Dooly County Anticipates Return of Injured Quarterback for 2023 Season

Dooly County Anticipates Return of Injured Quarterback for 2023 Season

Antwuan Clayton Is Recovering from ACL Injury That Cut 2022 Campaign Short

Just how good can Dooly County High School quarterback and multi-purpose athlete Antwuan Clayton be with a full season? According to his coach, Cecil Lester, the sky’s the limit. If he has a limit. The coach is certainly looking forward to seeing what a healthy Clayton can do in 2023.

“Antwuan is the most athletic student in our high school, and he’s the most important player on the team,” Lester says.

Ok, then.

Last year, Clayton became the team’s full time starter at quarterback for Dooly County. The sophomore also played defensive back, and in just five games he put up the kind of numbers that many players would be thrilled to have over the course of a full season. Clayton completed 74 of 138 pass attempts for 1,341 yards and 18 TDs while rushing for 271 yards on 21 carries with a TD. He also had 2 interceptions, one of which he returned for a score.

All in just five games. During that stretch, Clayton led Dooly County to a 4-1 record, with the offense averaging 52 points in the four victories.

Then a torn ACL sidelined Clayton for the remainder of the season, leaving Lester and Bobcat fans to wonder what could have been, in what actually was still a pretty good year for Dooly County. The Bobcats finished 7-6, advancing to the Class A-D2 quarterfinals. Their season ended there with a 3-point loss to Lincoln County, 24-21.

Lester suspects things would have turned out differently with their star player in the game.

“As far as we were able to advance, it is frustrating to think how much longer we could have played with Antwuan,” he says.

Lester has known Clayton since he was a 12-year-old growing up in Dooly County, and the coach remembers thinking back then how good he was.

“I could tell Antwuan was going to be special,” he says.

The Bobcats coach said it wasn’t just Clayton’s athletic ability that stood out.

“He was a very smart kid,” Lester says.

Antwuan has an older brother, Antonneous, who also was very good. The coach remembers thinking that Antwuan got many of the same attributes as his older sibling, a five-star defensive end who went on to play at Florida for three years before transferring to Georgia Tech. Lester remembers thinking that as talented as Antonneous was, the younger brother was getting attention, too.

“I remember the schools recruiting his older brother would tell Antwuan to come along with him,” Lester says with a chuckle.

The second-year Dooly County coach says he is expecting Antwuan to be ready to go by the start of the 2023 season, but he cautions that his use of the quarterback may be a bit different.

“We may try to make him more of a pocket passer this year, coming off such a serious injury,” Lester says.

Even if that’s the case, Lester says don’t expect a major drop in production from Clayton: “Antwuan will still account for about 80% of our offense.”

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