Tigers’ win proves they had plenty to play for (updated)

Published 11:54 pm Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chilton County's Keshawn Williams (left) breaks up a pass that could have tied Thursday's game late in the fourth quarter. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins)

Chilton County’s Keshawn Williams (left) breaks up a pass that could have tied Thursday’s game late in the fourth quarter. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins)

By Anthony Richards

Chilton County High School’s football program took another step forward Friday in establishing a winning culture once again.

The Tigers (4-6 overall, 0-6 region) defeated Calera High School (7-3, 5-2) 26-14 on the road and showed yet another sign of improvement under second-year head coach Brian Bradford.

“Everything we’re doing just keeps building,” Bradford said. “In the last couple of weeks, all we’ve done is shoot ourselves in the foot. I thought that we grew up a lot tonight.”

Two possessions swung the game in favor of the Tigers. It all started with the defense, which halted a lengthy Calera possession that had all the makings of a go-ahead scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

However, Chilton County stood strong and denied a fourth-down fade pass to the left corner of the end zone. Keshawn Williams proved to be in perfect position to make the catch difficult for the receiver, and the Tigers regained possession with just over five minutes left in the game.

“These are the games that we’ve been losing,” Bradford said. “It is huge now that we’ve fought through one.”

Kidevon McDaniel helped cement the game’s outcome by picking up first down after first down as the feature back during a 95-yard scoring drive. He punctuated it with a determined run from 11 yards out and a couple of minutes left in the contest.

“The ones that stuck with it were the ones that made it happen tonight,” Chilton County senior offensive lineman Jacob Smith said. “We just were hitting on all cylinders. It motivates you when they can make guys miss at the next level (defensive secondary).”

McDaniel’s score put the Tigers up by two scores 26-14—the largest margin that either team had led up to that and what proved to be the final tally. He finished the game with two touchdown runs.

Kendall Davis connected on a pair of scoring strikes of his own. He found Hunter Henson on a bootleg in the first quarter to open the scoring, and later hit Williams on a 71-yard screen pass.

Defensively, Williams and Robert Tomberlin intercepted Calera pass attempts while JeQuaries Martin and Ray Austyn created havoc off the edge.

“The seniors poured everything into it what great to send them off on a high note,” Bradford said. “It was a rough two years for them but stayed committed and true to the cause. We’re thankful for everything that they’ve done.”