MUNFORD — Munford didn’t open Class 5A, Region 5 play against the defending state champion Clay Central with the intensity that head coach Michael Easley wanted, but a challenge and a little honesty at halftime turned the game around for the Lions in the second half.
However, Clay Central was almost perfect in the first half, scoring five drives on its five first half drives led the Volunteers to a 34-12 victory.
“We just made too many mistakes the first half,” Easley said. “I don’t think we played hard in the first half, I just didn’t think we played hard.”
Munford tried to open up the run game on its first possession, but Clay Central’s defensive line had other plans, and managed to quickly get into the backfield and stop the run before it got started.
It was a different story for the Volunteers, however, who totaled 233 offensive yards in the first half, with 117 coming off of rushes.
“I was pleased with the first half,” Vols head coach Danny Horn said, “we didn’t have any penalties and we executed very well in the first half.”
The second half of the contest was a different story. Easley challenged his team, and the Lions finished the game by scoring 12 points and holding Clay Central scoreless.
“I challenged them, but I was honest with them,” Easley said. “I pointed out some lack of effort in some areas and some things as a team that we needed to change. … I think they responded very well.”
The Volunteers, who received the ball on the to start the second half, were forced to punt after three down. Taariq Johnson then broke through Clay Central’s defensive line in route to a 45-yard run that jump-started the Lions’ offense.
For Easley, he saw his team working the way it was supposed to in the third quarter.
“We played with pace,” Easley said. “We’re supposed to be an uptempo offense. … That was the best pace we’ve had all season long.”
What to know
—Tuck led the team in rushing with 70 yards. Johnson ran for 67 yards.
—Munford’s Sylvester Smith scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter, and ran 41 yards throughout the game.
—Clay Central’s Quentin Knight scored three of the Volunteers’ first half touchdowns, and ran for 118 yards.
—Vols QB Philip Ogles threw for a touchdown and ran for one. He passed for 110 yards.
—Clay Central’s Javon Wood caught an 11-yard touchdown pass.
—Clay Central’s Horn on Munford: “Munford has a really good team. I think they’re going to make some noise in the region before it’s over with.”
—Munford (1-2, 0-1) travels to region foe Center Point, while Clay Central (2-0, 1-0) returns home to host Springville.