Three Clarksdale High School turnovers translated to 20 points for Cleveland Central High School when the two teams met at Crumpton Field Friday night.
The Wildcats (3-1) fell into a 26-8 deficit and their comeback came up just short as the Wolves held on to win 26-20.
A high snap from center Kendall Mullins caused the first fumble giving the Wolves possession at their own 48. That led to a 15-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining in the opening quarter to give Cleveland a 12-0 lead.
A Quintarius Lester fumble gave Cleveland possession at its own 40 and the lead was extended to 20-8 at halftime.
Freshman quarterback Kelley Jones threw an interception when senior Queston Skipper was out for a few plays leading to Cleveland’s next touchdown to extend the lead to 26-8.
“I didn’t think we gave up,” said Clarksdale coach Henry Johnson. “We just missed some opportunities tonight. That’s the only thing I hate. We missed too many opportunities.”
Johnson said the coaches preach not turning the ball over all day.
Skipper ran for a 13-yard touchdown and completed the 2-point conversion to Leroy Boulton to cut Cleveland’s lead to 20-8.
Skipper threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hollins and Solomon Kemp ran for a 5-yard score.
“Lester stepped up,” Johnson said. “I mean Solomon Kemp scored a touchdown – a 10th grader. Solomon is about the sixth running back on the depth chart.”
Skipper was 1 of 10 for 12 yards passing and one touchdown, but ran for 184 yards and one touchdown.
“We realize that it caught up with us that we can’t throw the football,” Johnson said.
Skipper is naturally a running back, but has been playing quarterback with Tamera Allen injured.
Johnson said the plan is to work Jones into the system.
Jones’ interception did prove costly Friday night.
“The guy baited him,” Johnson said. “He threw it late. He can’t hold it.
“We hope he learns from it. That’s all I can say, but whenever you’ve got to play a freshman at quarterback, you’ve got problems.”
Skipper’s status is questionable for this week when the Wildcats travel to South Panola at 7 p.m. Friday.
Several other athletes were out with injuries last week including receiver and defensive back Chris Williams and wingback D.K. Bays.
Before last week, Johnson said he would have a better idea of what type of team the Wildcats are after going against Cleveland.
“We realize that it caught up with us that we can’t throw the football,” he said.