By Danny C. Davis
The Clinton Arrows finally got a much-needed win at Arrow Field on September 29, with a big 28-21 victory over the ranked Terry Bulldogs.
Clinton, now 1-5, will have an open date on October 6 and then begin Region 2-7A play at defending Class 6A state champion Starkville on October 13 before returning to Arrow Field on October 13 to host Tupelo.
“I am so happy for a team that has played so hard every week and faced so much adversity for the last six weeks to play so hard to get a much-needed win,” said Judd Boswell, Arrow twelfth-year head coach and athletic director. “We are not the biggest or the most talented team, but these kids just give you one hundred percent out there every game.”
Never before in the 102-year history of Clinton Arrow football had the team started off 0-5. But never before have the Arrows lost all three quarterbacks and had up to nine injuries to starters in the first six games.
All of the five losses were to teams ranked in high school polls, and three of the remaining four games are against Starkville, #1-ranked in some polls; Tupelo, which has been as high as #2 in the polls; and Madison Central, who was in the top ten for over a month.
Boswell badly needed a few players to step up big to beat Terry, who was ranked and 4-1. And that is exactly what happened on offense and defense.
After the Bulldogs scored on a 64-yard pass-scoring play to take a 6-0 lead after a failed extra point, CHS really dug in.
Senior running back Brady Torrence showed his speed on an end around 50-yard TD run. It was the first of his career. Hayden Wolfe kicked the first of four extra points, and Clinton had a 7-6 lead with 4:45 left in the first.
Then, with three seconds left in the first quarter, senior Veshone Malone, a wide receiver defensive back, playing QB for the first time since junior high, threw his first career TD pass to Aiden Knox for twenty-four yards. It was Knox’s first career score, also. Clinton led it 14-6. It was Clinton’s largest lead of the season.
Terry came right back and tied it 14-14 in the second quarter with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
The second half is where junior running back Jakobe Williams took the offense on his back and scored on runs of one yard with 51 seconds left in the third period and on a fifteen-yard run with 8:28 remaining, to put CHS up 28-14.
Williams had a career high 31 carries for 151 yards.
Terry made it closer after a trick reverse on a punt return for sixty yards to the Arrow three-yard line. Four plays later, Terry punched it in to make it 28-21 with 3:35 left.
After a failed on-side kick by the Bulldogs, the Arrow offense ran time off the clock and then punted, and the Arrow defense stopped Terry once more to preserve the win.
Clinton had 56 plays for 317 yards, of which 263 were on the ground. Terry had 174 yards rushing and 58 plays for 249 yards.
“I am so proud of the way our defense played tonight, especially in the second half,” said defensive coordinator Hammer Morgan. “We had to piece things together at linebacker, with so many people out with injuries, and then we lost [linebacker] Jaiden Jefferson early in the game. We had some guys that had not played a lot step up and play well on defense for us, like Michael Johnson, Donovan Shaifer and LaMarcus Turner. Lucian Price and James Farr also played well for us on defense.”
A week earlier, CHS fell to South Panola, 26-11. The game was closer than the score indicated. The Arrows had two fumbles deep in South Panola territory. Without those turnovers, it could have been a 26-25 game.
For the Arrows, Hayden Wolfe kicked a twenty-four-yard field goal. Jaydann Hollins ran five yards to score, and Brady Torrence scored on a two-point conversion.