By Kim West
COXEY — After facing four playoff-bound teams in five weeks, Clements returned to M.T. Newman Stadium on an unseasonably warm Friday night in search of a Class 3A, Region 8 win.
Playing in front of a lively crowd peppered with alumni, Clements’ bid for a homecoming victory came up short. Westminster Christian capitalized on three turnovers by an injury-depleted Colts squad for a 41-12 win that evened the all-time series at 2-2.
“We just couldn’t stop them at all on defense. We got a few injuries early on, and we kind of hung our heads because of that,” said Clements coach Dan Beavers. “We just need a win, some way or another.”
Westminster (3-3, 1-3 Region 8) overcame nine penalties for 89 yards with 522 yards of total offense, including 243 rushing yards produced by 11 backs.
The Wildcats scored on their first four possessions to lead 27-6 at halftime, including runs of 4 and 6 yards by Vincent Hill, a 2-yard quarterback keeper from James Bray and a Jacob Parker 4-yard scamper.
Despite two touchdowns from senior running back DeMarcus Johnson, Clements (1-5, 1-3) couldn’t overcome their giveaways, poor field position on both sides of the ball and inability to connect with open receivers on deep routes.
The Colts’ defense stiffened in the second half, forcing the Wildcats into their only two punts and several negative plays. But Westminster still tacked on two more scores.
Parker threw a 28-yard halfback pass to Ryan Kaigler on the Wildcats’ first drive in the third quarter, and Bray zipped a 5-yard pass to Parker midway through the third.
“We’ve done that for three weeks in a row, but we can’t just play defense in the second half,” Beavers said. “We’ve got to do it at the start of the game, and not just after halftime.”
Johnson, who gutted through the game on a gimpy leg, cut the lead to 20-6 with 3:05 remaining in the second period by fighting through a wall of tacklers for a 2-yard touchdown.
The Colts’ second score came in the third quarter on third-and-3 from the Westminster 45. Johnson, who finished with 14 carries for 129 yards, burst through a crease created by lead blocker Tim McKinney, left tackle Jared Malone and left guard Hunter Stubblefield and sprinted untouched to the end zone.
Chad Kilgore, Christian Wilson, Carson Cook, Jimmy Marsh and Earl Thompson each had tackles for a loss for Clements.
Wilson also blocked Westminster’s David Teitge point-after try in the first quarter. Teitge finished 5 of 6 on PATs.
Clements unsuccessfully attempted 2-point runs following both scores. Starting punter and place-kicker Tremayne Smith did not play due to a practice injury.
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Parker accounted for 227 yards on 18 touches. He threw a touchdown pass, caught a TD pass and added a rushing score. Bray went 11 of 12 for 279 yards passing, with one TD and no interceptions.
In Week 7 region action, Clements hosts county rival Elkmont (2-4, 2-2), while Westminster welcomes top-ranked juggernaut Madison Academy (6-0, 4-0).