PINSON, Alabama -- Running back Ed Osley scored five touchdowns as the #1 Clay-Chalkville Cougars defeated the Pinson Valley Indians 42-23 in a Class 6A, Region 6 contest at Willie Adams Stadium on Friday night. With the Cougars win, they clinch the region title and the #1 seed in the region along hosting a home game in the first round.
Clay-Chalkville (8-0, 6-0) used Osley for most of the game as he became the workhorse for the Cougars offense. "“I always plan on giving him the ball 31 times,” said Cougars head coach Drew Gilmer. “Why wouldn’t I? We’re not very good coaches if we don’t. He just did a phenomenal job. People are missing out on that kid.”
Pinson Valley came into the game with a seven-game winning streak in the series. "As for the streak, all it means is we're region champs, and that's the end of it and we have to get ready for another game next week," added Gilmer. "We've got a long way to go and a lot of work to do to get better. We're excited to get the win."
Pinson Valley (5-3, 3-2) scored first in the game. A Mike Sharpe 15-yard run around the left end gave Pinson Valley good field position in Cougar territory. On the next play, with 7:36 left in the first quarter, Zach Pyron found Amare Thomas wide open in the Cougars secondary for the first score of the game and the Indians took at 7-0 early lead.
Clay-Chalkville came knocking on the door of the end zone when Khalib Johnson found Mario Craver on a 20-yard completion deep in Indians territory, but on a 4th and three play at the Indians 18-yard line, the Cougars were stopped a yard short of the first down mark and the Indians took back the ball. Three plays later, Cougars defensive back Jayden Sweeney picked off an Indians pass and returned it to the Pinson Valley three-yard line. Two plays later, Osley scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed and Pinson Valley still held the lead at 7-6 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars defense forced a quick three and out while putting the Cougars offense in good field position. With only :24 seconds left in the first quarter, Osley scored on a 28-yard touchdown run around the left side of the defense for a score. Again, the two-point conversion failed but Clay-Chalkville took the 12-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Clay-Chalkville took the ball again early in the second quarter and drove down the field for a score. With 11:53 left in the second quarter, Johnson hit Mario Craver in the middle of the field and he scored around the left side of the goal line for a 19-yard touchdown. For the third time in a row, the two-point conversion failed and Clay-Chalkville still led at 18-7 early in the second half.
Pinson Valley came back with another score in the second quarter. Just a few plays later and with 11:32 left in the second quarter, Pyron scores on a 17-yard touchdown run. Pyron added the two-point conversion. With the score, Clay-Chalkville led 18-16 still early in the second quarter. Pinson Valley came right back down the field and were hoping to take the lead after a big Pyron to Thomas pass connection took the ball deep into Cougars territory, but on the next play Cougars WR/DB Jaylen Mbakwe picked off a pass and Clay-Chalkville turned away a good Pinson Valley scoring opportunity along with keeping the 18-15 lead.
After the Indians turnover, Osley took a handoff and ripped off a 21-yard run along with a face mask 15-yard penalty that moved the ball into Pinson Valley territory. Two plays later, running back Cam'ron Williams took a handoff and ran 25-yards to the Pinson Valley 5-yard line. With 3:58 left in the second quarter, Osley scores on a 2-yard touchdown run. A Johnson pass to Williams on the two-point conversion extended the Cougars lead to 26-15 late in the first half.
Pinson Valley came right back before the half as Pyron found Thomas over the middle for a big gain. Tyler Russell caught a pass from Pyron and the Indians were moving the football down the field but the drive stalled at midfield. The Indians brought on the punting unit and on fourth down, they convert a fake punt as the punter Zaylen McCray only needed four yards but he picked up 24-yards and an Indians first down in Clay-Chalkville territory. Pyron connects with Mario Byrd on a 10-yard pass play and the Indians are looking to close the gap before the half.
On the next play, Pyron looks to Thomas in the end zone but wide receiver Marquarius "Squirrel" White picks off the pass and the Cougars defense comes up big again. This is the first time all year the White has played defense. The Tennessee commitment is the leading receiver for the Cougars this season. With the stop, Clay-Chalkville takes a 26-15 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Clay-Chalkville takes the kickoff and marches right down the field. Osley had a big 35-yard run to put the ball deep into Pinson Valley territory. On the next play, Johnson hits White down to the Indians 8-yard line for a first and goal. On the next play, Osley runs it down to the Indians 1-yard line. With 9:27 left in the third quarter, Osley scores on a 1-yard touchdown run. Clay-Chalkville gets the two-point conversion when Johnson found Craver in the back of the endzone. With the score, Clay-Chalkville extended the lead to 34-15.
Pinson Valley kept moving the ball down the field after the Cougars touchdown and had the ball in Clay-Chalkville territory but for the second time in the game, White picked off another Pinson Valley pass at the Clay-Chalkville 23-yard line. “I’m just trying to soak all this in right now," said Cougars WR/DB White. "Region champions feels great. I may have to petition to play a little more defense. That’s the dark side over there.”
Pinson Valley wasn't done fighting to get back into the game. After a short Cougars punt, Sharpe ran right up the middle of the defense for a big Indians run and Pyron ran 23-yards down to the Clay-Chalkville two-yard line. With 3:16 left in the third quarter, Sharpe scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Pyron added the two-point conversion and Pinson Valley trimmed the lead back at 34-23 late in the third quarter.
Pinson Valley picked off a Cougars pass and defensive back Armare Sills gave the Indians good field positon at midfield but the Indians couldn't do anything with the turnover. With Clay-Chalkville back with the ball, Osley goes 23-yards to the Cougars 43-yard line but there drive stalled out. Pinson Valley took the ball and moved down in Clay-Chalkville territory, but the Indians fumbled the ball away and Matthew Yafondo recovered the ball for the Cougars.
So on the next Clay-Chalkville possession, Johnson found Mbakwe on a long pass to give the Cougars another scoring opportuinty with less than six minutes left in the game. A few plays later, Williams runs the ball down to the Indians 4-yard line. With 2:15 left in the game, Osley scores his fifth touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run. Osley added the two-point conversion and Clay-Chalkville led 42-23. "We had to look at them as just another team," said Cougars RB Osley. "We really weren't worried about them. It feels good because we've been waiting for this moment. I owe everything to my offensive line. I couldn't do it without them. I just knew I had to do my job."
For the game, Osley had 185 yards on 31 carries and five touchdowns. For the season, Osley has 1,098 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. Johnson finished the game 8-of-16 passing for 115 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Up next, Clay-Chalkville has an open date and then will travel to face Oak Mountain in a non-region game at Hurdmont Park, while Pinson Valley will travel to Jasper.