The final score may not indicate it, but there was a point during Friday's game between Tyler Grace and Mineola when the outcome of the Cougars' 56-28 victory was in doubt.

Grace held a comfortable 28-8 lead late in the first half when Mineola's Dac Shaw scored to cut the deficit to two touchdowns with just 14 seconds until halftime.

That's when Cougars junior Kade Clayton put all doubt to rest, returning the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the half.

It was only a snapshot of Clayton's big Friday night. He scored on three other occasions -- twice from the backfield and once through the air.

Clayton, this week's Dairy Queen Offensive Player of the Week, finished the night with 217 all-purpose yards.

"He really came out of the gate well, catching the ball and getting yards after contact," Grace coach Mike Maddox said. "Having a young man that can do multiple things allows you to be a little more creative with what you’re trying to do.”

Clayton had eight catches for 121 yards, but his biggest contribution came on special teams.

“The kickoff return as time expired in the first half was big because Mineola had scored with (14 seconds) to go and they had a little momentum," Maddox said. "Then we break the kickoff and get the momentum back on our side.”

Maddox said it's Clayton's year-round preparation that sets the versatile junior apart from the competition.

“It’s what he does the rest of the year," he said. "He works hard in track to improve his speed. He goes to summer camps and combines. It’s not like he just shows up and does well; he prepares to do well.”

Clayton is a big reason for the fast start for Grace (2-0), which has outscored its first two opponents 97-48.

“It makes calling defenses a little more challenging when you have a player of Kade’s caliber," Maddox said. "You can motion him from the backfield to receiver or motion him from receiver to the backfield. It gives you more flexibility.”

The Cougars host Kemp on Friday night.

Dairy Queen Offensive Players of the Week

Sept. 6-8: Kade Clayton, RB/WR, Tyler Grace

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