Clewiston Tigers exorcise Red Devils

CLEWISTON — The Clewiston High School Tigers varsity football team opened their season with a big, dominating, no-doubt-about-it win over the Avon Park Red Devils on Aug. 23.

The Tigers shut out Avon Park 43-0 in Clewiston in front of a packed home crowd.

It was head coach Pete Walker’s first game back on the sideline for the Tigers after taking a two-year break from coaching, and he says the win was an exciting way to start the new season.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Clewiston Tigers head coach Pete Walker communicates with CHS sophomore Jabrian Davis, wearing number 50, during the Tigers game against Avon Park on Aug. 23.

“I love Clewiston,” explained Walker. “It’s why I keep coming back here. I love the kids, the community and the support here. They love their football. It was exciting to get back on the field with them for the game tonight. And I thought our kids played well which made it even nicer.”

The Tigers defense made the first big play of the game in the first few minutes of the first quarter when they forced and recovered an Avon Park fumble. The Clewiston offense then turned that into points on a 35-yard touchdown run by Jaivus Chavers a few plays later. Chavers would also add another touchdown on Clewiston’s next offensive possession, this time on a 15-yard run.

The Tigers special teams were on point in the season opener as well. Clewiston was able to pin Avon Park back on their side of the field thanks to some perfectly placed kicks and smothering kickoff coverage. Once Avon Park had the ball the Tiger defense would step up and push them back further into their own territory.

In the beginning of the second half Clewiston junior Oran Singleton picked off an Avon Park pass to give the Tigers great field position on the Red Devil 34 yard line. Clewiston quarterback Darquan Balkcom took advantage of the short field by hitting Luis Cruz on a play action pass for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 21-0 with ten minutes left in the second quarter.

By halftime Clewiston was up 36-0.

The Tigers’ final score of the day came when Balkcom was able to connect with Clewiston freshman Chauncy Cobb on a 53 yard touchdown pass. Cobb ran a crossing pattern in the middle of the field and was able to make the Avon Park safety miss to take the ball to the house and put an exclamation point on the victory.

“I thought our team was really well balanced,” said Walker of his team’s performance. “We played good on both sides of the ball on offense and defense. And I thought our special teams were phenomenal tonight. I just felt like it was an all around good football game for us. It is going to get tougher as it goes along, so we have to keep getting better.”

This week the Tigers will host the Monsignor Pace Spartans. Last year the Spartans were able to defeat Clewiston 30-10.

The Tigers will face the Spartans at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Cane Field in Clewiston.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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