By Gary Lloyd
Clay-Chalkville senior quarterback Hayden Moore wants to get back to the Class 6A state semifinals, whether Hoover is the opponent or not.
The Cougars, ranked No. 5 in Class 6A last November, fell 44-20 to No. 1 Hoover in the semifinals, 25 points shy of the state championship game.
“It definitely motivates us,” Moore said at last week’s Jefferson and Shelby County High School Football Media Day.
Moore didn’t speak in past tense, wasn’t angry about Hoover compiling more than 500 yards of offense. He spoke of the future, of this November, of the possibility of getting back to that game and succeeding.
Hoover went on to the state championship last season, which it won over Opelika, completing a perfect 15-0 season. Clay-Chalkville finished 12-2. Hoover head coach Josh Niblett and three of his players wore their state championship rings to last week’s media event.
“We look forward to playing in games like that, against opponents like that, because it only makes you better,” Niblett said of Clay-Chalkville.
In that game, wide receiver Brian Clark shined for Clay-Chalkville, grabbing three passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He probably performed the best of any receiver to match up with Hoover star cornerback Marlon Humphrey, one of the top college prospects in the country.
Mountain Brook assistant coach Jim King called Clay-Chalkville a “tremendous team.” The No. 7 Spartans were eliminated in last season’s quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs by the Cougars, a week before the Hoover game.
“I think they’ll have a great team (again),” King said. “They have great players.”
Moore remembers the Hoover game and uses it as motivation for his senior season.
“We take that game and make it our goal to win that game, and then win the state championship after that,” he said.
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