By Gary Lloyd
Clay-Chalkville got back to smashmouth football Friday night at Pete Rich Stadium.
The Class 6A No. 2 Cougars amassed more than 400 yards of rushing offense and drilled Pell City 38-7.
Senior quarterback Hayden Moore rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, senior running back Sidney Battle added a touchdown and 122 rushing yards — 119 in the first half — on 14 carries and junior running back Terrelle West rushed 11 times for 91 yards and a score.
“The best thing about tonight was we lined up with two tight ends and smashmouthed Pell City,” said Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood. “We wanted to show our toughness.”
The Cougars (4-0, 3-0 Class 6A, Region 7) showed that toughness from the get-go. Clay-Chalkville rushed nine times on a 13-play, 80-yard opening drive, which was capped when Battle scored on an 8-yard run.
Clay-Chalkville’s next scoring drive, late in the second quarter, was a 14-play, 88-yard movement that was punctuated when Moore hit senior wideout Brian Clark in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown.
After forcing a quick Pell City three-and-out, Moore found the end zone on a 23-yard bruising run 35 seconds before halftime.
“It’s really a game we wanted to win so bad,” Moore said. “It was just good for us to come and show who we are.”
West scored on a 12-yard run at the 7:02 mark in the third quarter, putting Clay-Chalkville on top 28-0. Pell City (3-1, 2-1) answered on its next drive when senior quarterback Jackson Williamson plunged forward from one yard out, capping a 10-play, 64-yard scoring drive. Outside of the one Panthers scoring drive, the Clay-Chalkville defense — which had surrendered 55 points the last two weeks — was solid.
“We talked about being patient, staying in our place,” Hood said.
A 26-yard Patrick Millican field goal and 6-yard touchdown run by senior DeAndres Merriweather finished the scoring for Clay-Chalkville.
Hood said it was a “tremendous” week of practice for the defense, which allowed just 78 total yards in the first half and 105 in the second half.
“We played a lot better with a lot of energy,” said junior defensive back Art Smith, who recorded a fumble recovery and interception for Clay-Chalkville. “We practiced good all through the week.”
Hood said this win is important, one that nearly guarantees a Class 6A playoff spot this early in the season.
“It’s a tremendous win for us,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.