Clarksville handles West Creek to advance to postseason

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Clarksville High football entered Friday’s road contest against West Creek in need of a win in order to punch its ticket to the postseason.

The Wildcats had no problem taking care of the Coyotes, picking up a 40-0 victory thanks in large part due to a stellar run game and dominant defense.

CHS now heads back to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Clarksville football coach Isaac Shelby knows his team’s job is still far from finished.

“We told the kids they did a really good job of fighting through some adversity,” said Shelby. “The bottom line is we’re back to 0-0 and we’re in a 32-team tournament to see who comes out on top.”

Coach proud of West Creek team

After the game, West Creek football coach James Figueroa echoed how proud he was of his senior class for the hard work they put in over the past four years.

“I love those guys,” Figueroa said. “Back in July, they came in not knowing what was going to happen this year. They did a great job of leading this team and fighting every day. I know they’re hurt and I wish we would’ve done more, but we came into this game a little empty-handed.”

Figueroa decided to go with sophomore Kayden Pace at quarterback over normal starter Ti-Anthony Wagner against the Wildcats, hoping to give the younger Pace some invaluable in-game reps under center.

“We have a lot of younger guys and he’ll be our quarterback next year,” Figueroa said. “We wanted him to gain some experience.”

CHS on the field

The offensive line of Clarksville was able to create some massive holes to run through, but struggled at times as well. In the opening quarter, two long Wildcat scores were wiped out on holding penalties by the big men up front. According to Shelby, a few miscues are to be expected from the younger linemen who are now playing in the place of current Eastern Michigan tackle Jason Easton and Furman University guard Blake Hundley.

“I thought it was good,” Shelby said of the offensive line’s overall play. “It was awfully muddy out there and I think they kind of got outside of the framework of their body a little bit. The sophomores have to learn that you’re going to get those called back and you have to bounce back. I think a couple months ago you have an 80-yarder come back and end up punting pretty quick, but they fought through tonight.”

QB Davin Garinger

Wildcat sophomore quarterback Davin Garinger was a beneficiary of the open lanes, breaking off multiple long gains on the ground and showing off his impressive athleticism at the position.

“It’s become really comfortable to me,” Garinger said of running the ball. “I ran the read option a lot last year and these past two weeks have been pretty wet, so we’ve leaned on our run game a little more which has been strong.”

As the regular season winds down and the postseason draws near, Garinger is pleased with the progress his team has showed over the course of his second year with the program.

“We did lose a lot of key players from last year’s team, however we’ve had a lot of guys step up and play well in their absence,” Garinger said. “We’re going to celebrate on this bus, but the second we get off, it’s Munford first round. We’ll check out the film on them, study up and play well against them.”

How the team looks

Clarksville running back Rayshawn Bowling had two first-quarter scores before going down on the final play of the first half. The talented junior was able to get back to his feet before hobbling to the sideline. After the game, Shelby wasn’t too concerned about Bowling’s availability moving forward.

“Yeah he’s fine,” Shelby answered. “We pulled him for precautionary reasons.”

Bowling finished the contest with two touchdowns while Garinger, Juland Lafortune, Chris Allen and Kyelar Edwards combined for the rest of the Wildcat scores.

Munford (9-3, 4-0) welcomes in Clarksville (4-5, 3-3) Friday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in a familiar Class 5A postseason first-round matchup.

“It’s week by week now,” Shelby said. “Munford is really good and we know that. We’ve played them three of the last four years and they’re tough as nails. They’re coached well, they’re disciplined, they’re going to hit you and we have to go down there and play well.”

What’s next

The Coyotes will now turn their attention to the offseason, as they make the move to a new home at 6A due to reclassification.

“It’s going to be tough no matter what region you play in,” Figueroa said. “We’ll have to wait and see. Until then it’s about just going out, competing and getting stronger in the weight room. I think this is a good group of sophomores that’s coming back and I’m very fortunate to have them for the next two years.”

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