Yellowjackets set to open season Friday in Melbourne | Vanburen
The Clinton High School football team will begin their 2021 season on Friday night as they travel to Melbourne to face Bearkatz. The Yellowjackets are coming out of a 2-9 season in 2020 in one of the most unusual seasons in Arkansas high school football history due to the COVID-19 pandemic at one point it didn’t was not even sure there would be a season. Last season, the teams had a very short period of training and preparation for the season, with state teams not being allowed to use school facilities until June 1. Once the season started, there was always the issue of contact tracing and quarantine with players missing games in In fact, the Jackets played without 18 players in a week two game in Huntsville. Despite all the uncertainty and adversity, a young Clinton team has improved every week by winning two of their last three games and making the playoffs for a school record for the fifth straight season.
The technical staff return intact for the 2021 season. Longtime head coach Chris Dufrene returns for his twentieth season. Dufrene is the most successful coach in the history of the school with 128 victories. Assistant coaches Joe Hudson, Jessie Wilson and Jordan Benson return to give the Yellowjackets and the program the continuity and stability of the coaching staff.
Clinton is hoping to have a rebounding season in 2021 and it starts with a number of talented players returning to attack. Clinton sacked 14 starters last season with seven in both attack and defense. Junior All-Conference Harley Tobin returns for his second year as a starting quarterback. Tobin completed 105 passes last season for 1,531 yards and eight touchdowns while running for five more. The Yellowjackets backfield returns pretty much intact with Cody Davis, Nick Epley, Jacob Hutto, Nathan Witt, as well as sophomore Zane Widner who played the college quarterback. Epley totaled over 1,100 yards last season rushing and receiving. Witt returns after missing the last nine games of the season last year due to injury. Junior Brody Emberton moves from winger to wide receiver and joins fellow receivers Spencer Bannister and Austin Lynch. Emberton had two big touchdown receptions last year, one against Bald Knob and the other against Heber Springs. Up front, the Jackets bring back four seasoned offensive linemen with Ashton Hoyle, Alex Lowder Carlos Nava and Josh Witt. Witt was also All-Conference while playing a defensive tackle where he made 51 tackles this season. The Yellowjackets are bringing back several experienced high school players including main tackle Epley (68 tackles) in safety as well as Bannister, Emberton, Lynch and Witt with Widner expected to provide safety assistance.
Clinton is looking to avenge last season’s 50-21 loss to Melbourne on Friday night. It was the Bearkatz’s first victory over the Yellowjackets in the five games the two teams played in the series that began in 2016. The Katz are led by new head coach Casey Moreland, who was assistant l last year in Warren and just released. an 8-3 season and a second-round playoff appearance in 2020.
Notes on the yellow vest:
All games as they are since 1979 will be broadcast live on the KHPQ 92.1 radio station and for the second consecutive season the games will be broadcast live on the Yellowjacket sports network which can be found on the KHPQ Facebook page. as well as KHPQ sports on YouTube. .
A membership drive is currently underway for the Clinton Yellowjacket Booster Club. All the money raised by the Booster Club goes directly to Yellowjacket athletics and spiritual squads. The Booster Club’s support with the school allows the Clinton track and field program to be very competitive in all sports. The Booster Club tent will be set up during football matches or you can contact Angela Bradford or Philip Jones to become a member or become a brand sponsor. Also inquire about the Gold Card which can allow you to participate in all Clinton Athletic events.
2021 will mark the 81st season of Yellowjacket Football which began in 1939 and has been played continuously since then, with the exception of the years 1943 and 1944 of WWII.