Tigers storm back from 23-point deficit

Published 12:40 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Airborne: A Calera player takes down James Hilyer on this play, but it was the Tigers who flipped the score Friday and earned a road win to improve to 9-1 on the season.

By Mickel Ponthieux | Shelby County Reporter

The Chilton County Tigers rallied back to score 29 unanswered points and down the Calera Eagles 29-23 on the road on Nov. 2.

“They showed a lot of guts,” said Tigers’ head coach Donnie Hand. “The defense played great, and the offense stepped it up.”

Calera (8-2 overall, 6-1 in region play) struck quickly and often in the first quarter to take a 23-0 lead headed into the second. Eagles’ quarterback Zack Reneau and Ronnie Clark each scored touchdowns on the ground to give Calera a 14-0 lead.

On the kickoff following the Clark score, Calera tackled the Tigers’ return man as he entered the end zone for a safety to extend the Eagles’ lead to 16-0.

Calera capitalized on their possession following the safety when Reneau found Jordan Bishop for a 26-yard touchdown pass for a 23-0 Calera lead after one period of play.

The Tigers (9-1, 6-1) only ran three offensive plays in the opening period but turned things around on their first possession of the second quarter. Chilton County appeared to be held to a three-and-out, but the Tigers recovered a muffed punt by Calera to regain possession at the Eagles’ 20-yard line.

It took five plays for Chilton County to find the end zone, when Richard Hilliard ran in from 3 yards out to put the Tigers on the board, 23-7.

The Tigers began to swing the momentum in their favor in the second half with a scoring drive on their first possession of the third quarter. Chance Britnell connected with Vadall Morrow on a 30-yard touchdown to close the score even more, 23-14 with 8 mintues left in the period.

“We came out in the second half and was ready to play,” Hand said of his team in the third quarter. “We didn’t get the momentum until the third quarter. They had all the momentum there for a while.”

Chilton County picked up their third straight score late in the third quarter when Michael Seaton capped an 80-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to pull the Tigers within two, 23-21, headed into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers’ defense stood tall on the following Calera possession, forcing the Eagles to punt on a three-and-out.

Chilton County again took advantage, this time with a 55-yard drive capped by a Seaton score to take a 27-23 lead. Chilton County added the two-point conversion when Morrow ran into the end zone to give the Tigers a six-point edge, 29-23, with 9:35 remaining.

Chilton County secured the win when they forced two Eagle turnovers. James Hilyer recovered a Calera fumble on the Tigers’ 5-yard line and Myric Good picked off Reneau with 1:21 left to go to give the Tigers the win.

Seaton finished the game rushing for 115 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Morrow led the Tigers’ receivers with three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.