Clements moving forward after injury to starting QB Darnell

Clements moving forward after injury to starting QB Darnell (Copyright (c) 2021 VYPE - All rights reserved)

Clements' thrilling 27-25 District 20-6A win over Fort Bend Elkins last Thursday came at a drastic price.

The Rangers are moving forward with a new starting quarterback after senior captain Micah Darnell, son of head coach Bobby Darnell, suffered a broken collarbone late during the first half against the Knights.

"It's been an emotional couple of days," said Bobby Darnell, who has twin sons on the team (Marcus plays defensive back and receiver). "As a family, it's been fairly positive. We just want to be sure he's in the right frame of mind. It may not be his last game played. Let's see if there are opportunities out there (in college football), if that's what he wants to do."

Darnell said Micah will have another follow-up exam Tuesday with an X-ray but expects he will be in a shoulder sling for at least six weeks.

Micah Darnell took a late hit on a rollout run to the sideline, but remained in the game and scored a tying touchdown a few plays later right before halftime.

"We talked about it at halftime. We knew he was in pain," Darnell said. "We thought about seeing what it was like in the second half, but he knew his body. We didn't even try him in the second half."

Micah Darnell ranked fifth in District 20-6A in passing and rushing. He completed 48 of 87 passes (55.2 percent) for 822 yards and six touchdowns to four interceptions while rushing for 342 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

"There's dad before there's coach, and to see your kid end the season being hurt is just tough," Darnell said. "The coaching side of it, I feel like we're definitely prepared. That's what all of these games have been about, getting Gunner and even Michael experience, snaps and getting them comfortable. Whether we've been up by a lot or down a lot, I've always wanted to give guys exposure and opportunity, so that when something like this comes, it's not their first time."

Sophomore Gunner Chenier is No. 2 on the depth chart at QB. He's completed 15 of 31 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. Chenier also has 61 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Junior Michael Kasemervisz is now the backup, having completed four of five passes for 103 yards and a touchdown this year.

Darnell said Chenier is the starter for Saturday's game against Fort Bend Travis. Darnell said there will be snaps for both, whether via trick plays early on or a series here or there during the game. Practice this week will determine who gets most of the snaps early on against Travis. Darnell said whoever starts the game won't necessarily be the quarterback finishing the game.

"The main difference in the success we've had is being able to have that mobile quarterback and a guy with designed runs and who can extend a play," Darnell said. "We've had the conversation with Gunner and Michael that we've got to have that element in our offense. They understand that and they know what they have to do to help us be successful."

Clements is enjoying its best season since 2009.

The Rangers are 5-1 this season, 2-1 in 20-6A, and have won seven of their last eight games dating back to last season. Micah Darnell was a valuable piece of that success, helping fortify strong team chemistry by orchestrating gatherings at the Darnell house or restaurants or the movies or bowling.

"Everybody is ready to rally around Micah," Darnell said. "He's still going to be around and coaching up those quarterbacks, offering his sense and instincts and how he reads defenses and prepares. Being able to pass that along, and all that knowledge from being in this program for four years, will be great for those guys."