James Clemens falls short at Gadsden City, 42-35
By Nick Sellers | Staff Writer
GADSDEN – After facing its second-biggest deficit of the season, a 27-7 disadvantage to Gadsden City (7-1, 5-0) early in the second half, the James Clemens Jets (5-2, 3-2) scored 14 unanswered points to pull within a touchdown against the Titans going into the fourth quarter.
After trading scores from that point on, the Jets’ onside kick attempt with 32 seconds left failed and Gadsden City stayed perfect in Class 7A, Region 4.
“We were not mentally prepared to play and that starts with me, and that goes down to our coaches and our players,” Jets coach Wade Waldrop said. “From the very beginning of this game I didn’t feel like we were mentally prepared to play this game the way we needed to.”
After an interception by Heath Burchfield ended the Jets’ first drive, wide receiver Jaylon Williams scored from 18 yards out for Gadsden City’s first points. Darnell Mooney returned a punt 60 yards for Gadsden City’s next score.
Burchfield threw a long bomb to Immanuel Wilder just before the first half to get James Clemens on the board. The halftime score stood at 20-7, with Gadsden City containing running back Maceo Booker and receiver Miles Whitlow in the first two quarters.
“Numbers 21 [Booker] and 15 [Whitlow] – they’re gonna get those guys the ball,” Gadsden City head coach Matt Scott said.
The Titans’ game plan clearly centered on swarming Booker in the backfield and disrupting him early on carries.
It was Burchfield’s arm where James Clemens scored on offense. Miles Whitlow eventually found his way to two touchdown catches and 182 yards, while Immanuel Wilder finished with two touchdown catches and freshman Devon Atkinson scored on a screen pass.
It wasn’t enough in the end, as Gadsden City relied on dual-threat quarterback Ahmad DeRamus to distribute the ball to playmakers Gabriel Ford, who scored Gadsden City’s last touchdown on a 63-yard scamper, and wideouts Jalen Swain and Jaylon Williams.
James Clemens has homecoming Oct. 17 against Sparkman (1-6, 1-4) for its second-to-last region game.