BERRYVILLE - The Clinton Yellowjackets (2-0) scored four touchdowns in the decisive second quarter to overcome a slow start and spoil the home opener for the Berryville Bobcats. The sophomore twin tandem of Austin and Ethen Drake each scored their first career touchdowns in the quarter, and both came up big on defense throughout the evening.
Clinton took the opening kickoff, and their first drive looked promising when sophomore quarterback Weston Amos found Bryce Brawner wide open over the middle of the field for a 30 yard completion. However, a Bobcat defender ripped the ball out of Brawner’s hands as he was going down to record the fumble and stop the threat. The Yellowjacket defense held strong, forcing the Bobcats to turn the ball over on downs when linebacker Caleb Bowman stuffed Christian Lemus for no gain on fourth and two.
The next Yellowjacket drive started promising as well, but the offense couldn’t finish the drive as a holding penalty and a 12 yard loss on a running play put the Jackets behind the chains. The end result was a good punt by Amos that flipped the field. Berryville answered with a three and out to give Clinton the ball with just under a minute left in the first quarter.
Then the floodgates opened as the Jacket offense got in gear. Sky Davidson ripped off an 18 yard run, and Bowman followed that with a 10 yard pickup. Amos scampered for another 10 yards before Davidson finished off the drive with a 10 yard touchdown run. The two point conversion was good to give Clinton an 8-0 lead. But the Jackets weren’t done. Amos’s onside kick was recovered by Nate Lonnon to give Clinton the ball in great field position. Seven plays later, Ethen Drake took a handoff and scampered into the endzone from 14 yards out. The conversion was no good, but Clinton had taken control of the game at 14-0.
Berryville’s offense was stuck in reverse as the Jacket defense forced losses on first and second down. Facing a fourth down, the Bobcat deep snapper snapped the ball over the head of punter Tristan Updegraff, who retreated almost to the goalline. Updegraff was forced out of bounds to give the ball back to Clinton, but a late hit penalty backed the Jackets up to the 25 yard line. Four plays later, Amos found Austin Drake free in the endzone for an 11 yard touchdown strike. Amos’s extra point was good to make the score 21-0 in favor of Clinton.
Just before the end of the half, Charlie Sowell found the endzone on a 15 yard run for his first touchdown of the year. That play capped off a 5 play 48 yard drive that included pass completions to Nate Lonnon and Austin Drake to set up Sowell’s run. Austin Drake’s extra point was good to give the Jackets a 28-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Neither team was able to move the ball much in the second half. The lone score of the second half came at the 9:11 mark in the fourth quarter courtesy of Sowell’s second touchdown run of the night, this time from two yards out.
Even though the Jacket offense struggled somewhat in the second half, the defense held fast, recording three interceptions by Charlie Sowell, Ethen Drake, and Austin Drake. Caleb Bowman led the charge with 13 tackles on the night. Sowell added 7 stops, while Davidson had 5.
Offensively, Weston Amos complete 9 of 13 passes for 129 yards and 1 touchdown. Amos added 4 yards on the ground. Austin Drake made 4 receptions for 61 yards to go with his touchdown. John Riley Hinchey led the Jacket rushing attack with 46 yards on 7 carries. Sky Davidson added 38 yards on 6 carries, and Charlie Sowell picked up 35 yards on 5 carries to go with his 2 touchdowns.
The Jackets’ home opener at Jim Tumlinson Field will be Friday night against Central Arkansas Christian (0-2). The Mustangs defeated Clinton 42-36 last year at Mustang Mountain in North Little Rock, and the Jackets are looking for revenge. Kickoff is set for 7 pm. The game will also be carried by KHPQ 92.1 with Jeff Hall and Mike Hawley calling the action.
Game Notes: Captains for the game were seniors Nate Lonnon, Dylan Hayford, Clint Bagley, and Charlie Sowell… Charlie Sowell’s second half interception was his third of the season… Weston Amos started the game on fire, completing his first 7 passes before an incompletion to Jonathan Hagerman. Amos finished 8 of 9 for 127 yards in the first half… The Drake twins (Austin and Ethen) each recorded their first varsity interceptions and touchdowns in the game… The Jackets defense recorded its first clean sheet of the season, after recording three shutouts last year (vs Berryville 34-0, Greenland 45-0, and Yellville-Summit 38-0).