CLINTON: 13 Yellow Jackets return with playoff experience

The Yellow Jackets had missed the playoffs for a couple of years before their return in 2009, when they finished 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the 2-4A. They were the fifth seed to the Class 4A playoffs when they lost to Warren in the first round, 38-13.

“Just getting back into the playoffs was a big deal,” Dufrene said. “It had been two or three years, and to get to the postseason was the main thing. The kids are wanting to get back there.”

Six starters return to run the Wing T offense, and seven are back on the 4-3 defense.

The Yellow Jackets will look to a junior, Park Parish (5-10, 165), at quarterback. He has some experience after taking about half the snaps as a sophomore, but he didn’t start. Junior Dylan Toney (5-9, 165) returns at fullback, as do senior Jake Hink (5-9, 155) at running back; senior Hunter Treece (5-11, 150) at wingback; senior Jordan Richardson (5-10, 185) at right guard; senior Austin Bittle (6-3, 275) at right tackle; and senior Garrett Smith (6-3, 240) at left tackle.

New offensive starters will be senior Tyler Jackson (6-0, 250) at center; sophomore Dalton Jackson (5-11, 220) at left guard; junior Forrest Ivey (6-4, 215) at tight end and senior William Grissom (5-11, 140) at split end.

Defensively, Smith and sophomore Malcolm Cambro (6-3, 300) will man the tackles. The ends will be Ivey and Richardson. Senior Grant Hickman (5-10, 185) is set for middle linebacker, with Toney on the strong side and senior Austin Helus (5-9, 145) on the weak side.

Seniors Hink and Levi Baugh (5-9, 135) will man the corners, with Treece and junior Corey Lambeth (5-8, 130) at the safeties.
Helus, Jordan, Treece, Smith, Toney, Hink and Baugh are returning defensive starters.
Clinton’s strength is team speed, but overall size is a weakness. The Yellow Jackets have good size at some positions, but several will be under-sized.
Dufrene thinks Stuttgart, Newport, Heber Springs and Lonoke will contend for the conference title, but he figures Newport, which comes into the league after realignment from the 3-4A, will probably be the favorite.

“I probably know the least about them, but from what I hear, they’re really fast with a really good running back,” he said of the Greyhounds.

Newport and Cave City come into the league this year to replace DeWitt and Bald Knob.

5 Players to Watch:

Jake Hink (Sr. RB/CB)
Park Parish (Jr. QB)
Garrett Smith (Sr. OT/DT)
Hunter Treece (Sr. WB/S)
Dylan Toney (Jr. FB/LB)


Sept. 3    Marshall
Sept. 10    at Perryville
Sept. 17    Pottsville
Sept. 24    Marianna*
Oct. 1    at Southside Batesville*
Oct. 8    at Cave City*
Oct. 15    Stuttgart*
Oct. 22    at Newport*
Oct. 29    Heber Springs*
Nov. 5    at Lonoke*
* 2-4A conference game