By Erik Harris
CLAY – Round 1 was a walk in the park for No. 1 Clay-Chalkville and Homewood, but both teams can expect a much quicker pace this Friday.
The Patriots (9-2), fresh off a 49-14 win over Lee-Huntsville, will visit Cougar Stadium on Friday night for the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. Clay-Chalkville (11-0) is coming off a 48-14 home win over Cullman in the opening round of action.
The Cougars bring confidence into the next round of the second season. They held Cullman to a 3-of-15 effort on third downs and allowed only one score against the starting defense.
Cougars’ defensive coordinator Sean Talsma will see a sharper opponent this Friday. Quarterback Carson Griffis and the Patriots’ offense enter the second round averaging 30.9 points per game. Griffis didn’t throw it much against Lee-Huntsville, but worked in an 87-yard touchdown toss to Griffin Walker. He also connected with TyShawn Buckner for a 17-yard score.
Talsma and the defense yield little more than two touchdowns per outing. Griffis must find a way to operate against, perhaps, the strongest secondary he’s faced this season.
Clay-Chalkville defensive backs C.J. Toney, Amari Holloway, Nick Battle and Jamarlin Sewell have combined for ten interceptions on the season. Armoni Holloway has also added an interception and six passes broken up. Griffis threw an interception last week in an 8-of-10 passing effort.
“Every day, every week, we always talk about seeing another Monday,” said Clay-Chalkville linebacker Kenyon Hasberry following last week’s win. “And today, we proved that we can see another Monday and we’re just going to move on and get better and better each and every day.”
The Cougars’ senior signal caller, Ty Pigrome, went 16-of-23 through the air for 283 yards and four touchdowns last week. Homewood must stay discipline in their defensive containment if they want to prevent another monster night from the All-Tribune quarterback. Pigrome has run for 819 yards and ten scores in 2015.
The Patriots will need another stingy outing from their defense, which is holding the opposition to 14.1 points per game. Homewood hasn’t allowed more that 17 points to be scored since Sept. 4 in a 54-20 win over Pelham. With the exception of a 41-7 loss to Class 7A Vestavia Hills, the Patriots haven’t yielded more than 20 points to an opponent all season. Can they hold Clay-Chalkville under the same curse? Their life depends on it.
Erik Harris is the Sports Editor for the Trussville Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @jeharris2 or email him at email@example.com.