E.A. Sports Today

Milestone man

Clay Central’s Horn gets 300thcareer coaching victory in win over former team

Elisha McNeal lunges for the end zone to score the first touchdown of the game. (Photos by Jeremy Wortham)

By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today
ALEXANDER CITY – The matchup between Clay-Central and Benjamin Russell Friday night was more than your average season opener. It was a game sure to be talked about in the years to come regardless who was victorious on the gridiron.
Would the Wildcats knock off the top-ranked and defending Class 5A state champions to open the season? Or would Clay Central coach Danny Horn add his name to the 300-win club by defeating his former team?
Six minutes and 43 seconds was all it took for Horn to start etching his name into the record books. 
The Volunteers opened the game with a four-play drive capped by Elisha McNeil punching it in from the 4 and they were off and running to a 38-14 victory that made him the sixth coach to reach 300 career wins.
“That didn’t even really cross my mind,” Horn said. “I was just wanting to win the first game of the year.
“It’s a great accomplishment, but you’ve got to have great teams, you’ve got to have great assistant coaches; basically, all I do is stand around and holler at the referee now. But it’s a great accomplishment. Obviously, everybody I’ve coached and coached with me is a big part of it.”
Horn is now 300-86 in 31 years as a head coach. He had 62 of those wins coaching Benjamin Russell between 2009 and 2017. He had 225 wins in 20 years at Clay County High School.
The Wildcats most productive offense came on their opening drive by marching 81 yards down the field with Carl Russell taking it one yard up the middle to tie the game with 7:27 in the first.
The Volunteers went on to have five unanswered scoring drives to close out the game.
“We didn’t play well last week and I challenged them a little bit,” Horn said. “And they responded. In the first half we played about as perfect offensively as you could play. First game I thought we came out with a little bit more intensity that we’ve shown in the past. When you play hard good things happen.”
The Vols were pretty balanced; they rushed for 192 yards as a team and passed for 210. Quinton Knight rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries. Boyd Ogles completed seven of nine passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Javon Wood had five catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Clay Central 38, Benjamin Russell 14

13First downs8
192Rushing yds85
210Passing yds106
4-45Penalty yds5-50

Scoring plays
Clay Central             21  14  3 0   –  38
Benjamin Russell    7    0    7  0  –  14
C – Elisah McNeil 6 run (Clay Yates kick), 10:29 1Q
B – Carl Russell 1 run (kick good), 7:27 1Q
C – Javon Wood 53 pass from Boyd Ogles (Clay Yates kick), 5:17 1Q
C – Javon Wood 25 pass from Boyd Ogles (Clay Yates kick), 0:23 1Q
C – Carter Young 17 pass from Boyd Ogles (Clay Yates kick), 9:25 3Q
C – Quinton Knight 2 run (Clay Yates kick), 1:00 2Q
C – Clay Yates 31 FG, 9:07 3Q
B – Hezekiah Hunter 6 run (PAT good), 2:26 3Q 
Here a list of the state’s winningest coaches:
 Buddy Anderson, Vestavia Hills   336
Jamie Riggs, Houston Academy  313
Walden Tucker, Retired     309
Terry Curtis, UMS Wright   305
Glenn Daniel, Retired         302
Danny Horn, Clay Central 300

Clay Central quarterback Boyd Ogles (18) threw three touchdown passes as the Volunteers pulled away from a 7-7 tie.

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