Calera's Clark Has Big Role In Win

COLUMBIANA – 4A Calera came into Charles "PaPa" McCombs Wildcat stadium sporting a 4-0 mark, while home-standing Shelby County was 0-4. Somewhat surprisingly, the visiting Eagles clung to a one-point, 28-27 lead after three quarters, but won the final stanza 14-0 to close out a 42-27 road victory against a South Shelby County rival that fought quite gamely.

One of the state's top prospects played a huge role in the triumph. To the categories:

TOP PROSPECT: How good an athlete is 6-3, 215-pound Calera senior Ronnie  Clark? "Extremely good," said Eagles Coach Wiley McKeller. "I've often said that if I could show him how to ride a horse, he could play polo."

Clark plays mostly quarterback for Calera, but saw spot duty at safety and kick returns. His unofficial tally: 10-14 passing, 156 yards, 2 TDs, 18 carries for 179 yards, with touchdown runs of 69 and 30 yards, one kickoff return for 21 yards, and three assisted tackles with one pass break-up from safety. He's only used situationally on defense, but does contribute when in there, and he projects either at safety or outside linebacker at the next level.

Clark is down to Alabama and Auburn as his college choice. He has not set an official announcement date. There was word he might visit Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Ole Miss game, but he debunked that post-game.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Shelby County running back Martarius McGregor (5-8, 180) gave a heroic effort in the loss with a pair of receiving touchdowns.

Calera's Tyler Harris is a standout safety who sports the No. 6 of HaHa Clinton-Dix, but word is his collegiate future will likely involve baseball.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Clark's favorite receiver is 6-foot-3, 192-pound Jordan Bishop, and the two connected on touchdowns of 21 and 55 yards. Bishop's hands and routes are stellar.

Cornerback James Gayden will also get some looks at 6-2, 180.

For the Wildcats, Quintin Burns (6-4, 295) is a two-way lineman who is pretty athletic.

SUPER SOPHS: Calera running back Shakeith Tyes is a compact, Mark Ingram-type slasher who gets the tough yards. He had over 200 of them Friday. He often runs behind big Tyler Pritchett (6-4, 265).

Shelby County's Nick Youngblood (5-10, 155) is a good possession receiver who finds the sticks, while running back Jamarius Mayfield is also a factor in the return game.

HOW ‘BOUT THEM BURGERS: As is always the case when FNL first visits a high school stadium, the burgers at the concession stand were sampled, with good results. It was apparent the guys doing the grilling knew not to burn the beef, but they got it between medium and medium well, which was just right. Though I did not get dessert, kudos go out to Shelby County for offering funnel cakes.

NEXT UP: 10/4: Hewitt-Trussville at Shades Valley: Few members of the state of Alabama's 2015 football class have garnered the early season attention of Mounties defensive lineman Daron Payne. Is the massive 315-pounder the real deal? We'll see.

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