For the second straight week, Clarksville High was able fix a major issue while picking up another win in the process.
After starting the season 0-2, in which the Wildcats had numerous chances to win both games, coach Ken Busbee’s team put away Northwest rather easily two weeks ago to pick up its first win of the season.
Last week was a tougher test but Clarksville High passed, this time having to rally from a first-quarter deficit and then hold off an athletic Springfield team for a 23-21 victory.
“We haven’t hit our stride yet,” Busbee said. “But we’re getting there. We still have a lot of room to grow and we’re trying to grow quickly.”
That growth will continue as the Wildcats (2-2, 2-0) travel to face West Creek at 7 p.m. tonight at Coyotes Stadium.
A win for Clarksville will be its third straight and keep it on pace for a ninth straight playoff appearance and essentially tied atop the District 10 standings. Dickson and Henry County are still undefeated in league play along with Northeast who is off today before facing the Wildcats in a huge district showdown next Friday.
Today’s game represents a chance for Clarksville to pad its record before going through the gauntlet in the next three weeks. After next week’s Northeast game, CHS will have its bye week then travel to Paris to take on Henry County (Oct. 5) then play host to Dickson County the following week (Oct. 12).
“There are certain games we have to win,” Busbee said. “We’d love to win them all but there’s certain ones you have to get. This game (tonight) is one of those must-wins. If we’re serious about playing the second season — which is what we call the playoffs — then we have to put ourselves in position to do that.”
West Creek (0-3, 0-1) is just trying to survive.
The Coyotes were hammered by Northeast last week, 51-7, and first-year coach Jon Offutt feels his team matches up better with the Wildcats than it did with the Eagles.
“At times it felt like men were playing with boys,” Offutt said of last week’s loss. “Northeast was just that much bigger and faster than we were. And I’m scared, in a year, Clarksville High will be the same way.”
Offutt used his Wildcat offense for the entire first half against Northeast but with little results. He put running back Anthony Ledet under center while Ledet and Terry Lee carried the bulk of the offense in the first half. Northeast held West Creek to just 70 yards in the first two quarters.
Offutt said he made the QB switch in the second half, to regular starter Devin Anderson, because Ledet suffered an arm injury. Anderson was able to find some success in the passing game, hitting Anthony Smith for a long touchdown pass for the Coyotes’ lone score that night, but the Eagles had already built an insurmountable lead.
Offutt doesn’t plan on deviating from last week’s plan, tonight. He said he’ll continue to start Ledet at quarterback.
“We tried to go speed versus speed against Northeast,” Offutt said. “Then we went with Devin at quarterback in the second half and it gave us something extra, but we lost something. Clarksville High will stretch the field on you so we have to be ready for that, defensively, but as far as our offense, I don’t see why we need to change things up now.”
The Wildcats’ offense has been balanced the past two weeks as quarterback Jeff Webb continues to impress. While Busbee continues to develop his wide receivers, the bulk of the passing game is coming from the two guys relied upon in the ground attack — Lawrenz Guerra and Dallin Bridges. Bridges leads the team in reception yards and ran for 270 yards against Springfield last week — his second 200-yard rushing game of the season.
“The kids did a great job of handling the pressure last week,” Busbee said about his team’s win against the Yellow Jackets.
Springfield jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but Clarksville fought back and got a big 35-yard field goal from Mason Gasaway in the third quarter that gave CHS a 23-14 lead. The Yellow Jackets would score late but had a final, potential game-winning drive stopped by the Wildcats’ defense.
“I think we gained some confidence last week that will carry over,” Busbee said.