77-14, Red Devils
Just One Step - but a double record-setter.
It was more points than the Clinton Red Devils had seen since 1970.
Friday's 77-14 first round of the playoffs win over Palmetto eclipsed the previous school record of 75 points set against Woodmont. Keegan Fortman's 9 PATS also set a new school mark. Kadon Crawford was the holder, and one time when the kicking went awry, he ran in a 2-point conversion. Everything the Red Devils did, it seemed, turn golden.
But not so fast. Clinton's coaches are going to want to clean up 7 penalties and surrending a touchdown with 12.7 seconds on the clock before halftime. When you get an opponent down, it's better not to let them go into halftime thinking, "Hey, anything's possible."
It was impossible for Palmetto Friday night - as Clinton's legion of boom defensive secondary took away their most effective weapon, and just laid back waiting for the passes when the Mustangs tried desperately to come back. Zay Johnson scored a pic six and Taliek Fuller ran a fumble recovery to the Palmetto 1 to give Clinton the chance to top 70 points.
Junior quarterback Austin Copeland filled in well for injured senior signal-caller Davis Wilson. Copeland connected on 6 of 7 passes to gain 79 yards, added to the Clinton 379 on the ground. The Red Devils spread the wealth among a lot of runners with Jayden Robinson gaining 80 yards. Justin Copeland had 45 yards receiving.
It's just a first step, Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain reminded the troops gathered after the alma mater. It gets tougher every week at this stage - this coming Friday Clinton is at Lower Richland, a #1 seed in its region and 27-21 winner over Seneca.
Fountain said their attitudes were good "and that's what we can control."
"Lower Richland's a very athletic team, we've seen them on film. They're big, they're fast and they're physical. It's going to be a big challenge for us and we got to start preparing on Sunday. Austin stepped in and did a great job, he ran the offense and the guys rallied behind him. Guys stepped up; each guy that stepped up did a good job; the coaches did a good job preparing them. I didn't like how we put the ball on the ground a little too much in the first half. We've got to clean that up, and we've got to clean some penalities up."
Jishun Copeland scored two early rushing touchdowns, then added the 27th first half point (28 with Fortman conversion). An Austin Copeland to Justin Copeland TD pass and Kadon Crawford 2-point run pushed the score to 43-14 Clinton at the half. Palmetto scored with 2:24 left in the half, and scored again with 12.7 seconds left in the half.
Danny Kinard made it no-doubt Clinton with two rushing touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. Kadon Crawford ran the offense at quarterback during the 4th quarter - by then, there was a running clock because the game was out of reach for Palmetto. The Mustangs were having to throw, and Clinton could lay back waiting for the passes.
Clinton got 83 yards on interception returns, and Palmetto was limited to 141 yards.