By Kyle Parmley
For The Tribune
PINSON — The two teams are region foes for the first time since 2009.
Pinson Valley made the leap back to Class 6A this season to join Clay-Chalkville in Region 6.
The Indians have never beaten the Cougars in the eight times they’ve played, including last year’s matchup at Willie Adams Stadium, where the two teams will face off again Friday at 7 p.m. During last year’s contest, former Clay-Chalkville quarterback Hayden Moore accounted for all seven of his team’s touchdowns in a 48-31 victory.
While Pinson Valley (2-2, 1-1) won’t have to worry about Moore this time around, it will still have to face an equally dangerous No. 8 jersey lining up under center. Junior Tyrell Pigrome has led Clay-Chalkville (4-0, 1-0) in much the same manner as his predecessor, picking defenses apart on the ground and through the air for the first four games this season.
Senior running back Terrelle West was also a big factor in the Cougars’ attack last season, as he amassed 123 total yards and was on the receiving end of a Moore touchdown pass. He’ll be counted on to lead the ground attack. Junior wide receiver T.J. Simmons didn’t play a big role in last year’s contest, but has emerged as a big-play threat for Clay-Chalkville, with seven touchdowns so far through four games.
Pinson Valley isn’t lacking in skill players that can make an impact, as the presence of senior running back Nick Gibson makes things tough on any defense. Last season against the Cougars, Gibson scored twice through the air and accumulated more than 150 yards of total offense. The Mississippi State pledge will need help from the rest of his offense to take full advantage of his abilities.
Junior Errius Collins leads the Indians at quarterback, and will need to build on his performance from a week ago to keep his team in the game. Collins tossed three touchdowns against Gardendale, but also threw two costly interceptions. He’ll face pressure from a Clay-Chalkville defensive line that produced four sacks against Huffman last week.
Desmond Williams will be one of Collins’ primary targets. Williams scored two touchdowns against the Cougars in last year’s showdown. He’ll likely be matched up with cornerback Kam Prewitt, who’s haunted opposing offenses, forcing five turnovers this season. He’s also a major factor in the return game.
Pinson Valley has put together some well-played games, as shutouts against Oneonta and Woodlawn will attest to, but no team has shown an ability to compete on the same level as Clay-Chalkville. The Cougars should improve to 5-0, notching their second region win if they hold true to form.