CLAY, Alabama -- The 6A Clay-Chalkville Cougars defeated 7A Oak Mountain at Cougars Stadium on Thursday night. The Cougars defense forced three red zone stops during the game and it was the difference in the win. Clay-Chalkville used a fumble recovery at the goal line, a blocked field goal and a bad pitch on the option play to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard and the difference in the game.
With only :26 seconds left in the game, Oak Mountain was driving into Cougars territory for the tying score but Kam Peterson picked off the Eagles pass at the 1-yard line to preserve the Clay-Chalkville victory. "I knew the win was crazy, I knew that I had to get back and someone tipped the ball up in the air," said Cougars DB Peterson. "I knew that I could get my hands on the ball and I said to myself game over. With this crazy win, I knew I just had to make a play on the ball and try to judge the ball in the air. Good win against a good 7A team. We just have to keep working getting ready for the playoffs."
Oak Mountain (6-4) scored first in the game when quarterback Evan Smith raced 81-yards for a touchdown run on the first offensive play of the game. With the score, the Eagles took the early 7-0 lead. Clay-Chalkville used a strong run game in the first quarter and was down to the Eagles 31-yard line that ended the first quarter with Oak Mountain still leading 7-0. A few plays later, Lazarius Hinkle scored on a 14-yard touchdown run and the game was tied at 7-7 with 10:35 left in the second quarter.
After the Clay-Chalkville touchdown, Oak Mountain took the ball and lightning struck again for the Eagles. With 8:57 left in the half, Smith raced 77-yards for a touchdown. With the score, Oak Mountain took 14-7 lead. For the game, Smith completed 4-of-9 passing for 34 yards along with 244 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns on the night.
With Clay-Chalkville taking over the ball after the Eagles touchdown, the Cougars put a drive together and scored with 2:43 left in the half. A Khalib Johnson pass to Marquarius White on a 59-yard long pass play for the Cougars tied the game at 14-14. "We just wanted to win and started out slow, the O-line picked me up and did a great job," said Cougars QB Johnson. "We made some good adjustments in the second half. We have to keep getting better getting ready for the playoffs next week."
In the second half, the Cougars took the ball and scored coming out of the locker room. With 8:10 left in the third quarter, Edward Osley scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Cougars a 21-14 lead that turned out big in the game. Oak Mountain had a chance to tie the game on their next drive, but fumbled on the Cougars 2-yard line. Late in the third quarter, the Eagles blocked a Cougars punt to setup the Oak Mountain offense once again. Down at the Cougars five yard line, the Eagles made a bad pitch and lost 13-yards on the play. The Cougars defense kept the Eagles from another score.
Oak Mountain wasn't done though on moving the football. Early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles setup a short field goal attempt but it was blocked by defensive back Lamar Croskey. Again, another red zone missed opportunity for the Eagles.
The Cougars offense used a strong run game to take off a lot of time in the fourth quarter. With less than three minutes left in the game, Clay-Chalkville missed a field goal that could have gave the Cougars a two score lead but it missed to the right. The Eagles drove but Clay-Chalkville ended the game with the Peterson interception. "This was a positive note going into the playoffs," said Cougars Head coach Drew Gilmore. "We wanted to work on fundamentals on tackling and blocking tonight and I think we did that. The game was a little sloppy at times but a good win for our kids."
Up next for both teams, Oak Mountain will travel to Austin while Clay-Chalkville will host Southside-Gadsden in the first round of the playoffs next week.