CLAY, Alabama -- The Pinson Valley Indians rolled to the Class 6A, Region 6 title with a 27-10 victory over Clay-Chalkville in Cougars Stadium Friday night. A good ground game, some big passes and a key pick six was the difference in the Indians victory.
Pinson Valley (6-2, 5-0) has won seven straight games against their cross-town rival and the Indians seniors wanted to make sure that streak was not ending tonight. "I didn’t say anything about but they talked about it because I haven't been around here the last five years,” said Indians Head coach Sam Shade. “But these kids talked about it a lot. These seniors wanted to go out having never lost to Clay. We knew they were going to give us a tough challenge and they did.”
The Pinson Valley defense was swarming for most of the night. The front seven along with the secondary produced three turnovers that were key in the win. "We had to keep pushing, we tried our best to keep them out of the end zone and give our offense opportunities to score," said Indians DL James Perkins. "We had two off weeks, so we wanted to come out and play well. We missed putting on these jerseys, with our brotherhood and just playing together as a team. We have to keep pushing to the playoffs and keep this momentum going."
The first play of the game, Kenji Christian gets a big 40-yard run to put the Indians deep into Cougars territory. A few plays later Christian, the Virginia Tech commit, scored on a 4-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed and Pinson Valley took a 6-0 lead with 8:48 left in the first quarter.
Clay-Chalkville (7-1, 5-1) struggled offensively for most of the first half as they couldn't get much going in the first quarter and had to turn the ball over to the Pinson Valley dangerous offense. With 11:46 left in the second quarter and the first play of the second quarter, Zach Pyron found Micah Woods on an 85-yard scoring strike and just like that Pinson Valley led 13-0 early in the second quarter.
With another Cougars drive that stalled after the Pinson Valley touchdown in the second quarter, Mike Sharpe takes a swing pass and goes 17-yards along with a late hit out of bounds to setup the Indians offense again deep into Cougars territory. A few plays later, the Indians missed on a 30-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and the Cougars trial 13-0.
The Cougars offense started going after the missed field goal as the Clay-Chalkville run game gets going when Edward Osley had some big runs on the drive. Osley gets the Cougars down to the one-yard line but a personal foul call on Clay-Chalkville backs the Cougars back and they had to settle for a Jaren Van Winkle 31-yard field goal. With 1:16 left in the half, the Cougars trim the Indians lead to 13-3. Pinson Valley was moving the ball down to the Cougars 33-yard line but on the last play of the half, Kam Peterson picks off an Indians pass in the end zone, but Pinson Valley led 13-3 at the half.
Even though the Clay-Chalkville didn't do much in the first half, being only down 10 points still gave the Cougars and their fans hope for the second half. With the Cougars taking the ball in the second half and on their first play of the half, Clay-Chalkville tries to throw an out pass but corner Kool-Aid McKinstry steps in front of the pass and races 40-yards for the score and the air went out of the stadium as Pinson Valley led 20-3. "It was a play they tried in the first half and we just made an adjustment on it so they ran it again and I just picked it," said Indians DB McKinstry. "This means a lot to us going 7-0 to Clay-Chalkville."
After the Pinson Valley touchdown, the Cougars drove on an Antonio Miles reception to midfield but on the next play, the Cougars went deep but the ball was intercepted in the end zone and the Indians defense turned the Cougars away again. Three plays later after the turnover, Christian makes an one-handed catch in the middle of the field and raced 75-yards for an Indians score. With the touchdown, Pinson Valley led 27-3 with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
Again the Cougars were driving down the field, but a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Tradarrius Swanson jumped on the ball and Clay-Chalkville was turned away in the red zone. "We didn't execute and you can't make mistakes against a good football team," said Cougars Head coach Drew Gilmore. "We turned the ball over, not making blocks and missing tackles. You just don't win football games when you do those things."
With 11:06 left in the fourth quarter, the Cougars did get a touchdown when Osley scored on a 3-yard touchdown run, but trailed 27-10. The Cougars defense kept working though as Jayden Sweeney picked off an Indians pass and put the Cougars a first down at the Indians 37-yard line. Again, the Indians defense stepped up and a few plays later defensive back Amon Scarbrough picked off the pass and pretty much any chances of the Cougars making a comeback. "This is big on winning the region since all the things we were delt with to start the season," added Shade. "New staff, new players coming in, but congratulations to our coaches and our team for the hard work they have put into this game the last two weeks."
Pinson Valley kept the Cougars offense in check for most of the night only getting 233 total yards in the game. Pinson Valley gets their third region title in the last four years. Pyron completed 7-of-17 passing for 210 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions on the night. Christian rushed for 64 yards on 11 carries and a 75-yard touchdown reception. For the Cougars, Osley had 105 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown.
Up next for both teams, Pinson Valley will host Jasper while Clay-Chalkville will host Huffman in a non-region game.