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Clinton falls to Montague in state final

By
JEFF STEERS

The Clinton High School varsity football team finally found an offensive and defensive lines that could match up with the red team.

Montague held Clinton’s large offensive and defensive lines at bay during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 6 football final at Ford Field.

A polished quarterback also helped Montague win the state football final against Clinton.

The Wildcats – ranked No. 1 all season by Associated Press writers – completed an undefeated season with a 40-14 win over Clinton.

Clinton finishes the season with a 10-2 record, defeating four of the top 10 teams in Division 6 – Erie-Mason, Constantine, Blissfield, and Warren Michigan Collegiate – along the way.  

Clinton took a 14-13 lead late in the second quarter of the state football final, but was outscored 27-0 in the final 28 minutes of action.

“When you look at their team (Montague), look at what they have up front, look at the athletes they have in space, then you put a quarterback on that team, and you put a very experienced team out there, as well,” CHS Coach Jeremy Fielder said. “That’s a lot to deal with.

“They are a great football team, and I give them a lot of credit.” 

Montague quarterback Drew Collins, the Associated Press Division 5/6 player of the year, did not disappoint in the state final game.

He threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-19 passing. Collins also rushed for 51 yards and two scores. 

Collins hit Sam Smith with a 9-yard touchdown pass for Montague on the Wildcats’ first drive of the game.

Clinton responded with its own first-quarter touchdown in only five plays. Brayden Randolph had a long run to set up the red team at the 9-yard line. George Ames scored a play later for Clinton to tie the contest following the extra point by Jonathan Baughey.

It only took Montague two-and-a-half minutes to score again. Collins hit Smith with a 44-yard touchdown pass for a 13-7 lead.

But Clinton went on one of its patented long drives – 19 plays and nearly 11 minutes of game time to take the lead.

Braydyn Lehman scored on a 2-yard run at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter giving Clinton a 14-13 lead.

But the high-powered offense from Montague took just over one minute to take the lead before halftime. Dylan Everett scored on a 2-yard run at the 3:14 mark following a long completion by Collins.

Montague took a 19-14 lead into halftime.

When Clinton was stopped on its first drive of the second half, Montague extended the lead. Smith caught a 26-yard pass from Collins for a 26-14 lead. Following an interception, Montague scored again at the 3:16 mark on a 9-yard run by Collins.

The Wildcats scored again just over a minute into the fourth quarter on a 23-yard run by Collins.

Collins finished with five touchdowns and nearly 300 yards of offense on the day. A solid offensive line kept the senior safe for most of the day with only one sack for Clinton.

Clinton was led by Randolph with 194 rushing yards, Lehman ran for 54 yards, and Nik Shadley rushed for 40 yards. The red team rushed for 358 yards on the day.

Defensively, linebackers Lehman and Randolph led Clinton with nine and eight tackles respectively. Jack Voll recorded one sack and Shadley finished with six tackles including one for a loss.

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