CLAY — The Clay-Chalkville Cougars took advantage of a disastrous first half by the visiting Decatur Red Raiders on Friday night and coasted to an easy 45-14 win the first round of the 6A state playoffs.
The Cougars (10-1) now advance to the second round next Friday against Tuscaloosa County at Cougar Stadium. The Red Raiders end their season at 7-4.
High snaps, fumbles and tackles for losses hampered Decatur while getting outscored 31-7 in the first half.
The crowning insult for the Red Raiders came on the final play of the half when Clay-Chalkville's Daniel Clayton caught a scrambling Jackson Fite and slapped the ball from his hands. The Cougars' Lyrone Steed scooped up the quarterback's fumble and raced 50 yards for a touchdown with no time remaining in the half.
It was a night of big plays for Clay-Chalkville. The Cougars got on the scoreboard first quarterback Hayden Moore hit Brian Clark with a 33-yard touchdown pass on their first offensive possession.
Decatur answered when Harold Blades returned the kickoff to the Cougars' 35-yard line. Eventually facing a fourth and 9, Fite caught the home team napping and he hit Rex Jarmin with a 31-yard touchdown pass.
It was at that point that the wheels began to fall off for the Red Raiders. Moore hit Terelle West with a 70-yard touchdown pass two series later and on the next series Kenterrius Gray capped a 7-play, 58-yard drive with a 5-yard run.
If Decatur wasn't already doomed with the 31-7 first-half deficit Clay-Chalkville scored less than two minutes into the second half when Sidney Battle ran it in from four yards out for a 38-7 Clay-Chalkville lead.
Both teams eventually added touchdowns with Decatur's coming with just 1:16 remaining against the Clay-Chalkville subs.
"That's the best we've played in a long time," Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood said. "We ran the ball really well and we hit some deep balls early.
"Decatur just let the game get away from them."
At one point early in the fourth quarter Decatur had rushed 28 times for only 14 net yards. The Red Raiders eventually ended with 130 total yards to Clay-Chalkville's 389.
Moore, who played sparingly in the second half, hit 4 of 14 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Blake Bailey hit two of three passes for 64 yards and a TD.
Clayton was the defensive leader for the Cougars as he ended the night with 10 tackles including three for losses and he caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
Fite had a 9 of 26 passing night for Decatur for 89 yards and a touchdown.
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