By Gary Lloyd
The talk is about quarterback Hayden Moore, one of the best in the Birmingham metro area. It’s about how many yards running backs Sidney Battle and Terrelle West will combine for, about how fast the crop of wide receivers are. The talk is about replacing one of the best linebacking corps to come through Clay-Chalkville, about a defensive lineman named Jalen Harvey who is garnering college interest.
The talk about the offensive line isn’t talk. It’s more like a whisper. It’s like that at almost every high school and college across the country.
But the fact is, Clay-Chalkville’s offensive line this season will be the team’s cornerstone, it’s most experienced group.
“The offense depends on them,” Moore said. “I think they will do great for us in the fall.”
Fifth-year Clay-Chalkville head football coach Jerry Hood said this year’s offensive line will have the most experience since the 2010 team’s. Three starters from last season return, and four have significant varsity experience.
Rising senior Ron Hawkins can play both tackle positions. Rising senior NeKiah Hinton-Johnson is a returning guard and is the most athletic lineman, Hood said. Matt Reeves, a 6-foot, 277-pound rising senior, was a backup last year and has worked well in the offseason, Hood said.
“He’s just country strong,” he said.
Austin Sizemore is also a rising senior, a guard who started five or six games a season ago. Josh Davis, who will be a senior, is 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds. He did not play last season.
“He has impressed us,” Hood said.
Hood said rising juniors Justin Daniel and Tyon Hardy are in the mix for playing time, too.
While preparing for the 2012 season, Clay-Chalkville had just one returning starter with significant experience. The team started a 175-pound right guard.
“We were lucky to have five of them out there,” Hood said.
Because of the team’s success, a lot of linemen gained significant experience a season ago. Playing a lot of linemen last season will benefit the team this year.
“It’s critical,” Hood said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.