By Erik Harris
CLAY – As the ball was being teed up for the opening kickoff of Cougar Stadium’s first game of 2015, Clay-Chalkville offensive coordinator Stuart Floyd went to his undefeated quarterback – Ty Pigrome – and said, “Let him go get it.”
Moments later the subtle secret became public knowledge when Pigrome let T.J. Simmons go get a deep post that translated into an 80-yard touchdown on the night’s first snap. That start set the tone for the most one-sided game in the Pinson Valley rivalry’s recent history.
With a 65-10 final, the No. 1 Cougars improved to 5-0 on the season with a 2-0 mark in Class 6A, Region 6. Pinson Valley (3-2, 0-2) now must regroup before visiting McAdory for a non-region contest next Friday.
“When we start like that, we’re tough to beat,” Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood said. “It got the kids fired up and ready to play.”
Pigrome struck twice more on his team’s next two possessions. The first came on a patient run that eventually found daylight down the right side for a 39-yard scoring dash. The second didn’t burn quite as many calories as he sat in the pocket and led Nico Collins into the back corner of the end zone to update the scoreboard to 27-3 early in the second period. Simmons found paydirt on a kickoff return between Pigrome’s second and third trips to the end zone.
That fast start was too much for the Indians to recover from. The visitors turned the ball over on their first two drives of the second quarter, and paid a harsh fine.
The Pigrome to Collins touchdown came after running back Torrey Hendrix lost a fumble to Xavier Mays on the Pinson Valley 18-yard-line. A Nick Battle interception later set the table for A.J. Walker’s eight-yard touchdown rush, which came late in the first half to push the score to 34-3.
However, the Indians wouldn’t escape the second quarter without suffering another jab, this one came thanks to Andrew Van Winkle’s 41-yard field goal that split the crossbars as time expired on a brutal first half for those in white.
“Clay’s got a really good football team. I knew that we would have to play really well and we just didn’t do it,” Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover said. “My hat’s off to them.”
The second half saw lots of backup reps for both teams, but not before Pigrome dropped one more bomb into the sure hands of Collins. On Clay-Chalkville’s third play of the third, the defending Class 6A Back of the Year award winner bought time with his feet and kept his eyes down field where they found a streaking Collins for a 60-yard touchdown that ended the night for many starters.
Things weren’t as happy on the other sideline. Indians’ quarterback Jackie Matthews completed nine of his 21 attempts for 108 yards and a pair of interceptions. Battle and cornerback C.J. Toney both got their hands on Matthews’ misfires.
Things weren’t any easier on the ground for Pinson Valley. Junior running back Torrey Hendrix had his lowest production of the season with ten rushes for 19 yards. He did not play in the second half.
The Indians’ lone touchdown of the night went from quarterback Zach Moore to Keimon Norman from eight yards out with 28 seconds remaining.
For Clay-Chalkville, a pair of young ball carriers performed well in mop-up duty. Sophomore Quintin Young kept things rolling once starting running back Brandon Berry called it a night.
Young went untouched on the first play of the fourth for a 36-yard sprint to the end zone. Johnathan Dixon also scored from a yard out.
Follow Erik Harris on Twitter @jeharris2.