The Defense Hangs Tough
PANTHERS SHAKE OFF A FIRST HALF STALEMATE -- Defending state champs defeat gutsy Red Devils in second half (action photos).
By Vic MacDonald
Chapman shifted to the jumbo package, from its traditional offense that was blanketed by the Clinton defense, for a couple of important first downs and a score, as the #3 in the state Panthers shook off the visiting Red Devils, 24-8, in Friday night’s high school football action.
At one point in the 0-0 first half, Clinton had 72 yards of offense to Chapman’s 9.
Clinton forced 6 Chapman first half punts.
Winners of 49 of 51 games coming into the AAA action, Chapman finally shook off the rust with more than 200 yards of offense and 24 2nd half points, scoring on the first drive of the 2nd half. Clinton scored right back – a 99-yard kickoff return by Jykorie Gary, called back on the Chapman home field by a holding call.
From there, Clinton could not sustain offensive drives, and left the defense out there too long. Clinton scored with 37 seconds left in the game – a Kimon Quarles catch of a Davis Wilson shovel-pass and 2 pt conversion rule by Wilson.
“We have to finish drives,” Clinton football head coach Corey Fountain said.
Shy Kinard led Clinton runners with 78 yards. The yardage was even closer than the final score – Chapman had 243, Clinton had 236 yards of total offense.
The Red Devil defensive secondary held up well, limiting Chapman to 62 yards passing.
“The plan was to sustain drives, eat clock, and keep the ball out of their hands,” Fountain said.
Clinton quarterbacks threw 27 passes to compliment the run game but suffered two interceptions. One pick led to a Chapman return to the Clinton 10 and the Panthers’ final TD with 5 minutes left on the game clock.
The Red Devils, 1-2, have 2 weeks to prepare for region title contender Woodruff, set for Homecoming Oct. 23 at Wilder Stadium. Woodruff defeated Emerald Friday night, and Union County-Broome was postponed by COVID-19 cases (just as Clinton’s season-opening game against Union County was postponed).