Corner football begins Jon Clements era

Yellow Jackets open 2018 season against Northside

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 8/24/18

CORNER — Jon Clements has been waiting for this moment since February.

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Corner football begins Jon Clements era

Yellow Jackets open 2018 season against Northside

Posted

CORNER — Jon Clements has been waiting for this moment since February.

The new Corner head football coach will finally lead his team on the field tonight in the season opener at home against Northside.

Corner is coming off back-to-back first-round playoff exits. Clements takes over the program looking to get the Yellow Jackets over the hump.

“I feel like the kids are ready to play,” Clements said. “You can say you are ready, but you don’t ever know in that first game. There are people in the stands, it’s 7 o’clock at night and you are hitting someone different on the field. There are a lot of new things going on. It’s going to be fun.”

Clements comes to Corner from Clay-Chalkville where he spent the last two years as an assistant.

His Yellow Jackets open the season with a stiff test against Northside, which set a school record with nine wins last season.

“They bring a different animal to the game. They are really tough to prepare for. They can spread it out and throw it around or have four backs in the backfield. This is grown man football,” Clements said. “I think our kids are very eager to get out there and see where we stand. This will be a great test for us because (Northside) is going to be good.

“Eventually, if you are going to make it two, three or four rounds deep in the playoffs you are going to play somebody really good. You better strap it on. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited.”

The Yellow Jackets look to vie for one of the four playoff spots in a revamped Class 5A, Region 7 that includes Jasper, Dora, Russellville, Hamilton, Hayden, West Point and Lawrence County. Only two region teams had winning records last year — Dora, which is moving up one classification, and West Point.

Corner has 17 seniors on the roster, along with 17 juniors. Clements is counting on several veterans.

“Garrett Purvis (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) is our running back. He needs to have a good year for us. Gage Bandy (6-4, 195) is a receiver and someone we are going to really rely on offensively. Braylun Smith (5-8, 235) is our center. To me, he’s the biggest piece of the puzzle. He has to do so much, make so many calls. We put a lot of pressure on him. He’s the only junior on the offensive line but he is by far our leader.

“Defensively, we’ve got Gage Lisby (5-10, 195), who we are counting on (at linebacker). Blaize Pickle (5-10, 180) is the lone returner in the secondary. Everybody else is kind of new or didn’t get as much playing time last year.”

Junior Andrew Baker and freshman Colin Daniel are battling for the starting quarterback position.

“I can see the possibility of both guys getting snaps on Friday night or I could see one guy taking all of the snaps. We’ve got two quality guys that can go back there and run the team. Competition makes everybody better,” Clements said.

He added that a winning attitude was already in place at Corner when he arrived.

“There were already a lot of good things here. These kids are hard-nosed. They did a bunch of good things already. I haven’t had to do a lot. They’ve done well. There has just been something missing. I don’t know what it is,” Clements said.

The first-year head coach is looking forward to putting his team on the field. Clements was hired in late January.

“I’m excited for the school and the community because we have put in a lot of time since February. I just want to put a product out there that they are proud of. If the kids play hard and do the right thing, I think everything will work out fine,” he added.

Clements is just the 11th head coach in Corner football history, which dates back to 1946.