On Friday night at Jim Tumlison Field the Clinton Yellowjackets bounced back from a season opening loss to Melbourne to defeat the Huntsville Tigers 28-21. The Jackets got great offensive play early and great defensive play late to avenge last years shutout loss to the Tigers. Clinton scored on two of their first three possessions of the game but trailed 21-14 at the half. The Yellowjacket defense played great in the second half holding the Huntsville offense scoreless and giving the Jacket offense the opportunity they needed to score and take the lead late in the game The game was played before a great crowd in the 72nd home opener in Jim Tumlison Field history.
Clinton got the ball to start the game and immediately scored. The Yellowjackets drove 63-yards for the touchdown taking 3:21 off the clock. Zane Widner had a 23-yard run and capped off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run the point after was no good. Huntsville answered with a score of their own driving 68-yards for a touchdown from Tucker Bradley on a 2-yard run the extra point by Philip Toole was good giving the Tigers a 7-6 lead. The Jackets would drive 65-yards on their ensuing possession to score again in the 1st quarter. The big run was a Nick Epley 35-yard run Harley Tobin scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run. A pass from Tobin to Widner on the 2-point conversion gave Clinton the lead 14-7 three minutes left in the opening quarter. The Tigers answered right back on a 60-yard drive with Amos Mayes scoring on a 1-yard run and the point after by Poole tied the game at 14 with a single second left in the 1st quarter. Clinton took over at their own 29-yard line to start the 2nd quarter and would take 10-minutes off the clock driving to the Huntsville 1-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Huntsville then drove 99-yards in less than two minutes to take the lead at the half. The touchdown came on a Mayes to Kelton Reynold pass from 11-yards out and Toole’s extra point gave the Tigers a 21-14 half-time lead.
The Clinton defense came up big in the second half. On the first two possessions of the second half Huntsville drove deep into Yellowjacket territory. On the first possession Josh Witt recovered a Tigers fumble inside the Jackets 5-yard line and on Huntsville’s 2nd possession Nick Epley intercepted a Tigers pass in the endzone. Clinton now with field possession at their own 20 drove 80-yards to pull to within 1-point of the lead. Epley would score the touchdown on a 13-yard run but the point after was no good leaving Huntsville in the lead 21-20. The Clinton defense held the Tigers again and forced a point. Epley with a great 18-yard punt return set up the Yellowjackets at the Huntsville 42-yard line. The Clinton offensive line then took over dominating the line of scrimmage as the Jackets moved the ball down the field on the ground. Jacob Hutto would score the go-ahead touchdown for the Yellowjackets on a 16-yard run off tackle and would then carry in the 2-point conversion to give Clinton a 28-21 lead with 5 minutes left in the game. Huntsville moved the ball down the field after starting their drive at their own 36-yard line. The Tiger’s faced a 4th and one at the Clinton 8-yard line when the Yellowjackets defense held them just inches short of the first down giving the ball and the game to the Jackets.
Nathan Witt led five Clinton running backs with 105 yards. Epley had 100 total yards with 60 on the ground and 40 receiving. Cody Davis led the defense with 11.5 tackles and a sack. Clinton is now 1-1 on the season. The Yellowjackets are off this week before traveling to Dardanelle on Sept. 17.