In the annual matchup for the Hendry County Championship, the Tigers opened their regular season with an impressive win over a young and developing LaBelle squad. There was an hour delay of the kickoff due to lightening and then a running clock once Clewiston was prevailing by more than 35 points in the second half.
Clewiston served notice on the first play from scrimmage that it was going to be a long night for the Cowboy defense. Tiger tailback Menta Jones took a handoff from quarterback Davis Witt and rambled 58 yards for a touchdown, dragging a couple of Cowboys along the way. Kicker Colt Flynn tacked on the point after, as he did on all the Clewiston scores on the night.
The Tiger defense held the Cowboys on downs and Tyrin Summers returned the LaBelle punt 35 yards to their 20-yard line. From there, it only took three plays and Witt sneaked the final yard for the score. After only four offensive snaps, the Tigers were sporting a 14-0 lead.
The next Tiger drive began at their own 7-yard line with 2:40 remaining in the opening period. Fullback Zachary Seale reeled off 27 yards on a trap play, Jones added runs of 20 and 10 and Summers chipped in with an 18-yard scamper. Witt had a big 29-yard pass completion to a leaping Reginald Henderson along the sidelines and then found Summers uncovered in the end zone for the 12-yard touchdown pass with 10:28 left in the half. The drive covered 93 yards in 10 plays.
The ensuing Tiger kickoff was pulled in by speedy Tray Williams who slipped to the east sideline and raced 91 yards for the score. The Cowboys’ point after attempt failed after a problem with the snap. The play was the only offense generated by LaBelle during the night.
The Tigers came roaring right back with a 45-yard drive on four snaps, with Seale banging in from the 5. Summers had solid runs of 11 and 20 yards and Benjamin pulled in another Witt pass for 19. Clewiston got the ball right back near midfield when Jones picked off a LaBelle pass. That four-play drive ended as the half expired with fullback Isaiah Jackson punching it in on a 11-yard smash up the middle. Jones set up the score with a 27-yard run from his tailback spot. The teams went to intermission with Clewiston up 35-6.
In the third period, the Tigers put together another 93-yard drive, this one featuring 12 hikes. Tailback Markevious Terry carried the heavy load on the drive with 58 yards on six carries, including the final five yards for the last touchdown of the game. Keshawn Jackson also chipped in with four rushes for a total of 26 yards. Laterrance Webb had two runs for a total of 12 yards as the Tigers got all of their backup running backs into action. The drive ate up over six minutes from the game clock and with 2:24 left in the third pushed the Tigers to a 42-6 lead, dictating the running clock.
The Tiger defense was equally, if not more, impressive as the offense. They held the Cowboys to only 55 yards rushing on 34 tries and 18 yards passing on three completions. Linebackers Zachary Seale and Teandre Johnson each had six solo tackles.
Tiger head coach Pete Walker was pleased with the win.
“Our practices were shortened by the weather the past few days but our kids came out and really played well,” he said. Adding, “We also got some great game experience for all of our players tonight and that’s important as we prepare for our tough schedule.”
Clewiston 14 21 7 0 42
LaBelle 0 6 0 0 6
1Q Clewiston: Menta Jones 58 run, kick Colt Flynn
Clewiston: Davis Witt 1 run, kick Colt Flynn
2Q Clewiston: Tyrin Summers 12 pass from Davis Witt, kick Colt Flynn
LaBelle: Tray Williams 91 kickoff return, run failed
Clewiston: Zachary Seale 5 run, kick Colt Flynn
Clewiston: Isaiah Jackson 11 run, kick Colt Flynn
3Q Clewiston Markevious Terry 11 run, kick Colt Flynn
Rushing: Menta Jones 5/123; Markevious Terry 7/65; Tyrin Summers 3/49; Keshawn Davis 6/34; Zachary Seale 2/32; Laterrance Webb 2/12; Isaiah Jackson 1/11; Maurice Murphy 1/5; Davis Witt 1/1.
Passing: Davis Witt 9/5/0 85
Receiving: Reginald Henderson 3/59; Tyrin Summers 2/26