Coming off a win, Red Devils face a difficult challenge

Clinton travels to Abbeville, which owns a 2-year undefeated string
PHOTO: He ain’t heavy - he’s my brother. Mark Wise (5) is lifted high by Jamarcus Cook (50) after Wise’s 56-yard touchdown run Friday night against Aiken. Wise scored five touchdowns and rushed for 254 yards in Clinton’s first win of the season, 47-33, over Aiken. - Photos by Fletcher Pruitt Jr.


UPDATE: Abbeville wins 49-12. The Panthers defeat second set of Red Devils


For the second week, this Friday, Abbeville will play a 1-2 team, and another squad nicknamed the Red Devils. The Panthers don’t really care, though, being focused on keeping their 2-year winning streak alive.

The two-time defending 2A State Champions will play host to Clinton, after winning 28-14 in week three over Lincoln County, Georgia. This was the same set-up last season for Abbeville – a tie against Lincoln County followed by a win over Clinton. Playing Abbeville’s potent running attack, you can’t just pick your poison – it’s all like a rattlesnake bite.

These are Abbeville’s rushing totals for the win over Lincoln County: JR Rapley 13 attempts for 80 yards, Cortney Jackson 8-59, Jermaine Blackwell 10-34, Bryce Jackson 12-84, and Dominick Washington 8-39.

For the Clinton defense, whoever has the ball, shed a block and tackle him. For two years, nobody playing against Abbeville has done that with consistent success. In 2016, Abbeville and Lincoln County coaches agreed to end their game as a 7-7 tie; Abbeville’s attempt at a winning field goal was blocked with 4 seconds to play.

Speaking about Lincoln County, Panthers football head coach Jamie Nickels said last Friday, “You saw two proud traditions fighting it out on the field, and neither side would give an inch. I’m proud of our team for coming out on top. Any time you beat a team like Lincoln County, it feels good.”

Clinton football head coach Andrew Webb was proud of his team, too. These Red Devils ran to a 47-33 home win over 0-4 Aiken. Mark Wise ran for 254 yards against the Green Hornets, who torched the Clinton secondary for a 71-yard passing touchdown but also surrendered four interceptions. Meanwhile, in the Abbeville-Lincoln County game, there were just 21 pass attempts.

Abbeville is averaging 311 yards rushing this season, and was successful for 296 rushing yards against Lincoln County. Four Clinton running backs combined for 411 yards rushing against Aiken.

Abbeville surrendered a 60-yard QB keeper touchdown against Lincoln County, as the visitors took an early lead. The Panthers responded with a TD run on their first possession (Jermaine Blackwell), then added two, 2nd quarter scores (quarterback Bryce Jackson).

Late in the game, the Abbeville defense stopped Lincoln County with a turnover on downs at the 6-yard line after 15-play drive. “That really was huge. Our kids really bowed up and played good, sound, fundamental football,” Nickels said.

MaxPreps says Abbeville is the 17th ranked team (regardless of classification) in South Carolina and the 699th ranked team in the nation. The Panthers are one of seven 4-0 teams in 2A, and in running up a 4-0 record also have beaten Ninety Six, Woodruff and Emerald. Their opponent after Clinton is 3A Mid-Carolina, then 4A Hartsville. The Panthers’ game against Southside Christian likely will decide their region’s championship.


(Information from the Greenwood Index-Journal is included in this article.)

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