Clarksdale head football coach Henry Johnson earned his 200th career win as the Wildcats won a district matchup at Gentry 20-7 Friday night.
Johnson won two championships during his years at West Bolivar High School and took over the Clarksdale program in 2013. The Wildcats have made the playoffs every year since Johnson took over and won the district in 2020.
The Wildcats (5-2, 2-0) are currently undefeated in district play this season. The win against Gentry likely secured a playoff spot for Clarksdale.
Before the game against the Rams, Johnson knew a victory would give him his 200th win.
“I knew I was at 199,” Johnson said.
He had 195 career wins after the 2020 season.
“I’ve been keeping up with it,” Johnson said. “I knew this year I could possibly get 200 wins this season. I knew last year I finished with 195 wins. So I knew this year I could possibly break the 200 mark. After every season, I always tally my record.”
Johnson had a lot of help along the way to earn his 200 wins.
“I was very proud of that,” Johnson said. “It’s just a proud accomplishment. It goes back to more than me. It goes back to all the coaches that I’ve coached, the players that I’ve coached, all the administrators that I’ve worked for, so all those people played an important role of that 200th win.”
He was glad to reach this milestone during a season when the Wildcats are playing well.
“It’s that much more gratifying with us having a good season and having a chance to win the district and having a chance to go to the playoff and then get the 200th win, too, so it’s very gratifying,” Johnson said.
After the win, Johnson’s wife, Shanstella, surprised him with a shirt marking his 200th win and the team surprised him with a cake.
“It was actually my wife who surprised me with the shirt,” Johnson said. “My coaches told the players. I didn’t tell the players. My coaches told the players. That’s how they knew and they just surprised me at the game. They gave me a cake and my wife did the t-shirt and they put the water cooler on me. It was just a big surprise.”
Johnson estimated his wife was present for 195 of the wins.
“We both keep up with that stuff together after every season,” he said. “We knew we were going to be close to reaching that milestone.”
In the game against Gentry, quarterback Kelley Jones ran for two touchdowns from about five yards out each. Solomon Kemp ran for a 15-yard touchdown. Trent Chess ran for a 2-point conversion and picked up a fumble late in the third quarter and ran it back to the Gentry 1-yard line. That setup one of Jones’ touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Kemp had the other score in the fourth quarter.
“I think we showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit,” Johnson said. “We were down 7-6 in the fourth quarter so we had to show a lot of resilience and a lot of heart to come back and win that ballgame. Gentry has got a good team.”
Clarksdale hosts Yazoo City at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“We’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get better. We’re so one-dimensional on offense. We just run the ball. We’ve got to be able to throw the football.”
Jones has been starting at quarterback in place of an injured Martez Williams. It is a possibility Williams will be back for the playoffs.
Tickets for Clarksdale’s game against Yazoo City can only be purchased at the link https://gofan.co/app/events/407820?schoolId=MS13223 right up to game time. Tickets cannot be purchased at the gate.