By Erik Harris
CLAY – It isn’t recognized as an official landmark win, but it didn’t matter to the top-ranked Clay-Chalkville football team as it doused a bucket of water over the back of its seventh-year head coach on Friday night at Lawson Field.
The Cougars were watching the fourth quarter clock wind down on a 72-6 thumping of Class 6A, Region 6 opponent Woodlawn; waiting on their opportunity to pop that celebratory top. With the contest clearly out of reach, Jerry Hood – the recipient of his unofficial 100th career win as a head coach – anticipated the attack and took a move out of All-State wideout T.J. Simmons’ book.
“T.J. (Simmons) mashed F2 on Nintendo tonight, so I tried to copy it and I think I hurt my hamstring when I was doing it,” said Hood of his strategy to elude the first bucket of ice water.
What he didn’t anticipate was the relentless effort his players would commit to his celebration; the same relentless spirit they exude on the field of play.
“I did a jump cut and then I did a spin and I thought it was over. I thought they were out of water and then they busted me with one more,” said Hood, soaked with victory. “We had fun with it, and I almost escaped the ice.”
Hood has taken the field 137 times over the last 12 years as a high school football coach in the Birmingham area, and walked off a winner 100 times, including nine vacated wins from the 2011 season.
“(The players) didn’t know about (the milestone win) because we got put in AHSAA jail a few years ago, so officially I don’t guess it’s 100, but in my mind, we’ve gone out (137) times and that’s the 100th win, so I was glad this team got to experience that,” said Hood.
“It feels great to be a part of the team that helped him accomplish a big goal in his career,” said Simmons.
The players were unaware that their head coach was approaching the triple-digit win until they entered the locker room for halftime.
“We didn’t even know. He was just going to tell us on Monday at first, but then he told us at halftime that it’s going to be his 100th win,” said senior running back Brandon Berry. “We just planed on, after halftime that we were going to ice him.”
72 of Hood’s wins have come in his seven seasons at Clay-Chalkville. Since starting with the Cougars in 2009, Hood has amassed an 11-4 postseason mark. He also held the head job at Oak Mountain from 2004 to 2008, securing the other 28 victories.
If the past is any indication of things to come, Hood will celebrate his 100th official win sometime next September.
Follow Erik Harris on Twitter @jeharris2.