Opposing viewpoint: Clinton

Staff Writer

Everyone in Clinton was preparing for life after Cam Akers this year.

As the former Arrows star quarterback is now starting at Florida State as a freshman, his team is sitting at 5-5 and 3-3 in Class 6A, Region 2 with one game remaining.

Clinton will miss out on the playoffs this season, but head coach Judd Boswell said it’s really no different than what the Starkville Yellowjackets went through a season ago.

“Starkville won the state championship two years ago and then didn’t make the playoffs last season," Boswell said. "That’s been how it has been for us. The future is really bright here. Everyone wants the best for everyone else and pulls their own weight.”

Boswell felt losing one of the nation’s top players in Akers was a blow but losing running back Darius Maberry, wide receiver and defensive back Kam White and many other from last year’s Class 6A State championship team has been tough to fill.

“Our kids have done really well adjusting to this year,” Boswell said. “We knew it would be a tough year getting some new faces that haven’t played, but our kids have been resilient. Our skill guys that haven’t played before are playing in a tough league and it’s been tough.”

The Arrows have taken their lumps this season without complaining. They put together a tough non-conference schedule that had losses to South Panola and Brandon early in the year and they’ve also dropped conference games against Madison Central, Northwest Rankin and Warren Central heading into Friday’s showdown with the Jackets.

This year Boswell has relied on the strengths of his offense and that starts on the line of scrimmage. Behind that line is Madison-Ridgeland Academy transfer Hunter Hulsey, who is emerging as one of the state’s top quarterbacks.

Hulsey has thrown for 2,407 yards this season with 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His top target has been fellow junior Desmyn Baker who has hauled in a team-high 45 catches for 738 yards and four touchdowns.

“Our whole offensive line has been really good for us this year," Boswell said. "They’ve come in week in and week out and have pretty much handled whoever we’ve seen. The quarterback is still learning the pace of the game and having him back will be a tremendous asset for us.”

Despite the tremendous losses from last year’s state title team, SHS coach Chris Jones and the Jackets will not be letting their guard down. The district title is up for grabs for Starkville and a chance at redemption from last year’s loss at Clinton that put them out of the playoffs.

With young players making big plays this season for the Arrows, Jones knows they’re fully capable of springing the upset.

“They still have a good team," Jones said. "They’re kind of young and still trying to find their way after losing one of the best players in the nation with Cam. They’re rebuilding. They’re going to compete hard so I’m expecting them to give us a great game on Friday night.”