COVINGTON,Ga - After a history-making regular season that saw the Clements Middle School football team go undefeated for the first time since 2003, the Wolverines were looking to keep their quest for a championship alive.
Coupled by a strong performance on the ground from running back Jehden Robinson, who finished with over 150 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a stout defensive effort, the Wolverines bested Conyers in their semi-final game 28-0 and will face Veterans in the New-Rock Championship Game.
Head Coach Kellen Moore was extremely proud of his squad’s performance despite the limited amount of practices they had before the game.
“We had a vacation and (Conyers) practiced for two weeks, where we only got like three days,” Moore said. “Practice wasn’t looking too well, but they showed up and played ball today.”
It was a slow start from both teams on the offensive side of the ball after the first quarter with the two teams remaining scoreless, but it didn’t take long for the Wolverines to find their mojo on the ground, sustaining a long drive that was capped off by a seven-yard run from Emmanuel Proctor to get them on the board.
The ensuing kickoff would be fumbled, which forced the Bulldogs to start at their own two. Two plays later, Clements added two points with a safety.
It would be one of many strong defensive plays from a group led by defensive coordinator, coach Jones, who had nothing but positive things to say about his unit that only allowed 12 points all season.
“We just try to make adjustments and try to make sure they’re prepared,” he said. “It was hard, but I pretty much went home all break to watch film on Conyers to make sure we contain their quarterback and stay in our lanes.”
Following the safety, Clements would add another score when the rushing attack found its footing with Robinson, breaking two tackles on a touchdown run for over 50 yards that gave Clements the 14-0 lead.
After a failed fourth-down attempt from the Bulldogs, Robinson found the endzone once again on another long run to establish a dominant first-half lead for the Wolverines.
Robinson attributed his big day to his focus during the practices leading up to the game.
“You just practice like you play,” Robinson said. “It feels great to be in the championship because we really didn’t have a great year last year, but we came out this year and changed some stuff around to get to it.”
Coming out of the half, Conyers held tough as long as they could defensively, but after an interception near the goal line by Proctor, who seemingly took it to the house before a penalty brought it back, quarterback Zack Harden Jr. ran it in to provide the games final tally.
After a heated encounter between some of the opposing players, and with Clements having a commanding lead, the game was called early, giving Clements the right to play in the championship game against the Generals.
Moore knows that the win is nice now, but that the emotions from this game can’t follow them into the next as they take on Veterans.
“Our model is one game at a time,” Moore said. “We have to lock in next week. It’s our last game, so we just have to practice hard, and it will translate.”
Robinson echoed his coach’s sentiment and knows that focus is the biggest factor heading into that winner-take-all contest.
“Veterans is a good team,” Robinson said. “They like to air the ball out, so if our defense stays focused, our safeties stay back, and everyone is hitting, then we should be alright.”