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Panthers can’t defend home field in rivalry game

The Chilton County High School defense was suffocating Thursday against Jemison. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

The Chilton County High School defense was suffocating Thursday against Jemison. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

Chilton County High School’s football team took a lopsided win over rival Jemison for the second consecutive season.

The visiting Tigers won at Panther Stadium on Thursday, 40-6.

The win improves CCHS to 2-0 as the team looks for more wins to come in coach Brian Bradford’s second season.

Jemison, meanwhile, falls to 2-0 and is left looking for answers.

For one night, however, the focus wasn’t on records or the rest of the season. Instead, two fierce rivals fought for bragging rights.

“I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if we had lost,” CCHS senior running back Corbin Bice said.

Bice gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead with a 10-yard run on third-and-1, capping off a 65-yard opening drive that lasted almost 5 minutes.

With Colby Barren’s point after, Chilton had all the scoring it would need for the win, but the Tigers were far from finished.

On their next possession, Kidevon McDaniel ran 35 yards for another score.

In the second quarter, following a Bice run for a first down, quarterback C.J. Driver passed to Cade Hatch, who made an over-the-shoulder catch for a 36-yard touchdown and a 19-0 lead.

Like in Week 1, Driver split time behind center with Kendall Davis.

With less than 3 minutes remaining in the first half, CCHS delivered a play that may have signaled the end of Jemison’s chances in the game.

The JHS defense had forced the visitors into a third-and-12 play, and seemed to have Davis hemmed up. Davis escaped, however, and flicked the ball to an open Hatch, who ran 54 yards for a touchdown.

After Barren’s extra point, Chilton County held a 26-0 lead at halftime.

The Tigers went up 33-0 on their first possession of the second half when Davis passed to Lance McGhar for 21 yards on a fourth-and-four.

Jemison’s Jaren Swindle recovered a fumble to kill Chilton County’s next drive, and on the next play from scrimmage, Eric Evans ran 58 yards for the Panthers first score against CCHS since 2013 (Chilton won in a shutout last season, 33-0).

The Tigers answered right back with another long run, this one 78 yards by McDaniel.

Bradford told his team after the game that he was proud of them for playing with effort and intensity.

“It’s the way it’s supposed to be played,” he said.

Junior linebacker Dustin Cleckler agreed.

“It was leaders stepping up to their ability,” Cleckler said. “We’ve worked hard every day, and this just proves that.”

Chilton County hosts Pell City next week, while Jemison visits Dallas County.