Photos by Rick Guy
Story by Robert Wilson
Junior running back Omar Howell ran for 212 yards on 30 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown and defending Class 6A state champion Oxford stopped Clinton in the final seconds to hold onto a 31-27 victory in the 6A semifinals Friday night at Clinton.
Oxford, 12-0 and winners of 24 straight games, meets Oak Grove, 12-0 and a 43-24 winner over Northwest Rankin in other semifinal, Friday for the 6A state championship at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson. This is Oxford’s fifth time in the championship game in the last eight years. This is a rematch of last year’s championship game when Oxford defeated Oak Grove 31-21. Clinton finished 10-3, broke a seven-game winning streak, and was denied a chance to get back to the state championship game for the first time since winning it in 2016.
Oxford’s win overshadowed an outstanding performance by Clinton senior quarterback Caleb Miller, who ran for 136 yards and one TD and passed for 247 yards and three TDs. Miller drove the Arrows in the final minutes down the Oxford 25, but on fourth-and-10, Miller pass was broken up in the end zone with 25 seconds to play. Clinton’s Carsson Deyoung caught seven passes for 162 yards.
Oxford’s defense scored two touchdowns, one each on an interception return and fumble return.
After Miller completed a 8-yard TD pass on fourth and 6 to give Clinton a 27-24 lead with 7: 58 to play in the third quarter, Oxford drove down the field and Howell scored on a 3-yard run for a 31-27 Oxford lead with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.