Clay-Chalkville rolls over Albertville
By David Knox
ALBERTVILLE — The Clay-Chalkville offense barely broke a sweat on a pleasant fall evening, scoring almost at will, in the No. 2 Cougars’ 49-28 road win over Region 7 foe Albertville on McCord Field at Aggies Stadium on Friday night.
And the Cougars defense? If it didn’t work up a sweat, it contributed to the nervous perspiration of the coaches and fans of unbeaten Clay-Chalkville (3-0, 2-0).
“The defense concerns me more than just a little bit,” replied Cougars coach Jerry Hood to an understated query. “It’s concerned me all year. We’ve got a bunch of babies, we’ve got just two seniors over there. I challenged them this week not to play too tight; sometimes we play like, ‘Just don’t mess up.’ And we’re still sort of playing like that. We’ve got to get a little better.”
Still, two key defensive plays early in the second half swung enough momentum Clay-Chalkville’s way. The Cougars led only 21-14, the halftime score, over Albertville (1-2, 0-2) when junior defensive back Kam Prewitt picked off an Aggie pass and set Clay-Chalkville up near midfield. Three plays later Sidney Battle scored from the 1, one of his three short scoring runs, to push the lead to 28-14. Nine seconds later, junior linebacker LaDarrius Harris scooped up a fumble and raced 23 yards for another touchdown. Patrick Millican’s extra point with 10:05 left in the third quarter gave the Cougars a seemingly safe 35-14 lead.
But pesky Albertville was determined not to roll over, and the Aggies’ ball-control, chain-moving attack, led by quarterback/wide receiver Austin Pankey, cut the lead again. Pankey – who ran for two scores and caught a pass for another – scored from the 1 with 2:13 left in the third quarter to trim the lead to 35-21.
After a Cougar drive ended in a missed 25-yard field goal, Pankey directed another drive that essentially ate the fourth quarter. Squeezing out third-down conversions, the Aggies finally scored on Trey Whitmore’s 2-yard run and suddenly it was a one-touchdown game with 4:28 to play and the underdog Aggies were looking for just one more haymaker and a knockout.
That swing was an attempt at an onside kick and it looked as if an Aggie had an uncontested shot at recovering the ball, but it dribbled out of bounds. Given the ball near midfield, Clay-Chalkville’s offense – seeing the ball on offense for the first time in the period – made it count. Terrelle West broke free for a 32-yard run with 2:52 left to make it 42-28.
On the next drive, Albertville’s Braxton Morris had his pass intercepted by junior defensive back Torrence Willis and Battle put an exclamation point on his night with a 5-yard run with 42 seconds left for the final margin.
“Basically, this is an unsatisfying win,” Hood said. “We’ve got a long way to go. We’re not the No. 2 team in the state. All that hubbub is because we went a long way last year. But we’ve got a long way to go.”
The next stop for Hood’s team is a trip to Pell City, a 41-0 winner over Grissom in Huntsville on Friday. The Panthers (3-0, 2-0) beat Albertville 34-7 last week.