It was a somber night in Paris, Tenn. as the Henry County Patriots celebrated both their 55-7 victory over Clarksville High and the life of a former student.
Allie Thompson, a 2020 graduate of Henry County, tragically passed away on Wednesday morning in the aftermath of an automobile crash. Thompson was a member of the Patriots basketball and softball teams and was completing her first semester at Austin Peay State University. Thompson’s family was heavily involved with Henry County football: her brother played wide receiver for the Patriots before committing to play at Murray State. Thompson’s father, Reggie, also serves as a member of the Henry County coaching staff.
Prior to Friday’s kickoff, the Patriots held a moment of silence in regard to Thompson and her family. Henry County players additionally attached stickers that read “AT” – Thompson’s initials - to their helmets out of respect for the family.
“Reggie is a staple of this community,” said Henry County head coach James Counce Jr. “He grew up with me, he’s been here for what seems like his whole life. He’s a guy that loves Henry County football and there’s no question about that. It helped us, because we knew that he would want us to come and do well tonight. That was one of the things that we knew we could do to try to help him and his family. We can’t change the situation, but we’re going to be there and try to help them move forward.
“There were some (players) that were very, very close with Allie and there’s no doubt that they played with a little bit of extra inspiration tonight, thinking of her.”
The Patriots seemed driven against Clarksville, scoring on all but one of their drives throughout the contest. Henry County quarterback Ryan Damron added three touchdowns to his season total, while Memphis commit Jawon Odoms tallied 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcat defense.
Clarksville’s only score came late in the third, as Davin Garinger capped off a 69-yard drive with a run to the end zone. The Wildcats struggled throughout offensively, generating 150 yards compared to the 539 accumulated by Henry County.
“I thought (Garinger) came out good,” said CHS head coach Isaac Shelby said. “We dropped too many balls in the first couple possessions, got us behind the sticks and we couldn’t move it. You saw what the rest was.”
The Patriots improve to 3-2 with the win and remain atop the region 7-5A standings at 2-0. Henry County will travel to Kenwood on Sept. 25.
The loss leaves Clarksville at 1-3 through their first four games. The Wildcats look to better their regional and overall schedule next week at Dyer County. Despite the Choctaws having missed the previous two weeks due to COVID-19, Shelby is more concerned with his team’s performance come Friday.
“I’m a lot more worried about us than Dyer County,” He said. “We have a lot of stuff to fix. Dyer County is a good team, they have a good coaching staff and they’ll be ready to play.”