Clay-Chalkville roughs up Niceville on ESPNU
By Gary Lloyd and Erik Harris
HOOVER — This little Piggy went to, well, wherever he wanted.
Clay-Chalkville junior quarterback Tyrell Pigrome, called “Piggy” by teammates, stole the show Saturday against Niceville (Fla.) at Hoover High School’s Buccaneer Stadium.
Pigrome, in his first career start, led the Cougars to a resounding 44-23 win over Niceville. Pigrome completed 11-of-14 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown, while rushing 16 times for 213 yards and three scores.
“He did his thing,” Clay-Chalkville senior cornerback Kam Prewitt said of Pigrome.
Asked if he was surprised by Pigrome’s offensive outburst, Prewitt shook his head.
“Yeah, we knew,” he said.
Piggy is no longer a secret.
“We showed that we were dominant,” Pigrome said. “That’s all it was.”
Pigrome credited former Clay-Chalkville QB Hayden Moore with some of his success.
“(Hayden) helped me with all my reads,” Pigrome said. “When I first came in I was lost, but he helped me through it.”
On the bus ride from Clay-Chalkville High School to Hoover earlier Saturday, Pigrome listened to rap music. He also used his cell phone to watch highlights of former Auburn and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller. He was visualizing what he wanted to do on the field.
Clay-Chalkville started fast. Pigrome found junior wide receiver T.J. Simmons for a 51-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Pigrome later in the first quarter scampered 15 yards for a TD.
After a Patrick Millican 24-yard field goal put the Cougars up 17-0 early in the second quarter, Pigrome broke through the Niceville line and bolted 84 yards for a TD. A missed extra point kept the Clay-Chalkville lead at 23-0.
At the 4:26 mark in the second quarter, Niceville got on the board when quarterback Drew Frederic rushed two yards for a touchdown. The Cougars answered less than two minutes later, when Simmons ran 35 yards on a reverse play.
Niceville came ready to play in the second half. Eli Stove broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run and caught the two-point conversion pass from Colby Tuthill, making it a 30-15 game.
Clay-Chalkville senior running back Terrelle West then broke his own long run, swerving around defenders and bulldozing over one for a 44-yard touchdown. On Niceville’s next drive, Tuthill found Jordan Tinder for a two-yard touchdown, and Tuthill connected with Aaron Willis for the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 37-23 with 9:12 left to play.
Just over a minute later, Pigrome throttled it up again, running 49 yards down the right sideline to put the game away.
“I knew Ty had a high motor, and I was very comfortable (with him) before the game,” West said.
West finished with 118 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He also caught five passes for 45 yards. Simmons caught two passes for 59 yards and a score, and also rushed for a score. Defensively, senior lineman LaDarius Harris had two tackles for loss. Prewitt had two interceptions — he had two all of last season — and nearly a third.
“I played with the mindset that when the ball is in the air, it’s mine,” Prewitt said.
Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood hopes to build on Saturday’s success.
“This is the jamboree on steroids because it’s on ESPN, but the bottom line is this has nothing to do with playoffs,” Hood said. “If we don’t get better next week, this is for nothing.”
What did the win show the state and the nation?
“We’re a powerhouse,” West said. “We really can step up to the stage, and we’ll be ready next week. That’s all we’ll focus on — Friday.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.