Friday Night Hero: A.L. Brown's Jamar Clemons
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — As far as North Carolina prep football, there aren’t many bigger challenges for DBs than tall Concord quarterback B.J. Beecher’s quick release.
“He takes three steps and that ball is gone somewhere,” A.L. Brown cornerback Jamar Clemons summed up.
Clemons may have been the biggest reason the Wonders survived Beecher and the Spiders 26-21, won the SPC outright and maintained possession of the “Victory Bell.” The 5-foot-9 senior was named the team’s defensive player of the week for a monumental effort. He allowed zero completions to his responsibilities.
“I tried to hold up my end and by doing that I helped out the rest of our secondary,” Clemons said. “I’m glad they didn’t have a completion against me because one more completion might have changed the outcome.”
Clemons’ gene pool is excellent (Terrell Clemons, who was a talented, multi-sport athlete for the Wonders in the mid-1980s is his father), but he wasn’t a factor until this season.
“Jamar is an excellent young man, but he didn’t take up football until very late,” said DBs coach James Lott, who played with Clemons’ father on Brown’s 1984 state runner-up. “You didn’t see him much last year, but in a year’s time Jamar has come a very long way. He’s at the point now where we consider him a very solid ballplayer. Anyone can be beaten and Concord tested him early with slants, go-routes, everything they had, but he usually was in great position. We don’t have a lot of concern right now on his side of the field.”
Head coach Mike Newsome also showered praise on Clemons.
“Just an unbelievably consistent player who makes plays and has been under the radar,” he said. “We played a team Friday that can really throw it around and he didn’t allow a single completion. That says it all right there.”
Clemons looks back to last year when it didn’t look like he’d ever be a serious contributor and smiles.
“Last year wasn’t fun for me, but that’s because I wasn’t very focused,” he said. “I just made up my mind that my senior year was going to be different. I worked hard in the offseason with Coach Hag (Todd Hagler) in the weight room, so I have to credit him a lot. But mostly, it’s just focus. I decided to play for the team and not myself, and I’ve kept my focus all year.”
Clemons’ diligence in the weight room is obvious when he sheds his T-shirt. He’s listed at 175 pounds, but he owns the arms, chest and shoulders of a lumberjack.
“Jamar’s not big, but he’s physical, he makes up for his size with speed and he can really jump for a 5-9 guy,” safety and co-captain Kaleel Hollis said. “The best thing about him is you never hear anything out of him. What Coach says, he does. He never complains.”
There was no time to complain Friday when a Spider spied daylight and headed for a touchdown. As well as he covered people, the tackle he made on that play is what Clemons will remember about the “Bell Game.”
“He was around the 20 when I came off my man and made the tackle in the open field,” Clemons said. “People say corners can’t make that tackle, so it felt good to make a play.”
And after the game?
“I went to find my family,” Clemons said. “After a game like that, you want to celebrate with family.”