CLINTON — The Arrow rushing attack just could not be stopped.
Behind the play of quarterback Jordyn Battee and the strong running of Jakobe Calvin, Clinton held off a late Starkville rally to win 35-28 in a key Region 2-6A contest at Arrow Field on Friday night.
“We knew we were going to get an unbelievable fight from those guys,” Clinton coach Judd Boswell said. “I’m so proud of our kids. Defensively, they did a really good containing a lot of athletes. Offense did exactly what they needed to do and kept responding.”
The Arrows (3-2, 2-0 in Region 2-6A) never trailed.
Calvin scored on a 1-yard run with 3:49 left in the first quarter to give Clinton a 7-0 lead.
After Starkville turned the ball over on downs at the Arrow 49-yard line, Battee scampered 51 yards to the end zone to extend the Clinton lead to 14-0 with 7:56 left in the second quatyer.
The Yellowjackets got on the board with nine seconds left in the first half, as Trey Petty hit Jaque Jenkins on a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 14-7.
Battee extended the Clinton lead to 21-7 on a 13-yard run with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
Starkville cut the lead down to 21-14 with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter on a Jaylon York 1-yard run.
After the Yellowjackets got a stop, backup quarterback Jaylen Ruffin hit Braylon Burnside on a 17-yard touchdown pass, but the extra point was blocked and Clinton held a 21-20 lead with 6:17.
The Arrows answered — Battee hit Juan Taylor on a 17-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-20 with 4:33 remaining.
After Starkville turned the ball over on downs at their own 40, Calvin scored on a 40-yard run on the very next play to extend the lead to 35-20 with 2:38 left.
Calvin finished with 195 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns to lead Clinton.
“Running backs are stout and they love contact, and they played their tails off,” Boswell said. “To be 2-0 in this region you’ve done something, but it doesn’t get any easier.”
Battee had 76 yards rushing and 66 yards passing for the Arrows with three total touchdowns.
“They played man-to-man so they weren’t looking in the backfield, so I just took off every chance I had,” Battee said. “Coach always preach adversity and we had to pull through to win. We feel like no can stop our running game, so we ain’t going to shy away from it.”
Ruffin came in after Petty was injured in the third quarter and passed for 129 yards with two touchdowns for Starkville (4-2, 0-2).
His second touchdown went to Burnside from 60 yards out to cut the lead to 35-28. After recovering the onside kick, the Yellowjackets got down to the Clinton 26-yard line. But the Clinton defense held, as Ruffin’s fourth-down pass sailed out of the back o the end zone and the Jackets turned it over on downs to ice the win for the Arrows.
“We just kept getting in our own way with mistakes and penalties,” said Starkville coach Chris Jones. “We got to get better.”