By Gary Lloyd
Clay-Chalkville senior quarterback Hayden Moore is going to have many options this season.
He’s got senior running back Sidney Battle and junior running back Terrelle West lining up behind him — two backs that combined for 1,609 yards and 20 touchdowns last season — not to mention other backs Stephone Sheffield, DeAndres Merriweather and Christopher Marshall.
“Awesome,” Clay-Chalkville offensive coordinator Stuart Floyd said of Battle and West. “Their leadership, I haven’t seen anything like that maybe since (UAB running back) Darrin Reaves. I don’t expect one guy to get the bulk of the load.”
Wide receiver Brian Clark, who caught 30 passes for 702 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago, is back, an athletic receiver who “takes us to another level,” Floyd said. The No. 2 Cougars will also feature receivers in senior Jamal Borders, junior Eric Blockum, junior Izzy Bennett and senior Cordell Scott, all who have impressed this spring and summer.
There are seven offensive starters back from a year ago, a season in which Clay-Chalkville scored a school-record 506 points in 14 games. For all the offensive explosiveness, there is an equal amount of toughness, of grit, in the trenches. The Cougars have three offensive line starters returning this season, and a total of four with significant playing time. Senior Ron Hawkins can play both tackle positions, and senior NeKiah Hinton-Johnson is a guard that is the most athletic lineman on the team. Senior Matt Reeves may be the strongest, senior Austin Sizemore has significant experience and senior Josh Davis has impressed in the spring and summer. Juniors Justin Daniel and Tyon Hardy are in the mix for playing time.
“The offense depends on them,” said Moore, a Cincinnati commitment. “I think they will do great for us in the fall.”
Floyd said the offense is built differently than a season ago, built for more plays in space with the team’s more athletic players.
“We’re definitely ahead of the game offensively,” Floyd said.
Floyd said this year’s offensive philosophy is “more creative,” mainly because of the departure of former fullback Kenterrius Gray, who was a strong blocker and hole-opener for the Cougars.
“I fully expect us to do what we do,” Floyd said. “We should compete in every game, for sure.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.