Clay-Chalkville, Alabama, more than lived up to its billing against Blackman in the first game of the Middle Tennessee Football Classic at MTSU's Floyd Stadium.
The Cougars, the defending Alabama 6A champion put on offensive display from the outset, scoring on their first three possession en route to a 38-7 rout of the Blaze.
"They've got a lot of speed at receiver, and they have great length," said Blackman coach David Watson. "Defensively, they're very solid. They're long and cover a lot of ground.
"You think you've got some big creases, but they don't give up the big play because they run to the ball pretty well. But we made some mistakes offensively that you can't make."
Blackman earned a small victory on Clay-Chalkville's first series when it forced the Cougars to kick an 18-yard field goal after they had it first-and-goal at the 1.
From there, however, the Cougars offense began to click and score at will.
Clay-Chalkville scored on its second drive, an 82-yarder, that was culminated by Brandon Berry's 73-yard scamper with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter.
The Cougars struck again when quarterback Tyrell Pigrome threw back-to-back 37 yards passes, the second going to T.J. Simmons with 11:03 left in the second quarter to give them a 17-0 advantage.
On Clay-Chalkville's next drive, it drove 83 yards, with Pigrome hitting Simmonds a 38-yard strike with 3:17 left before halftime.
The Cougars amassed a whopping 432 yards in total offense this first half and 560 overall. Pigrome threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, while Simmons caught 4 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
"Even at the half, I don't want to say I was displeased," Watson said. "We were giving good effort, hustling to the ball. We're young in the seconday and at outside linebacker. The only way they're going to get better is play, and I thought they played better as the game went on."
As dominant as Clay-Chalkville's offense was, its defense was equally effective. The Blaze managed just 80 yards in total offense in the first half and had only three first downs. Blackman punted on each of its six series in the first half. Blackman finished with 171 yards in total offense.
"All around the board they were super athletic," said Blackman senior quarterback Miller Armstrong. "They had a lot of big bodies inside and that made it tough, and they just played a great game.
"We prepared to win this game. We kept playing as hard as we could. We tried to execute as hard as we could, and I thought we had some really solid moments."
Blackman avoided the shutout when Armstrong followed up a Master Teague 70-yard run with a 1-yard run with 3:20 left in the game.
The Blaze return to action on Frday when they host McCallie.
Sports editor Monte Hale Jr. may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org