Future Cougar QB Clements does it again

QUARTERBACK CODY Clements, who has verbally committed to play his college football at Washington State, capped a memorable season Saturday by guiding La Habra High to its fourth consecutive California Southwest Division Championship. In the process, Clements achieved a remarkable statistical feat: He threw 206 passes over the course of the season and was intercepted just once.

"He's like a surgeon," Myron Miller, coach of Tustin High, told the Orange County Register this week.

On Saturday, Clements didn't have to do much through the air, however, as his Highlanders kept things mostly on the ground in a 35-26 win over Miller's Tustin team. The game was played in front of 7,294 fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

While the 6-1, 195-pound Clements didn't throw a lot, he was his usual proficient self, completing 5-of-8 passes for 58 yards and one TD. And his line was listed as the key stat of the game by the Orange County Register. Why? Because Clements engineered the drive that was the game's turning point.

Trailing 21-7 just before halftime, Clements completed three of his passes on La Habra's final drive before the break, with the TD pass coming with just three seconds left, trimming the deficit to seven points.

LaHabra finished the year with an 11-3 record, including nine-straight.

For the season, Clements connected on 137-of-206 passes (67 percent) for 2,067 yards and 32 TDs. The lone interception, Clements said in interviews this week, still eats at him because he overthrew the pass.

That pick notwithstanding, this season was special for Clements for more than just the wins. He had a huge scare early in the campaign when he injured the same knee he blew out as a sophomore on his first day of school. He missed two games this season with what turned out to be a knee bruise and fluid buildup, but the knee was otherwise fine and he picked up where he left off when he returned to the field.

"He's definitely a lead-by-example type of kid," La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta told the Orange County Register in a story that appeared before the championship game. "A leader becomes a leader in the weight room, during the hard practices in the heat of the summer ... He's put a lot of time and effort into becoming a football player. He's not a quarterback from 3-5 (p.m.), he's a quarterback all off-season. You couldn't underestimate that kid's work ethic," Mazzotta said. "He busted his tail to get back after the knee and to learn the offense."

Last year as a junior Clements passed for 2,150 yards (120-of-191), 29 TDs and 5 INTs while also leading La Habra to the Southwest championship.

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