Cougars rise up, blow out Trojans 46-7

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Jim Franz/Beloit Daily News Clinton's Jackson Nelson (6) finds an open lane and plenty of blockers against Turner Friday night.

BELOIT - At 1-6 in the Rock Valley Conference heading into last Friday night's football game, there haven't been a lot of highlights to Clinton's season.

So no one could blame the Cougars for taking some pleasure Friday night in trying to wreck rival Turner's playoff hopes.

With the 4-3 Trojans needing a victory to become WIAA playoff eligible, the Cougars and headstrong junior quarterback Jack Henschler stunned the rain-soaked hosts, 46-7.

"We've been having a rough season," said Henschler, who led an option-attack that rushed for 377 yards. "Tonight we just all really brought it. It was a team effort. Our offensive line blocked great and some of our younger guys stepped up. We just had a great all-around game."

Turner, meanwhile, had its ranks fortified by the return of several players who'd served a two-game penalty for an athletic code violation. They also were expected to be fired-up for their traditional rivals.

"I don't think I've every had a game in which I was more disappointed with our effort," Turner head coach Derek Diehl said.

Now the Trojans' postseason plans hinge on a finale on the road against a tough East Troy team this Friday.

Clinton marched 78 yards on its first possession and took a 6-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Jackson Nelson.

Turner roared right back and took the lead on a 25-yard run to paydirt by Kyle Hanaman. Emiliano Reyes booted the PAT to put the Trojans on top, 7-6.

That's when the script took a surprising turn. The Trojans simply couldn't handle Henschler and company and they couldn't get out of their own way on offense.

Clinton built a 24-7 lead by halftime, scoring three second-quarter touchdowns after drives of 84, 83 and 60 yards. Senior Riley Anastasi capped the first with a 5-yard TD run and Nelson ended the second with a 1-yard TD dive. Nelson scored his third TD of the game with 2:29 left in the half on a 35-yard TD pass from Henschler.

If Turner entertained any hopes of a comeback, Henschler detoured them by scoring immediately on a 45-yard run.

"I had a good game on my reads, but it takes the o-line and everyone else to make those things happen," he said.

In a drenching rain, the Cougars tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter scores, on a 14-yard run by Tyler Dominy and a recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone by Caleb Bauer, one of 18 sophomores on the Cougar roster.

The Cougars rolled up 377 yards rushing on 59 carries with Nelson running 25 times for 144 yards and Henschler adding 133 on 17.

With a winnable game against Evansville-Albany next week, Clinton can look for a springboard at the end of its season.

• NOTES: Turner ran 30 times for 172 yards, but lost two fumbles, had a pass picked off and was penalized seven times for 50 yards.

• BOXSCORE: Clinton 46, Beloit Turner 7.

Clinton.....6 18 8 14 - 46

Turner......7 0 0 0 - 7

SCORING SUMMARY:

C - Nelson, 4, run (run failed)

T - Hanaman, 25, run (Reyes kick)

C - Anastasi, 5, run (run failed)

C - Nelson, 1, run (run failed)

C - Nelson, 35, pass from Henschler (pass failed)

C - Henschler, 45, run (Harrington from Henschler)

C - Dominy, 14, run (Hesebeck run)

C - Bauer, 20, blocked punt return (run failed)

TEAM STATS: First downs - Cl 23, BT 10. Rushing - Cl 59-377, BT 30-172. Passing - Cl 75, BT 35. Passes - Cl 3-5-1. BT 5-11-1. Fumbles - Cl 2-0, BT 3-2. Punts - Cl 1-22.0, BT 4-26.0. Penalties - Cl 5-35, BT 7-50.

INDIDVIDUAL STATS: Rushing - Cl, Nelson 25-144, Henschler 17-133. BT, Hanaman 7-61, Majeed 10-40, Crall 2-35, Reyes 5-19. Passing - Cl, Henschler 3-5-1, 75. BT, Draeving 5-11-1, 35. Receiving - C, Nelson 1-35. BT, Reyes 2-13, Majeed 2-6.

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