Clay-Chalkville loses Moore, first game of season
By Erik Harris
For The Tribune
After Clay-Chalkville senior quarterback Hayden Moore went down with an ankle injury on the first play of the second quarter, the No. 2 Cougars went on to drop their first game of the season 24-21 at Gadsden City on Friday night.
Sophomore Darryien Wilson played well in his replacement duty, completing all 10 of his attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown. But it wouldn’t be enough for Clay-Chalkville to sidestep its first loss of the year.
“Darryien Wilson did an awesome job, held his composure, but we have to teach him to put the ball up when he’s running it,” said Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood.
Gadsden City junior Dante Rudolph gave the home team its first lead of the game with 7:13 remaining in the contest. He dashed 15 yards on a misdirection play to give Gadsden City a 24-21 advantage for good. It was Rudolph’s second score of the second half.
Wilson and the Cougar offense engineered a beautiful 11-play drive that gave junior kicker Patrick Millican a clear 27-yard field goal attempt that would have knotted the score at 24 with 1:56 remaining.
An ugly snap was handled well by the holder, but Millican came up short on his attempt and sent Clay-Chalkville (6-1, 4-1) southbound with a loss.
A young Gadsden City roster fought hard all night and found a way to capitalize on two second half fumbles by the Cougars. Senior running back Sidney Battle coughed it up on the opening drive of the third quarter and Wilson put it on the ground the next drive.
Gadsden City made the visitors pay in full for their mistakes. The Cougars’ turnovers were turned into 14 points thanks to Rudolph.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game,” Hood said. “You just turn the ball over, you’re going to lose.”
Clay-Chalkville seemed to be in control at the half. Wilson found senior wideout Brian Clark on a perfectly executed 10-yard touchdown lob in the final seconds of the second quarter. The grab gave the Cougars a 21-10 lead at the break.
In his limited duty, Moore completed 5-of-6 passes for 48 yards passing and a score. He directed the Clay-Chalkville offense to the end zone on the opening drive of the evening to draw first blood. On the fifth play of the drive, Moore connected with sophomore T.J. Simmons from 18 yards out. Moore left the game in the second quarter with a boot on his left foot.
Gadsden City sophomore signal caller Ahmad DeRamous completed six of his 11 attempts for 72 yards. He also scampered for 73 yards.