By Erik Harris
CLAY — It’s a clash in the top ten.
No. 1 Clay-Chalkville (2-0) will travel west for its third of four straight road games to open the 2015 season. This week’s challenger: No. 10 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (1-1), who is coming off a 31-0 beating of Class 7A No. 5 Oak Mountain.
Patriots’ quarterback Cole Frederick will likely enter Roy Johnson Jr. Stadium with a wealth of confidence after completing 14 of his 21 attempts last week. He finished his night in Birmingham with 257 passing yards and three scores, two of them landing in the hands of Jahi Brown.
That duo will face a tough Cougar defense on Friday night. Linebacker Terry Brown and safety Nick Battle, who have a combined 16 tackles this year, have successfully broken in nine new defensive starters through the early part of the schedule.
Clay-Chalkville is coming off its 17th straight victory, a 49-15 effort at Minor. The Cougars surrendered 358 yards of total offense to the hosts; 81 of them came against the junior varsity unit.
On the offensive end, Clay-Chalkville played up to its sterling reputation, going for 557 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns against the Tigers. T.J. Simmons and Nico Collins pulled down two touchdowns each from quarterback Ty Pigrome, who finished 15-of-21 for 324 yards and the four scores.
Offensive coordinator Chris Mills will have to work on ball security this week, as Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa preyed upon sloppy ball handling last Friday. The Patriots forced five turnovers in a shutout victory over the fifth-ranked team in Class 7A.
Pigrome will need to keep an eye out for Kinote Taggart and Cagan Campbell in passing situations. Both recorded interceptions against Oak Mountain.
On second thought, maybe he should just stay focused on doing what he’s always done – lead the offense and win games. After all, he is 17-0 as a starter.
Follow Erik Harris on Twitter @jeharris2.