OAKLEAF - Oakleaf High senior quarterback Walter Simmons III and Clay High senior quarterback Tre Griner met at the 50 yard line in a show of two guys who have been throwing haymakers all season and, …
OAKLEAF - Oakleaf High senior quarterback Walter Simmons III and Clay High senior quarterback Tre Griner met at the 50 yard line in a show of two guys who have been throwing haymakers all season and, for four years, as captains of their teams prior to the final showdown of Clay County football traditions.
Simmons, though, took little time (55 seconds) in showing off his immense skills with a lightning strike on just his second snap; a 70 yard bomb to wide out Terrance Anthony. Anthony, who was without his opposite field teammate Cobie Bates for injury, was the main show for Simmons with 210 receiving yards and three scores on the night.
After a questionable fair catch attempt on a pooched kickoff attempt by Oakleaf kicker and soccer ace Drew Ammons that caused a 10 minute discussion on who would get the ball caught in midair by an Oakleaf gunner.
With Clay getting the ball after the discussion, Oakleaf’s defense found out the Clay junior running back Al’Querious Ray was the real deal as the rumbling train pounded for 30 yards around left end as the game looked to be a highlight film bonanza. The Clay drive stalled though at the Oakleaf 18. Ray was held (pun) to just 159 yards rushing.
Clay’s swarming defense corraled Simmons on his first attempt of a quarterback scramble and Blue Devil defensive tackle Valdez Seymour unraveled from the scrum with the ball to give Clay a second shot inside the Knight 50.
Clay coach Kyle Kennard pounded the interior of the Oakleaf defense, his former domain, with Ray and eventually Griner hit wide out D’Maurion Frazier with a scoring strike to tie the game 7-7.
Kick returner Mike Mitchell turned the volume up a bit with a return of the ensuing kickoff to the Knights 40 yard line. Clay’s defense, behind tough pounding at the line of scrimmage from Josh Edwards and Izaiah Butler screeched the brakes on Simmons and friends.
Oakleaf running back Adrian Gray, who finished with 120 yards, converted a fourth and two to set up another Simmons to Anthony strike; this one from 21 yards out to put Oakleaf up 14-7.
Oakleaf lost some ground on a Chrystian Sellers sack with a late hit call to put Clay at the Oakleaf 48 before Ray used the momentum on a 22 yard scamper to set up Griner breaking through the center of Oakleaf’s defense untouched for a 14 yard scoring run. On the ensuing kickoff Isaiah Jones got un-shoed on his return by a hard hit from Clay’s Jonathan Rouw, but the stop, though, momentum shifting, proved a blip as Anthony again caught a dagger from Simmons; for 39 yards to the Clay 13. From there, Gray took three shots before hitting paydirt to put Oakleaf up 20-14 with Clay’s Jayden Bryan stuffing Ammons PAT kick attempt.
Again, Anthony’s fast hands and fast feet put Gray within shouts of the end zone before scoring to give Oakleaf a 27-14 lead with six minutes to halftime.
Unable to unleash Ray on tackle dives for his customary breakaways, Oakleaf dished out healthy doses of running backs Gray, Mitchell and Devin Outlaw to the final score; 41-14 with Anthony’s final end zone visit a wide out screen that got away from the Clay defense.