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Gld Hurricanes Sports

Wren downs J.L. Mann in battle of unbeatens

Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 by Sidney McClain

 

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      Wren High School linebacker Jacob Davis is tackled by J.L. Mann High School offensive lineman DeAndre Griggs after intercepting a pass in the second quarter of their game at Wren Friday night.

      Photo by Nathan Gray

      Wren High School linebacker Jacob Davis is tackled by J.L. Mann High School offensive lineman DeAndre Griggs after intercepting a pass in the second quarter of their game at Wren Friday night.

      —There’s a reason Wren sophomore Jacob Clary doesn’t remember the last time the Golden Hurricanes were 4-0 to start the season.

      He was less than a year old in 1995.

      Following a dominant third quarter that led to a 34-17 win over J.L. Mann, Clary and the rest of his teammates don’t have to look back in the record books anymore.

      “It feels great to be 4-0,” Clary said. “We feel like we’re doing the things we need to do to be a good football team. It gives us the kind of confidence we needing going into a big game with Greenwood next week.”

      Senior quarterback Caleb McClain not only stayed hot throwing the ball, but he showed he could get the tough yards with his legs while the ‘Canes’ defense had a good enough read on the Patriots’ schemes to turn the tide of a matchup of unbeatens that was 14-10 at halftime.

      On Mann’s first possession of the second half ‘Canes linebacker Mario Tackett made a stop of running back Will Hopkins (19 carries, 147 yards) on fourth-and-1 at the Wren 46.

      McClain, who finished 14-for-30 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, missed Ty Jefferson on two deep balls on the ensuing possession, but made up for it by finding holes in the Patriots front seven. It led to a Levi Bufford touchdown.

      “When you run a one-back set like we do you better have a quarterback who can get those tough yards. Caleb’s a strong kid and he proved it out there and showed his team something,” Wren coach Jeff Tate said.

      “Coach Tate gave a lot more carries than I was used to,” said McClain, who rushed 19 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. “I just did my best to run out there and keep moving the chains.”

      McClain led scoring drives of 73, 73, 54 and 72 yards.

      Josh Rowland’s interception of Ryne Strickland and seven-yard return for a touchdown with 3:18 left in the third had the most devastating effect on the Patriots. With Mann pinned inside its own 10, the Clary came on a blitz from his safety position and forced a quick Strickland throw Rowland jumped on and put the ‘Canes up 27-10.

      “Watching film all week, we saw they have a particular tendency when they had one back in the backfield with the QB,” Clary said. “We sent an outside linebacker and me, a safety from the strong side. I got there and Josh made a great play.”

      Mann booted a 27-yard field goal on its first possession of the game and then traded touchdowns with Wren in the first quarter. McClain threw a four-yard pass to Bufford for a score and then Strickland found a diving Samson Baldwin in the corner of the end zone on fourth-and-6 on the next series to put the Patriots up 10-7.

      After a 44-yard Jordan Caldwell reception McClain barreled into the end zone with 11:25 left in the first half.

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