Calera shuts out Hillcrest in first round of playoffs

Published 12:36 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CALERA – Determined to get back to the Final Four for a second straight season, the Calera Eagles got a start on their road to Huntsville with a victory in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

The Eagles rode big goals from Matthew Doefler and Sam Njoroge and a strong defensive effort to secure the 2-0 victory over the Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa Patriots on Friday, April 26 at Calera High School and advance to the second round in the process.

While Calera didn’t match the scoring heights of that regular season matchup, it still overcame the pressure of a win-or-go-home situation to keep Hillcrest at bay.

The Eagles got off to a strong start in the match by beating Hillcrest to the opening goal. Doefler buried a shot to put Calera up 1-0 and establish an early lead that the Eagles would hold on to for the rest of the match.

With Calera’s defense providing a shutout effort, that 1-0 lead held through halftime before the Eagles added an insurance goal in the second half.

Njoroge came up with a big goal to double up Calera’s lead to 2-0 and put extra distance between it and the Patriots on the scoreboard.

The Eagles then saw out the clean sheet on defense to secure the 2-0 win and book their spot in the second round.

With the win, Calera has now beaten Hillcrest in the first round for two years in a row after the Eagles took a 1-0 win at home in 2023 en route to reaching the Final Four.

Also like in 2023, Calera will face the Northridge Jaguars in the second round of the playoffs at home at the Calera Sports Complex. Kickoff for the latest edition is set for Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. as the Eagles hope to replicate last year’s success against the Jags after winning 4-2 in 2023.