SPARTANBURG – What a year for settling scores.
The latest was Clinton’s 47-14 Region 3-3A sizzle through Royal Stadium and its occupants, the Broome Centurions, who had held the Red Devils in sway for a while.
As Clinton has emerged from a decade of mostly fruitless football journeys, it has turned a number of tables on teams that had dominated for a while.
“Last year it seemed like we were in every game,” said Clinton head coach Corey Fountain, whose 2nd team finished 3-3. “This year we’ve been preaching to our kids, ‘We’ve got to do that little extra at practice. You gotta do a little bit more on that rep in order to get over that hump. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Laurens. Newberry. Union County. Broome.
Chapman is next, and it will be the most significant game at Wilder Stadium in a country-mile while.
That, however, is a topic for the coming week.
In winning for the 7th time in as many games, Clinton was as balanced as balanced can be.
Four runners gained more than 50 yards. Five Red Devils scored touchdowns and two, Jykorie Gary and Jayden Robinson, scored a pair.
For the 2nd week in a row, Clinton (7-0, 2-0 region) returned an interception for a touchdown and the game ended with the Red Devils taking a knee after another pick fell just shy of six.
Davis Wilson knelt and tossed the ball to the referee, after William Watts had intercepted a pass and returned it 58 yards to the 2. It was almost identical to the way the Union County game ended, only C.J. Hunter returned his interception 49 yards.
Clinton led 27-7 at halftime, but Broome (2-5, 0-2) successfully onside-kicked to start the 2nd half and then scored to pull within 13 points. Carlos Cohen caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Ramirez. The score occurred with 10:43 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
“It was a slugfest in that 1st half,” Clinton head coach Corey Fountain said. “They get that onside kick and get the ball back. They scored, and our guys responded.”
For the equivalent of a quarter, there existed the potential of a close game. That was before the deluge that began with Robinson’s 32-yard scoring reception from Wilson and continued through Wilson’s 20-yard TD run to Justin Copeland’s 25-yard interception return with 4:06 remaining.
For the 2nd week in a row, Wilson was money in the backfield. He hit 7 of his 9 passes for 109 yards and a score. He rushed 12 times for a net of 57 and added another TD.
Wilson’s 7 completions went to six different receivers.
Meanwhile the quicksilver rushing firm of (Jishun) Copeland, Gary and Robinson was leading a charge to 352 yards on the ground. Copeland had 11 carries for 105 yards, Gary 11 for 92 and Robinson 7 for 65. Clinton accumulate 456 yards of offense to Broome’s 328.
“Coach (Louie) Alexander did a great job of getting everybody the ball,” Fountain said, “and in a lot of different ways, too, whether it be a run, a pass, a reverse, in key situations. He did a great job.”
Chapman (4-2, 2-0) rolls into town next Friday on the heels of a 52-3 victory over Emerald (2-5, 1-1).