By Danny C. Davis
The Clinton Arrows are moving on in the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs after a convincing 41-14 win over Desoto Central in the opening round of the playoffs on November 11 at Arrow Field.
With the win, the Arrows move to the Class 6A North Semifinals and get to stay home again on November 18. CHS will host Starkville again in a rematch of the Region 2-6A meeting back on September 29 at Arrow Field. Clinton won the first meeting, 35-28.
The winner of the Clinton-Starkville game will meet the winner of the Tupelo-Madison Central game on November 25 for the Class 6A North Championship.
Arrow head football coach Judd Boswell knows beating a team like Starkville two times in one season will not be easy.
“There are only eight Class 6A teams left playing, including us, and Starkville is the most dangerous team left,” said Boswell. “They have more talent in Class 6A than any other team and are hard to match up with. It will take 48 minutes of hard playing to beat them again.”
Clinton had no problem matching up with Desoto Central in the first meeting ever on November 11 at home.
The Arrows set the tone early when Kyler Hutton returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to score to give CHS a 6-0 lead fifteen seconds into the game.
The game turned out to be a record night for senior running back JaKobe Calvin, who carried twenty-six times for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
On Clinton’s first possession, Calvin’s one-yard run with 6:21 left in the first capped an eight-play 78-yard drive to make it 13-0. Two possessions later, Calvin had a twenty-yard TD burst to put the Arrows up 20-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Arrow kicker Hayden Wolfe’s pooch kick was fumbled by the Jaguars at the DCHS 28. Four plays later, senior QB Jordyn Battee threw a 25-yard TD pass to senior Juan Taylor. Battee passed thirty yards to Veshone Malone for a touchdown with two minutes left in the half to put the Arrows up 34-7 at the half.
Calvin scored again with six minutes left. The Arrows had 446 yards of offense, of which 385 were on the ground. Taylor had ten carries for 94 yards and caught a pass for 25 yards for a touchdown.
“I am proud of the way we came out and ran the football,” said Arrow offensive coordinator Tyler Peterson. “Our strength is the run, and that is what we were successful doing against Desoto Central tonight. Our offensive line dominated.”
Kenneth Andrews, Karmarious Gibson, and Malone led the defense.
“We knew Desoto Central was going to throw it a lot,” said defensive coordinator Hamer Morgan. “We were able to get a lot of pressure on their quarterback, and our kids made some critical plays on defense.”
“We know we will have to make some big plays on defense to beat Starkville again,” said senior linebacker Jacquavyian Carter. “We are excited to go to the next round.”
“I am proud of the way we set the tone early and played hard,” said Boswell. “We know playing Starkville again will be a tough challenge, but we are glad to have another 48 minutes to play again.”
“We came out ready to play tonight,” said Calvin. “We did not want to go home and end the season tonight. We scored a lot of points on Starkville when we played them in the regular season, and we know they will be ready when they come back to Clinton. We want to keep playing and will be ready.”
A week earlier, Clinton totally dominated Jackson Murrah 63-18 to secure a home playoff spot. The 63 points tied the second most points ever scored by an Arrow football team in 102 years of playing football.
Clinton led 42-12 at the half. Calvin had eleven carries for 109 yards and scored on runs of one, six and twenty-one yards. Taylor scored on runs of four and six yards. Battee threw two touchdowns to Hutton of six and twenty. Sophomore running back Jakobe Williams, making his first appearance, scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes.
The game was shortened with a running clock with no time outs after Clinton went ahead by 35 points in the third period. Clinton had 505 yards of offense, including 48 rushes for 479 yards.