By Danny C. Davis
For forty-three minutes of the forty-eight-minute game, the unranked Clinton Arrows went toe to toe with the #1 ranked Brandon Bulldogs on September 9. Every time the Bulldogs scored, the Arrows offense answered with a long drive to stay even.
Clinton had Brandon on the ropes midway in the fourth quarter, tied 35-35, and looked in position to take their first lead. Brandon was stopped short on a 4th and 6 from their own 39 with about six and a half minutes, and the Bulldogs would have been forced to punt back to Clinton, who had all the momentum going after Arrow senior running back Jackobe Calvin bolted 11 yards with 8:09 left to cap a five-play 66-yard drive to tie it 35-35 out of bounds. After the penalty, Brandon had to short drive and took the lead, 42-35, with five and a half minutes left. The final drive for the Arrows fell short.
“That one play with penalty on 4th down changed the game,” said Arrows head coach Judd Boswell. “Brandon was down, and we had the momentum to go down and take the lead and win the game.”
With the loss, the Arrows dropped 1-2 and had an open date on September 16. CHS opens Region 2-6A play at Germantown on September 23 at Germantown High School at Gluckstadt. The next home game for the Arrows will be against Starkville on September 30.
“We expected a game like this tonight,” said Brandon head coach Sam Williams. “They were the most talented team we have played so far. I expect them to do real well this season.”
“We went toe to toe with a good football team, and I felt we gained a lot of confidence tonight,” said Arrows offensive coach Tyler Peterson. “Most every year, the Brandon-Clinton game is a one-score game, and that is what happened tonight. We ran the ball well, but have got to find a way to open our passing game up.”
Clinton pulled out all the stops on offense and ran the option at times and even faked a punt successfully to keep a scoring drive alive.
“We just need to correct small things we do on defense,” said Arrows defensive tackle Kenny Andrews. “If we can hone in on the small things and correct those, we can get on a roll in district play.”
Calvin led the Arrows offense once again. He scored on runs of 3, 1 and 11 yards and caught a one-yard TD pass from Jordyn Battee. He finished with 19 carries for 147 yards against one of the top defenses in the state. Battee got Clinton started with a 15-yard scoring run in the first quarter. Running back Juan Taylor ran hard and had 71 yards on twelve carries.
The game was tied 21-21 at the half.
On defense, the Arrows were led by Quinton Whitehead, Jacquavyian Carter had seven stops, and Andrews had five tackles.
Junior kicker Hayden Wolfe was perfect on five extra points and punted well.
“I am proud of our kids,” said Boswell. “Up until that late penalty, Brandon was beat. We’ve got a week off, then we’ve got to be ready and line up for seven tough Region 2 games. We did a lot of good things tonight and played as hard as we could.”