ALABASTER, Alabama -- In his first game at starting quarterback, Damione Ward threw for two touchdown passes and ran another touchdown to lead Clay-Chalkville to a 37-14 win over Dothan in the Go Gold Bowl at Thompson High School on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars outscored the Wolves 21-0 in the second half to get the win. The Go Gold Bowl raises money for childhood cancer research and the fund will go to Children's of Alabama and the Elaine Roberts Foundation.
Clay-Chalkville (1-0) opened the scoring on a Justin Dawson 1-yard touchdown run. Defensive back Cameron Grady picked off a Dothan pass to setup the first touchdown. With the score, the Cougars led 7-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Dothan botched the kickoff and had to take a safety in their own end zone and Clay-Chalkville added two points for a 9-0 lead.
With 4:43 left in the first quarter, Ward scored on a 12-yard touchdown run and the Cougars led 16-0 late in the first quarter. "I saw a lot of fight today," said Cougars head coach Drew Gilmer. "We had our ups and downs and we got tired. To see them respond coming out of halftime to fight and we did that in the second half."
Dothan made a comeback in the second quarter and cut into the Cougars lead. With 6:31 left in the quarter, Jamal Lane hit Jabre Barber on a 4-yard touchdown play and the Wolves cut the Cougars lead to 16-7 midway through the quarter. WIth :29 seconds till the half, Lane ran 9-yards up the middle for a score and just trailed 16-14 at the half.
Dothan looked to take some momentum at the half, but it just didn't turn out that way in the second half. "We made a lot of mistakes and we got of to a bad start," said Wolves head coach Smitty Grider. "Really proud of the battling back right before halftime and had some momentum at halftime, but it kind of got away from us in the second half."
In the second half, Devin Owens scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give Clay-Chalkville a 22-14 lead. Right after the score, we had a 30 minute lightning delay before the extra point. After the delay, the Cougars kicked the extra point and led 23-14 with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
With 5:18 left in the third quarter, Ward scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. With the score, the Cougars led 30-14. The Cougars scored their last touchdown on a Ward pass to Lazarius Hinkle on an 11-yard touchdown play. With the Clay-Chalkville score, the Cougars led 37-14.
Ward on the night completed 16-of-21 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown along with 56 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. "Willie (Miller) is my dog right there, he taught me a lot," said Cougars QB Ward. "Just learning the game, showing me to be a leader, teaching me to manage the game. We are good. We have been working hard. Keep pushing, getting back in the lab on Monday trying to get better."
Cougars wide receiver Tristan Lane had 116 yards on 7 receptions. Lamar Croskey had two picks for the Cougars. Samaj Washington added a pick earlier in the game.
Up next for both teams, Clay-Chalkville will host James Clemens while Wetumpka travels to play Dothan.