Photo By Chris Todd

By Robert Wilson

Clinton High football coach Judd Boswell had a strong message for his team at halftime: either get on the bus or come out and play in the second half.

No one got on the bus.

Clinton rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit for a 38-31 victory over defending MHSAA Class 6A state champion Madison Central in a key 6A, Region 2 game in Madison.

Clinton improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in region play. The Arrows hadn’t won in this series since 2016 when high school All-American Cam Akers – now with the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL – defeated the Jaguars twice on their way to the state championship.

Madison Central dropped to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in region play and broke a 16-game home winning streak.

Clinton scored more than 32 points for the fifth consecutive game.

Senior running back Jakobe Calvin – a member of the PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – had 176 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns. Calvin scored on runs of 17 5 and 1 yards. He had 195 yards and two TDs in Clinton’s 35-28 region win over Starkville a week ago. Calvin has 544 yards and 10 TDs and caught 10 passes for 103 yards and one TD going into Friday’s game.

“They had two choices at half,” Boswell said. “One, get on the bus and leave before anyone knew they were gone. Two, come out and play the game with physical passion and grit in the second half. I’m glad they picked number two.”

After Boswell’s halftime message, Clinton’s offense went to work. Calvin scored his second TD on the first drive of the second half to close the Madison Central gap to 17-16. Then Madison Central fumbled on the first play of the next drive and Clinton drove for the go-ahead score on senior quarterback Jordan Battee’s 19-yard run for a 23-17 Clinton lead. After Madison Central senior tight end and Navy commitment Jake Norris scored on a 2-yard run from the wildcat formation for a 24-23 Jaguar lead, Clinton jumped back in front when senior quarterback Jordan Battee completed a 45-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Veshone Malone and Calvin scored his third TD for a 38-24 Clinton lead with 5 minutes, 35 seconds to play.

“The kids responded to adversity very well last night after a sleepy first half,” Boswell said. “The offensive line played well most of the night with Jakobe Calvin and (senior running back) Juan Taylor (11 carries for 66 yards) leading the way on the ground. Jordyn had a very good second half making his reads on the ground and through the air. I’m so proud of how they responded to being down at half and coming out grabbing the momentum and never letting it go.”

“Jakobe is a cowboy. He wears boots to school and ride horses. Jakobe is country strong,” Brandon offensive coordinator Tyler Peterson said. “He gets better as the games along. In the fourth quarter, everybody knew Jakobe was getting the ball and they still couldn’t stop him. He makes me proud that he’s on our side.”

Norris scored three TDs on his only three carries of the game.  Madison Central’s pair of Elite 11 stars – senior quarterback and Louisiana Tech commitment Vic Sutton and senior wide receiver and Southern Miss commitment Isaiah Spencer – combined for the other TD. Sutton completed 8 of 15 passes for 134 yards and Spencer caught nine passes for 111 yards.