By Phil Gibson
The Clay-Chalkville Cougars (9-1) closed out their season at Oak Mountain High School (7-3) tonight with a solid 36-25 victory. The matchup, featuring two post-season bound teams, had the feel of a playoff game. Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood wanted it that way.
“You need to play game ten as if it’s a playoff game,” said Hood. “You need to play that good, physical game, because that’s what we’ve got coming.”
Oak Mountain gave the Cougars all the physicality they could handle early in the game. In their first four possessions, Clay-Chalkville could not generate any positive yards on offense, had a punt blocked in their own red zone, and gave up an interception deep in their own territory to end the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, though, the Cougars’ defense came up huge to turn the momentum around. Senior linebacker Brandon Full returned a fumble at his own 21-yard line all the way to the end zone to give Clay-Chalkville its first points of the game.
The offense also woke up in the second quarter, as sophomore running back Terelle West broke loose for a 54-yard rushing TD on the Cougars’ next possession. He’s been taking on a bigger role in the offense while junior running back Sidney Battle has been sidelined with an injury, and finished the evening with ten carries for 125 yards.
“T-West has done a great job for us,” said Hayden Moore, junior quarterback for Clay-Chalkville. “He had two really good runs, and he’s filled in [for Battle] really well.”
Moore did plenty of running of his own
. He had 10 carries for 102 yards and finished the game with three rushing touchdowns. He gave the Cougar’s offensive line the credit for their success rushing the ball.
“The offensive line did a great job blocking,” said Moore. “The holes just opened up.”
While the Cougar’s rushing offense was solid, the story of evening had to be their second half defense. After going into halftime with a 22-15 lead, the Clay-Chalkville allowed only 67 yards of total offense in the second half. After starting the third quarter with a fourth down stand on their own 13, the defense only allowed the Eagles into the red zone again once, on their last possession of the game. By that time, the offense had scored enough points to put the game out of reach.
“I thought they did an awesome job,” said Hood. “Defensively they stepped up, and that’s a hard offense to defend if you don’t play it every week.”
With the regular season over with, the Cougars now look forward to their first round playoff matchup against Decatur High School.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said Hood. “They’re ready for the playoffs, and we’ll do the best we can.”