CLINTON — It was Miller time.
Behind the play of quarterback Caleb Miller and a stingy defense, Clinton rolled past Starkville 35-7 to claim the Region 2-6A championship at Arrow Field on Friday night.
Clinton (9-2) will host Horn Lake next week in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
“Offense ran the game plan almost to perfection,” said Clinton coach Judd Boswell. “They did a good job of attacking them and when we got the ball they didn’t give it back.”
The Arrows got the ball to start the game and marched down the field and scored on a 1-yard run from Miller to go up 7-0 with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
Following an interception, Miller connected with Michael Hughes on a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend the Clinton lead to 13-0 with 10:47 left in the second quarter.
Miller added a 5-yard run with 42 seconds left before halftime to go up 21-0.
Starkville’s only touchdown came with 1:16 left in the third quarter on a Jordan Mitchell 78-yard touchdown run to cut the Clinton lead to 21-7.
Miller added another 1-yard run to extend the Clinton lead to 28-7 with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Miller finished with 109 yards rushing with three touchdowns and 179 yards passing with a touchdown to lead Clinton.
“We’ve been rallying around each other on both sides of the ball and we’ve been playing so well as a team,” Miller said. “We executed our game plan absolutely perfect.”
The Clinton defense held Starkville quarterback Luke Altmyer to just 124 yards passing and four interceptions. Jamarea Briscoe had a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown to extend the Clinton to 35-7 with 5:21 left in the game.
“I thought we had a really good plan on defense and our kids played it to perfection,” Boswell said. “I’m super pumped for our kids. They grew up a lot and showed a lot of guts and heart tonight against a very talented Starkville team.”
Starkville, who came into the season as the favorite to win 6A, will miss the playoffs and finishes the season 7-3.
“It was rough not playing a game in 21 days and it showed,” said Starkville coach Chris Jones. “At the end of day we didn’t play well.”
— Brandon Shields