-51 quadruple-overtime that gave the Eagles the tiebreaker over the Huskies to reach the playoffs.

Finally, Calera will face the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs on November 1 in the last game of the regular season.

For the second straight year, the Eagles will have a winnable matchup on senior night after nearly beating McAdory for their first win of the season in 2023.

The Mustangs went just 3-7 in 2023 in Class 6A, Region 2 for one of the worst seasons in school history, so Calera will look to take advantage and close out the regular season on a high note in front of their home fans.