Clinton: Yellow Jackets return 'more experience'

Conference: 4-4A
Coach: Chris Dufrene
’13 Record: 4-7 (3-4)

Clinton Coach Chris Dufrene can sum up 2013 in two words — “Missed opportunities.”

Despite a young squad, an uneven regular season and these several “missed opportunities,” the Yellow Jackets found a way to fight themselves into the playoffs. Clinton managed three wins in conference — and one of those wins was sweeter on two levels.

“Beating rival Heber Springs in a close game was our defining moment,” Dufrene said. The win also kept Heber Springs out of the playoffs and helped Clinton get in.

The Yellow Jackets have been relatively young the past two seasons, but that youth has developed into experience that could be on a collision course with success this fall. Clinton returns seven starters on offense and nine on defense.

“We’ll have much more experience on both sides of the football,” Dufrene said.

Fielder Dufrene returns for his third year at quarterback. Last fall he threw for 121 completions for 1,711 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 432 yards and seven touchdowns. Seniors Harrison Lester and Nathan Teague return at running back. Seniors Nic Sheets and Blake Baker and junior Chase Cook provide experience on the offensive line.

Rex Fletcher returns at linebacker after an all-conference campaign last fall. He’ll be joined by Lester and junior Seth Hunt. Seniors Colton Martin and Alex Clark and junior Jesus Robles return on the defensive line. The secondary is full of seniors — Dufrene, Teague, Robert Ferrell and 501 Football Team honoree Hunter Blanton.

“I expect Hunter to have a great senior year,” Dufrene said. “He will be a big contributor on offense, defense and special teams.”