CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Henry County could have had the perfect excuse.
The Patriots were on the road, facing a Clarksville High team riding the wave of a perfect season to date and the school’s Homecoming ceremonies to add to the emotion. The Wildcats also were coming off an emotional win against rival Rossview.
But the ninth-ranked Patriots set those issues aside and drove home a point as the team to beat in Region 7-5A with a 28-0 thumping of Clarksville High Friday night at Hilda J. Richardson Field.
“It shows just how mature our players are to come into an environment like this and beat a great team like Clarksville and to shut them out,” Patriots coach James Counce Jr. said. “We stuck with our game plan in poor weather, on the road, against a quality opponent and got it done. I’m so proud of our team.”
The game wasn’t pretty.
Clarksville High (5-1, 2-1) had two fumbles lost while Henry County had one. Five penalties were called that resulted in 15-yard mark-offs. But the Patriots dominated the line of scrimmage and rolled up chunk yardage on the Wildcats’ defense.
Henry County (5-1, 3-0) finished with 265 yards of offense in sloppy, rainy conditions. Only 15 yards came from the air, but the Patriots didn’t need to throw the ball much, chewing up much of its yards up the middle of Clarksville’s defense. Caleb McCutcheon ran 18 times for 114 yards while Lukas Reynolds had 88 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“We just didn’t have a good game,” Clarksville coach Isaac Shelby said. “The effort was there, but this game shows that although we’re a good team, we’re not on Henry County’s level yet. I think we can get there if we work on a few things, but right now we’re not quite where Henry County is.”
Clarksville’s inability to score kept the Patriots’ September scoreless streak alive. Henry County will finish off the month without surrendering a point. The Wildcats finished with 199 yards of offense and only 98 yards on the ground.
The Wildcats could muster only 12 yards on two possessions in the third quarter as Henry County’s ball control kept CHS’ offense on the sideline for much of the period.
“We’ll go back and look at the film and see what needs to be improved,” Shelby said. “Obviously we have to be more consistent, but we made some big plays (Friday). We just didn’t have enough.”
J.J. Jones had a 3- yard run and threw passes of 40 and 43 yards to various receivers, but when the Wildcats’ offense needed to sustain that momentum, it was unable to. It fumbled the ball away after that 40-yard completion in the first half and failed to pick up a fourth-down play after the 43-yard completion in the fourth quarter.
The loss sets the Wildcats back in the region standings as Henry County is tied atop the region at 3-0 with Centennial, which beat West Creek Friday.
Clarksville sits just behind those two teams.
“There’s still a lot of football left but you have to give credit where it’s due because Henry County is a great team,” Shelby said.
George Robinson. Prep writer. grobinson@theleafchronicle. Twitter: @Cville_Sports
Not Their Night: The Wildcats couldn’t muster any consistent offense while the middle of its defense was exposed Friday night. Although Rossview was able to exploit it, Henry County did so but also played well on its defensive end, holding CHS under 200 total yards for the game.
The Patriot Way: Henry County isn’t going to wow you with big pass-happy plays. The Patriots have always run the ball, and run it well. New coach James Counce Jr. is just like Senior. It’s ground and pound for four quarters. Friday, the Patriots needed only a little more than 260 yards of offense to get the job done.
What Now: Clarksville HIgh has little time to stew over this loss. It has to get right back on its horse because a trip to Centennial awaits next Friday night. Centennial destroyed West Creek Friday, 43-0.