CLINTON, AR— The Fouke Panthers had hopes, but Clinton had certainty. Clinton didn’t flinch on the big stage, and throttled their playoff opponent by 35 to stay undefeated.
A team full of heart and determination shut up all the doubters when they pitched a second half shutout, and trotted to the second round of the playoffs and a chance to make history in Clinton by winning 55-20.
With 3:31 seconds left in the first quarter, Weston Amos threw the ball on a string to hit junior Keaton Gresham in stride to extend the Jackets’ lead to 21-0. The big crowd and playoff atmosphere didn’t phase the sophomore, as he ran all over the field Friday night. He reached the promise land twice in the game, while rushing 11 times for 85 yards. He then threw for 78 yards and a touchdown, while completing 5 of his 8 attempts.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Clinton though, as Fouke showed some life in the second quarter and fought back. A touchdown late in the first quarter and then two more in the second, cut the jackets lead to 7– 21-14, then to 9– 29-20, but that would be as close as they would get to the Jackets. Amos for Clinton scored as time expired in the first half, and they never looked back.
“It was awesome to shut them out in the second half, the first quarter we played great, then came out flat in the second quarter, things changed in the third though, as we came out of the locker room fired up and played great in the second half,” Junior Linebacker Mason Dowell stated. He tallied 2 tackles on the night.
The Jackets’ defense this week was led by 3 juniors. The first, Cort Bagley. He is becoming a common name out of the announcers’ booth, as he had another strong night for the Jackets as he ended up with 5 tackles, 2.5 were for a loss. Sky Davidson had 6 tackles and his second interception on the year. The third Junior was big Caleb Bowman, he leads the defense this year. He was all over the field Friday night and had 4 solo tackles, and 2 assisted for a total of 6 on the night.
Late in the game Davidson really had the play that described the mentality, season, and game for the Jackets, as he took the ball near the goal line and had an easy 2 point conversion 5 yards left or right of the panther defender he chose to go straight through him. The running back had the crowd “oohing and ahhing” as he went straight through the defender laying the “hammer” on him and then walked into the endzone. This reflects the Jackets’ mentality by showing that they are going to impose their will on you, and do what they want. Davidson ended the game with 55 rushing yards, and reached the end zone one time during the competition.
Other key offensive players for the jackets were: Charlie Sowell carried the ball 5 times for 67 yards, and Austin Drake led all receivers, he had 4 receptions for 46 yards.
Ethen Drake earned the First Arkansas Bank and Trust player of the game as he flipped the field after returning an interception 30 yards, and then crossed the 100 yard mark rushing as he scored twice and rushed for 101 yards on 7 carries.
Senior Nate Lonnon had a huge pass deflection to help seal the game in the second half when he laid the Fouke receiver out on a crossing pattern, when it seemed he was about to make a huge play.
In 1879 Clinton schools opened, and while football isn’t that old in Clinton, if Clinton wins this Friday night it will be the first team in school history to go 12-0. Harmony Grove travels to Clinton this week, and will try to be the first team in a year to hang Clinton an L in the loss column. They play at 7 p.m. this Friday night as FOX 16’s Fearless Friday will be at the game. The game will be live in the 9:30 p.m. showing.