Elmore County knew it was going to be a difficult trip to Lineville on Friday night but they took the field just the same, ready to compete against the No. 1 team in Class 5A. The Panthers found out quickly why Clay Central sits on top of those rankings as the Volunteers struck early and often on their way to a 55-6 region victory over Elmore County.
Clay Central (4-0, 2-0 5A Region 4) had a big night on offense, racking up 460 total yards led by a stout rushing attack. Elisha McNeil led the way on the ground as the Vols picked up 286 rushing yards and scored six rushing touchdowns.
The Volunteers held a 35-0 lead at halftime and only needed their starters for one more drive in the second half to build a big enough lead to bring in the reserves for the final 20 minutes of the game.
Elmore County (1-3, 0-2) struggled to muster up a counter punch on offense and picked up very little traction with the ball in its hands in the first half. The Panthers finished with just 118 yards of total offense and turned the ball over twice on their way to a third consecutive defeat.
Quarterback Payton Stephenson could not find the right touch through the air, completing just two of 11 passes before swapping places in the backfield with Sean Darnell for the second half.
Darnell scored the team’s lone touchdown on a five-yard run early in the fourth quarter. CJ Wilkes led the way on the ground, rushing for 37 yards on eight carries.