JIM TUMLISON FIELD – Nic Epley waited until Homecoming Night to have his coming out party as an integral part of the Yellowjacket offense. The lightning quick sophomore danced through and ran around the Ramblers defense for 191 yards from scrimmage (104 receiving, 87 rushing) while scoring two touchdowns to pace the Jacket offense on a cold, soggy night at Jim Tumlison Field. Clinton’s (7-1, 4-1) defense also held Rose Bud to just 40 yards on 41 plays to record the first shutout of the year.
Clinton’s offense had a little trouble early on. After forcing a three and out, Weston Amos found Ethen Drake all alone for a touchdown on Clinton’s first play. A holding call negated the score. Later, Amos found Austin Drake for a 42 yard pass that set the Jackets up first and goal.
Trouble would strike again as John Riley Hinchey fumbled as he was trying to score a touchdown, giving the ball back to Rose Bud. Facing fourth down and long at the 7, Rose Bud made the decision to go for it instead of punting. Logan Moudy tackled receiver Juan Cuevas at the three yard line to turn the ball over on downs. One play later, Amos put the Jackets on the board with a touchdown run.
Rose Bud’s next possession did not go as planned. After stalling on their own 32 yard line, Steven Cox shanked a punt for a 2 yard loss. Three plays later, Hinchey punched it in for a touchdown to extend the lead to 14.
The Jackets would pour it on in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns. The first was an electric 21 yard run on 3rd and 12 by Epley. Epley cut right and eluded three defenders before bursting into the endzone. On the Jackets’s next possession, Amos found Epley wide open for an 82 yard touchdown strike. Just before the half, Amos found Hinchey on a screen for a 44 yard pass to the Rose Bud 11 yard line. With 7 seconds remaining in the half, Amos raced around right tackle and dove for the pylon to find the end zone, giving the Jackets a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime.
Despite the lead, Head Coach Chris Dufrene was not pleased. “I yelled more at them up 35 than I have all year. We played slow and soft. Too many mistakes, and champions can’t play like that.”
Clinton’s offense continued to roll along with the running second half clock. On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Hinchey (57 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards, 2 TDs) ripped off a 54 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 41-0. Jacob Hutto’s 2 yard touchdown run at the 10:35 mark in the 4th quarter would cap off the night’s scoring, making the final 48-0.
The Jackets rolled up 530 yards on just 38 plays. Amos finished the night 6 of 8 passing for 240 yards and 1 touchdown, and added another 2 touchdowns rushing.
Defensively, Braiz Lynch led the way with 8 tackles. Kadance Sowell (7 tackles, 1 sack) and John Riley Hinchey (5 tackles, 2 sacks) lived in the Rose Bud backfield the entire night.
Clinton will travel north to Searcy County to take on Marshall next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 pm. The game will be carried live on KHPQ 92.1 with Jeff Hall and Mike Hawley calling the action.
Game Notes: Captains were Weston Amos, Ethen Drake, Austin Drake, and Codey Edwards…Senior Tania Armas was crowned 2019-2020 Homecoming Queen… Past homecoming queens were honored at halftime… Weston Amos broke his season high passing mark in the first quarter. He now has passed for 1266 yards. Amos also has set a career high in passing touchdowns in a season with 17. His previous season high was 1026 yards passing (2017) and 11 touchdown passes (2018)… Nic Epley’s 82 yard reception was his first varsity receiving touchdown… Epley’s performance earned him the First Arkansas Bank and Trust Player of the Game… Through 8 weeks, Clinton has outscored their opponents 233-64 in the first half… John Riley Hinchey’s two sacks set an individual game high.
Clinton 48, Rose Bud 0
Harding Academy 49, Marshall 0
Melbourne 28, Mountain View 0
Yellville 36, Cedar Ridge 0