McClelland shines in Stafford win


For the News & Messenger

STAFFORD If Halifax County High School knew it had to stop Thomas McClelland in Friday night’s Group AAA, Division 6 Northwest Region semifinals at Stafford High School, it didn’t show it.

McClelland ran for 252 yards on 14 carries including a staggering 139 yards alone in the first quarter en route to a 36-7 Indians’ victory. If that wasn’t enough, he also led his team in the air completing both of his pass attempts, going 2 for 2 for 104 yards with two touchdowns.

And he threw in an interception and a touchdown saving tackle for good measure.

It wasn’t McClelland who scored first though. After Halifax went three-and-out on its first possession, Stafford’s Donald Lamar fielded Kevin Reynolds’ punt at the Stafford 35 and handed it to Tim Sullivan.

Sullivan scampered 65 yards to the end zone and Ray Damm added the PAT to put Stafford up 7-0 just 2 minutes and 34 seconds into the game.

Then, McClelland took over.

After one pass completion to Travis Turner, the Comets faltered again. Five plays later, McClelland busted a 74-yard run down the left side for the 14-0 lead.

Halifax struck back with a 37-yard Karl Staton to Brent Long touchdown to end the first quarter.

But McClelland stole the momentum back with a 25-yard TD early in the second quarter.

Halifax (6-5) trailed 27-6 at halftime, thanks to McClelland’s first TD pass to Robert Thompson.

The Comets opened the second half with a 13-play drive that took them to the Stafford 1-yard line. Staton lost eight yards on a keeper, though, forcing the Comets to go for it on fourth down. Staton kept the ball again and plunged to the goal line only to be stopped short by McClelland.

Three plays later, McClelland hit a wide-open Thompson (2 catches, 104 yards) who darted 97 yards for the game’s final TD.

Damm booted a 32-yard filed goal at 9:21 for the final score.

Many expected a clash between Stafford’s McClelland and Halifax’s Alonzo Coleman, who came in averaging seven yards per carry.

The Indians’ defense frustrated Coleman, holding him to 41 yards on 17 carries, including three for a loss. Stafford’s Chris Collins was in on 10 tackles while Kevin Sullivan had six tackles.

Stafford (9-2) hosts Culpeper (6-5) in the regional final. The Indians defeated the Blue Devils earlier in the season.

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