James Clemens overcomes turnovers, distractions to roll past Huntsville
MADISON — With his James Clemens Jets coming off their historic win over Bob Jones, Head Coach Wade Waldrop was admittedly concerned about how the team would perform against Huntsville High.
And, to add to the mix, this was Homecoming Week which brings its own brand of distractions.
“I was worried about a letdown,” he said.
But, his worries were short-lived as the Jets scored on their first four possessions en route to a 62-19 win over the Panthers.
Senior quarterback Jamil Muhammad accounted for five touchdowns (three in the air and two rushing) as James Clemens evened its record at 2-2 overall but an important 2-0 in Class 7A Region 4. Huntsville falls to 1-3 and 1-1.
“Jamil did really well,” Waldrop said. “He showed he can throw the ball … he had a couple nice throws.”
Muhammad combined with Austin McGhee on a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass late in the second quarter which put the Jets up 34-13. The two combined on a 44-yard scoring play and Muhammad hit Trevor Hunziker for a 32-yard touchdown strike.
Along with the touchdown catches, McGhee had a two-yard touchdown run which staked James Clemens to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Jets took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 13 plays, capped by a 7-yard by Muhammad. Dylan Blackburn was the workhorse on the drive as he carried the ball eight times for 67 yards.
Huntsville was forced to punt after a three-and-out series, leading to another Jets’ scoring drive. They moved 56 yards in 7 plays with Collin Malone scoring from eight yards out. Jesse Rowe’s point-after made the score 14-0.
The Jets defense rose up again with Lee Coleman and Daevion Davis picking up a sack on Huntsville’s next series. A high snap on fourth down gave James Clemens a first down on the Huntsville 10. In two plays, both carries by Blackburn, the Jets had a 20-0 lead with 2:38 left in the first quarter – and the rout was on.
Clemens ran the score to 27-0, when the Panthers’ Willie McCauley misplayed the ensuing kickoff and the Jets’ Xavier McKnight recovered at the two-yard-line. McGhee scored on the first play.
James Clemens, though, committed 15 penalties for more than 120 yards and fumbled the ball four times. Waldrop alluded that the distractions of the week may have led to the penalties and turnovers.
“Those were our biggest negatives of the night,” Waldrop said. “The inattention to detail led to the turnovers.
“It will be addressed.”
The Panthers tried to get back in the game when Stoney Patton scored on a 9 yard run and, later in the second quarter, quarterback Jackson Glover hit Hayden Neighbors on a 16-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 27-13.
But on the third play of the next drive, Muhammad and McGhee combined on the 50-yard TD pass to dash any hopes of a Huntsville comeback.
As time ran out in the first half, Drew Purdin scored on a 17-yard pass from Glover for a 41-19 score.
The final score of the game came with 7:50 left when Connor Cantrell hit Nathan Lane on a 23-yard touchdown pass and Rowe’s point-after made the score 62-19.
On Friday, James Clemens visits Florence in a key region game and Huntsville takes on Sparkman.