CLEVELAND—Clarksdale ran over Cleveland 46-14, now stands 2-0 on the season and is looking to christen their new stadium with a win over South Panola this weekend.
“This was a good win for us,” said Clarksdale football coach Henry Johnson. “We did somethings wrong, but we scored in every quarter.”
The visiting Wildcats held a 24-14 lead at the half and then the defense clamped down and the running backs got the blocks on the corner. Cleveland would score no more and Clarksdale would put 22-more points on the scoreboard.
“I’m proud of you,” said Johnson as his team gathered at midfield after the game. “You showed discipline and effort. Some of you young guys got to play and our future looks bright.
“But we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to go back home and get ready for South Panola,” Johnson added. “You remember what they did to us last year. We can’t let that happen.”
South Panola beat Clarksdale 39-6 last year.
But this is a different Clarksdale football team and the ground game looks strong.
Clarksdale marched 81-yards on their first possession, using nine running plays and two passes. As the Wildcats would do all night long, running back Sammie Ray ran power up the middle and DiKyrus Bays hit the corners with speed. Ray scored the first of his two touchdowns to put the Wildcats on top with 6-minutes to go in the first quarter.
Clarksdale came back late in the first frame with quarterback Tamera Allen, hitting a streaking Joshua Hollins for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Hollins never broke stride as he caught the pass and headed to the goal line untouched.
The Wildcats missed the two extra points, but held a 12-7 lead over Cleveland at the end of one.
The ground game returned in the second quarter with the Wildcats eating up 75 yards on 10 plays. This time Bays led the charge. Ray ran left from the 14 to score.
On their next possession, Clarksdale got good field position on a 40-yard kickoff return by Bays that put the Wildcats in business at the Cleveland 44. Ray ran left and got the block for a 35-yard run and followed it up with a 9-yard run left for the score.
Clarksdale tried two unsuccessful 2-point conversions in the second quarter and held a 24-14 lead at the half.
The second half saw the Wildcats get a good return from Matthew Mixon and start at the Cleveland 45. Ray ranfour straight plays up the middle, covering 24-yards, and then Days swept left for the 21-yard score.
Clarksdale’s second touchdown of the third quarter was another nifty pass by Allen to Hollins who raced 20-yards untouched into the end zone.
Clarksdale called off the dogs in the fourth quarter and their last drive was a 40-yard push that saw 8th grader Monrekus McGregory and sophomore Ramon Hill tote the mail. Hill bumped his way to the left and covered 18-yards for the score.
Clarksdale faked the extra point with holder Martez Williams running in the two-point conversion.
Johnson said he feels the Wildcats are getting better and he urged the community to come out this weekend.
“It’s Clarksdale in a new stadium that we have talked about for some time,” said Johnson. “It’s South Panola and Clarksdale – two undefeated football teams – on Friday night in the Delta. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Clarksdale High School.