By Erik Harris
CLAY – There was no Cinderella story to be told on Friday night in Cougar Stadium. Things went according to plan for those wearing blue as they captured their second home win of the season with a 52-14 win over Shades Valley (2-5, 2-2 Class 6A, Region 6).
With the win, No. 1 Clay-Chalkville is now 10-0 under its home lights since falling to Florence in the second round of the 2013 state playoffs. Through that stretch, the Cougars have scored no less than 35 points in each contest.
They were in typical spirits on Friday night, amassing 575 unofficial yards of offense in a region win. Senior quarterback Ty Pigrome, who has won all ten of those home games over the past two seasons, went for 444 yards of his own.
He got 43 of them with a touchdown strike to Nico Collins in the second quarter. The dual-threat weapon rolled up 89 more of those yards with a simple dump into the flats. Running back Brandon Berry did almost all of the work, grabbing the short completion, planting his left foot and tight roping the visitor’s sideline all the way to pay dirt.
“The offense, they just keep getting better and better and better. They were able to do a lot of great things tonight,” said Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood.
Pigrome struggled with his accuracy in the first half, but found his rhythm in the second half to finish a special night.
Things didn’t start particularly pretty for the Cougars’ defense, as they fell victim to a trick play on the Mounties’ first snap of the game. Raday Edwards took a jet sweep and fired a pass downfield to Joshua McKenzie, who was all alone behind the Clay-Chalkville secondary. That trickery went for a 72-yard touchdown to evened the game at 7-all early in the opening quarter.
“The funny thing is, I told them today at walk through, ‘that’s what’s coming.’ Then I told them in the pre-game meal, ‘you’re going to get a double pass.’ They got a double pass,” said Hood.
“We’ve had that play actually since this summer and we didn’t have it on film. We just felt like we could get a little spark there and we felt like we could get it on the first play,” said Shades Valley head coach David Partridge.
Unfortunately for the visitors, that double pass was the only score they would enjoy for quite a while. The Cougars made six trips to the end zone before Shades Valley quarterback Claude Newell connected with Anthony Williams for a 7-yard touchdown late in the fourth to end the night at 52-14.
Newell never showed quit, despite the unsightly scoreboard. He completed 17 of his 29 passing attempts for 199 yards and the late score. He did however toss three interceptions. C.J. Toney, Kenyon Hasberry and Keeston Smith all got their hands on Newell passes.
Five plays after Hasberry’s second quarter interception, Pigrome found Collins for the pair’s second score of the night to give Cougars a 14-point advantage.
“Kenyon Hasberry’s interception was huge. C.J. Toney played great. All the kids, defensively, bought in,” said Hood. “We ran a completely different scheme this week based on what they did and we were able to execute that with two (sophomores) on the field.”
Cole Baker and the Clay-Chalkville defensive front won the war up front all night, containing a dangerous Shades Valley rushing attack to less than 100 yards. Sparked by the 72-yard first play from scrimmage, the Mounties ended the night with 358 total yards of offense while converting three of 12 third-down conversions.
For the Cougars, Collins pulled down four receptions for 119 yards and a pair of scores (all of his production came before the break).
“Nico (Collins) had an incredible night. He made some plays that makes him a big-time kid,” said Hood.
Alabama verbal pledge T.J. Simmons reached the end zone twice, once on a 19-yard reception and again on a 24-yard reverse.
Clay-Chalkville will be back in region action again next week when it travels to Lawson Field for a collision with Woodlawn (1-6, 0-4). The following week will likely decide the region champion, as the Cougars host Gardendale (6-1, 5-0).
Follow Erik Harris on Twitter @jeharris2.