By Danny C. Davis
Clinton only has two full time starters back from last year’s team that held opponents to an average of only 14 points a game. But Arrow defense coordinator Hammer Morgan, has reason for optimism headed into the 2021 campaign.
“We graduated a lot of starters but have a lot of guys back that saw action last year and have a strong tenth grade class coming up with some big guys up front.
Returning are two guys that made a lot of plays last season. Senior Tywon Alexander Jr. will start for his third season at linebacker, and senior De Andrae Kelly made a lot of plays at defensive back last season. But junior Kam Gibson had a lot of starts at linebacker. Jacquavyian Carter, a junior, also saw a lot of action at linebacker. Elliot Denson, a senior, and Josh Walker, a junior, are also expected to see action at linebacker.
“We have a lot of experience at linebacker and feel real good there,” said Morgan.
The Arrows may be young on the defensive line but may be the biggest defensive front in a long time. Led by a couple of sophomores, Zay Scott, 6‘3’’, 250 pounds, at defensive end and T. J. Spann 6’3’’, 320 pounds, at nose guard, will help out anchoring the defensive line along Kenny Andrews, a junior, 6’2”, 280 pounds. Xynarus Haynes, 5’11’’, 220 pounds, a senior, returns at the other defensive end, where sophomore Jonathan Flowers, 6’2”, 275 pounds, is expected to also see action. Junior Demarrius Boyd, 6’3”, 200 pounds, will also see action at defensive end.
The defensive secondary is the biggest concern, where Kelly is the only full-time starter back, but senior Bryce Evans also saw a lot of action last season at the corner. At safety, senior Charles Brown and junior Quinton Whitehead both will start, with sophomore Donavon Coleman also in the mix.
“I think we can look forward to our defense having a similar season as last year,” said Alexander. “The young guys are working hard and will have the same tenacity we have. We are ready to pick up where we left off as a hungry team working towards a championship.”
“We have all played together a long time and have good chemistry on the team this year,” said Kelly. “We wore shirts this summer that said ‘One play,’ and we will not forget this year that we were just one play away from the championship game last year.”
“We can be a good defensive team, if the young guys can get some early experience and we can stay healthy,” said Morgan. “The juniors and seniors got that taste of winning last year in the playoffs, when we came up just a play short of playing for the state championship, and the sophomore players won championships in the eighth and ninth grades and are used to winning. We feel this is going to be a good year for us.”