By Erik Harris
Things are just as they should be. The summer has passed, the days are shorter and Clay-Chalkville is still undefeated after their 62-8 Region 7 win over Grissom.
This game was the definition of a mismatch. The (6-0, 4-0) Cougars reached the end zone on eight of their ten possessions. And only one of those was a true stop for the Tiger defense as Clay-Chalkville ran out the fourth-quarter clock on their final possession.
“We challenged the kids to play for the purpose of getting better every single week and I think they did that tonight. I’m proud of them,” said Cougar coach Jerry Hood.
The second-ranked Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage and unleashed a stable of running backs on visiting (0-6, 0-4) Grissom. The home team had nothing but fresh legs in the backfield that carried the offense for 417 yards on 27 carries and six touchdowns.
On the other side, the Tigers managed only 84 yards on 29 rushes and one score. Things weren’t any prettier through the air for the visitors.
Quarterback Christian Grospitch went a lousy 4-for-16 for 35 yards and an interception claimed by junior Kam Prewitt.
Rarely was Grissom able to get first and second down stops to threaten the Clay-Chalkville offense, but when they did, the Cougars extended the drive four out of five times. The Tigers converted on two of their 12 third down attempts.
Seniors Hayden Moore and Brian Clark hooked up with ease early on. On two of their first four possessions the dangerous combo reached paydirt.
With 5:08 remaining in the opening quarter, Moore lobed it up for Clark, who made a toe-tapping catch that would have counted on Sunday. The grab gave the good guys a 14-0 lead.
Moore went back to Clark just moments into the second quarter. The quarterback flung it into the flats and Clark did all the work from there, powering his way 18 yards to the end zone. He left several battered, would-be tacklers in his wake with a 21-0 hole to work with.
“I feel like I just did what I did; they missed a tackle and I finished it off with a touchdown,” said Clark.
The Moore-to-Clark combo was mercifully put on hold for the remainder of Senior Night.
The Cougar defense tallied stop after stop before Grissom finally scored on their final drive of the game. The fact that the score came against the Clay-Chalkvill scout team made no difference to the Tigers.
Erik Williams’ three-yard touchdown scamper was a sight for board eyes, and the two-point conversion almost made the trek from Huntsville worth it.
However, the real excitement came moments later when the Cougars’ senior punter took the field to play tight end late in the fourth quarter.
The stands roared as the out-of-place punter plowed off left side to spring running back and fellow senior Stephone Sheffield for a big gane.
This powerful block came as a surprise to every eye that saw. It was executed by the punter Cassie Clayton, who is the only female football player in school history.
“I didn’t think I would go in at tight end, that was a surprise, but it was awesome, adrenalin going and everything,” said Clayton.
When asked what message she wanted to send to other females, she went with the Nike slogan. “If you want to do it, just do it. If its something you enjoy, just get out there and do it no matter if its football or whatever.”
Moore only played in the first half due to the 34-0 halftime score. He completed five of his seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just saw lanes from my O-line and my wide receivers blocked great down field. Coach Adams does a great job of teaching them how to block down field,” West said.
“My favorite part of the game is blocking. Blocking for T West and Sidney and all them, that’s my favorite part of the game, so it don’t take me out of my game, it puts me on my A-game because I love to block for them,” said Clark.
Second-half quarterback Tyrell Pigrome went a perfect 5-for-5 passing for 79 yards.
“I’m proud of all the kids. Even when we put the backups in, the third team in, I thought they executed well,” said Hood.
Things wont get any easier for the Tiger’s defense next week as they hit the road for Oxford, where arguably the best running back in the state—Racean Thomas—awaits. The Cougars will look to remain unscathed after heading north to Gadsden City.