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In the fifth football Friday of the 2019 season, Corey Fountain’s first team of Clinton Red Devils turned the first of many crucial corners necessary to restore the school’s winning tradition.

Led by senior Konnor Richardson, Clinton held off Pendleton, 20-14.

“Defensively, Pendleton was a big game for us,” Fountain said. “We caused a lot of turnovers. Our seniors were instrumental in being able to shut them out in the third and fourth quarters. Offensively, we really jelled for the first time against Mid-Carolina (a 35-21 win). When I look back, those were the two biggest games we had.”

Richardson, a 3-sport athlete, who had missed much of the previous season with a broken arm, came up big, particularly at outside linebacker, where he scored on an interception return, scooped up a fumble to set up another score and helped preserve the win by batting down the Bulldogs’ last-ditch pass with 2:30 remaining in the game.

The second half, in which neither team scored, was tense.

It was Homecoming at Wilder Stadium, and Fountain called it “a great atmosphere.”

“We need this every home game,” he said.

It was Clinton’s final non-region game and gave them a 2-3 record. The went on to go 2-3 in Region 3-3A and earn a playoff berth, where they fell to Camden to finish 4-7.

The Red Devils established a hard-nosed precedent when, after committing a turnover on the game’s second play, the defense stopped Pendleton on downs. The Red Devils rebounded by scoring first on a Navill Watson run after a long Jykorie Gary breakaway and then going up 13-0 on Richardson’s pick-6.

On the first play of the second quarter, Gary scored a touchdown to put the Red Devils up 20-0.

A series of penalties were instrumental in Pendleton’s first score, midway through the second quarter. Clinton was on the move when a fumble handed possession back to the Bulldogs. A 4th-down pass just before the half brought Pendleton within six, but that was the end of the evening’s scoring.

Both teams missed field goals in the second half.