High School Football

Henry Clay forces six turnovers, beats Central

Henry Clay didn't win a football game until the first week of October last season.

The Blue Devils got the job done in August this year.

Looking strong from the get-go, Henry Clay beat two-time defending Class 3A state champion Central 34-21 in the iHigh Football Frenzy Saturday afternoon at Tates Creek.

Jerry Williams made an impressive debut as the Devils' quarterback.

"He looked pretty good, didn't he?" Coach Sam Simpson said.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 90 yards, including a 71-yard TD dash.

"It was my first varsity start, but I felt the team was with me so I just went out and did my job," Williams said.

"The O-line blocked great, we executed, and everything came out well."

Bo Brooks ran for 61 yards and a score. Branden Johnson was the leading receiver with six catches for 91 yards.

Henry Clay's defense gave a solid account of itself by forcing six turnovers and keeping Central's skill people from making game-breaking plays.

Matt Cox returned a fumble for a TD and had two of the Devils' four interceptions.

"Awesome," Cox said of his big day. "This is a great way for us to start the season. All of our work in practice paid off."

Aaron Akidil, Wes Johnson and Ryan McCray helped put the "oomph" in the Henry Clay defense.

The Devils couldn't have asked for a better start to their season. They took the opening kickoff and put together a flawless six-play, 76-yard drive capped by Brooks' 31-yard run.

On Central's first play from scrimmage, the Jackets fumbled. Cox scooped up the ball and raced 56 yards for a TD to make it 13-0 less than three minutes into the game.

"That really showed us we weren't mentally ready," Central Coach Ty Scroggins said. "I knew when we got off the bus our minds weren't right.

"You can't play 6A football and come out sluggish."

Quarterback Chris King passed for 229 yards, but he was picked off four times. Star receiver Stephan Robinson had six catches for 131 yards, but he was kept out of the end zone.

Tim Patterson, the Jackets' blue-chip linebacker who has offers from Kentucky and Louisville, led Central with seven tackles.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they're playing in the 3A final again," Simpson said of Central. "They're a good football team."

As for his Devils winning their first game in August instead of waiting until October, Simpson said, "I want to win games in November, too. But it was nice to win this one."

Henry Clay 34, Central 21

Central 0 7 7 7—21

Henry Clay 13 8 13 0—34

HC—Bo Brooks 31 run (A.J. Yewell kick). HC—Matt Cox 56 fumble return (Yewell kick). C—Anthony Wales 8 run (Rizik Lado kick). HC—Shannon Coofer 10 pass from Jerry Williams (Williams run). HC—Carwell Gardner 21 pass from Williams. (Yewell kick). C—Wales 3 run (Lado kick). HC—Williams 71 run (kick failed). C—Wales 48 run (Lado kick).

Records—Central 0-2, Henry Clay 1-0.