Kemper County puts on offensive showcase

Published 11:58 pm Friday, November 13, 2015

SCOOBA — Kemper County High School junior quarterback Eric Clark Jr. accounted for three touchdowns and threw for nearly 300 yards as the Wildcats defeated the Franklin County Bulldogs 26-7 Friday night in the second round of the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs.

The game was played on the campus of East Mississippi Community College, nearly 12 miles east northeast of DeKalb, which is where Kemper County High School is located.

Clark Jr. completed 17 of 22 passes for 287 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Otis Cross Jr. just 95 seconds into the ball game, with one interception. Clark Jr. also scored on a two-yard run nearly midway through the opening quarter.

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“We played a really good team. I’m proud of the kids. They played hard for four quarters,” Franklin County head coach Anthony Hart said. “We made some mistakes that we couldn’t overcome.”

Clark Jr. then completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Clayton six seconds into the second quarter that gave the Wildcats an 18-0 lead. And that would end up being the score at halftime. Clayton ended up with nine receptions for 121 yards.

Elijawhan Cole scored on an 11-yard run and Clark Jr. threw to Cross Jr. for the two-point conversion and a 26-0 Kemper County lead with 8:22 to go in the third quarter. Cole finished with 119 yards rushing on 14 carries.

As a team, Kemper County (11-2) had 530 yards of total offense – 243 yards on the ground to go with Clark Jr.’s passing yards.

“They’re very balanced. In all phases of the game, they did well,” Hart said. “They’re a very athletic deep football team.”

The Wildcats’ defense limited the Bulldogs to just 198 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. Cortney Smith was the lone bright spot with 108 yards on 20 carries. His 10-yard touchdown run late in the game prevented the shutout from taking place.

“Cortney ran hard. The offensive line did a good job,” Hart said. De’Martre Collins completed 10 of 14 passes, but for only 61 yards with one interception.

Even though Franklin County’s season came to an end Friday night, Hart said he was proud of the season the 8-5 Bulldogs had and the progress they made during the season.