Clay begins playoffs at home with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
By Gary Lloyd
Clay-Chalkville’s playoff run begins at home Friday against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.
The No. 3 Cougars (9-1, 6-1 Class 6A, Region 7) kick off against the Patriots (5-5, 4-3 Class 6A, Region 5) at 7 p.m. at Cougar Stadium.
Clay-Chalkville is the top seed in Region 7. Hillcrest finished fourth in Region 5.
Don’t let the Patriots’ five losses fool you. The combined records of the teams that have beaten Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa — Hartselle, Bessemer City, Hoover, Tuscaloosa County and Demopolis — is 41-9. Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood is not fooled.
“The toughest matchup in 6A round one is Clay-Chalkville vs. Hillcrest,” Hood said. “They are a great football team and they are worthy to probably be a No. 2 (seed) behind Hoover.”
The Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa defense allowed 17.6 points per game in the regular season. Its offense scored just 22 points per game, never scoring more than 38 in a game. Clay-Chalkville averaged 45 points per game, scoring 40 or more points in six of its 10 games. The defense allowed 18 points per contest.
Clay-Chalkville leads the all-time series against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 5-1. The last time the two squared off was in 2005, a 35-7 Cougars win.
Expect this game to remain close throughout the first half, but the Clay-Chalkville offense will be too much for Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa linebacker and Alabama commitment Keith Holcombe in the second half.
The winner of this game faces the winner of the Mountain Brook (7-3) at Florence (7-3) game in the second round of the state playoffs.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.