Coach Fountain: blocked PAT, it was huge

APPRECIATION FOR PLAYING THIS LATE IN THE SEASON.

 

At 1 p.m. on Friday, the City of Clinton said “thank you” to Veterans in an observance moved inside at Broad Street United Methodist Church because of rain. At about 10 p.m. on a soggy Keith Richardson Field at Wilder Stadium, it was those who served in the military that were still on the mind of the winning Clinton Red Devils coach.

“We’re thankful to play. We’re grateful for veterans. Veterans made it possible for us to be able the play a game of football on a night like this. So I’m grateful to play in the rain. You know, veterans, we just appreciate you guys,” said Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain said after the Red Devils 28-13 Veterans Day home win over a rugged Belton-Honea Path team.

Clinton is now 12-0. BHP has lost 2 games this season – to #4 in the state Powdersville and #3 in the state Clinton.

The Bears looked like they were going to burst Clinton’s dream-season bubble, striking first on a long catch and run for a touchdown. But Justin Copeland evened the score by running back the subsequent kickoff. Jayden Robinson added a scoring run, before Copeland struck again on a 60-yard scoring pass from quarterback Bryce Young. Now up 21-7, Clinton found itself in more familiar territory – but BHP burst that illusion, too. On a direct snap to the running back play, the Bears scored again with 1:29 left before halftime. Bryson James blocked the extra point.

Fountain said, “Special teams were big, too; we got that blocked PAT which was huge because they were going to have to score 8 pints, too. It’s a combination of everything, you got to play good special teams, you got to play good defense; offensively, we didn’t get it moving the way we wanted to the whole night but we scored when we needed to score. Our guys stepped up when they needed to step up and I’m really proud of the way they handled themselves tonight.”

So after 34 points in the first half, you would think this would be a back and forth shoot out. Think again, says the Red Devil defense.

BHP started the second half with a backward pass that was missed and recovered leading to a 3rd and 28 and eventually a punt. Clinton fumbled the ball back to the Bears on the Clinton 45. The Red Devil D held on 4th and 2 at the Clinton 30 with 2:43 left in the 3rd quarter. But a short Clinton punt gave the Bears the ball back at the Clinton 30. The Red Devil D held again on a sack.

Finally, Justin Copeland broke free on a jet-sweep run for Clinton’s fourth touchdown with 8:10 left in the game. BHP was not done – Clinton had the Bears stopped on 4th and long, but the Bears got bailed out on a pass interference penalty (not an automatic first down). That made it 4th and 9, and BHP suffered a procedure penalty and a holding call on a throw back to the quarterback pass play. Clinton held the ball at the 4:05 left in the game mark, but by the 1:01 mark, BHP had the ball at the 50 – a touchdown here and a subsequent onside kick recovery and score could have made up Clinton’s 15 point lead in a hurry.

For the twice-beaten Bears, it was not to be. And Clinton was left to move on to Round 3 Upper State AAA Playoffs (Powdersville and Daniel are winners in the other side of the bracket). “Our guys, we got to prepare for whoever we face (it will be Chapman at home this Friday),” Fountain said. “We’ll be preparing tonight as soon as we get the game film seeing what corrections we can make to get better for next week.”

 

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