It's a long-time rivalry - Clinton vs Woodruff
What do you do when you’re not playing.
So when the Clinton Red Devils aren’t playing football, everybody just heads to Disney World for that mid-season vacation? Not hardly.
It’s a time for resting and healing, and evaluating your own tendencies, according to Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain.
In other words, if the Red Devil coaches see on film that the offense runs to the right EVERY SINGLE TIME a certain back is in the game, you know an opponent is going to pick up that tendency, too. Realizing that could allow the coaches to mix in some left side runs for that running back - or shift blocking - or do any one of a hundred other things that coaches are trained to do to avoid being “predictable.”
Last Friday was the bye for Clinton, a reward for being in a 5-team region this season. This Friday is the Homecoming game against Woodruff - time to look back on a 7-0 season and look ahead to what it’s going to take to get to 10-0.
So far since 2019, Fountain and his staff have guided the Red Devils to win 60% of their games. Fountain is well aware of the heritage he has inherited - Keith Richardson’s Red Devils won 80% of their games from 1969 to 1992. Andy B. Young followed that with a 72% winning percentage.
The Woodruff game is one of Clinton’s oldest rivalries, starting in 1923, now standing at 53-26-1 in Clinton’s favor, with the Red Devils winning in the 11-2 2021 season, 39-17.
Woodruff won this game, 17-7, in 2019, and 35-14 in 2018.
Clinton is coming off a 61-7 demolition of Union County. That same night, Woodruff surrendered 27 unanswered points to Chester, coming out on the short end of a 41-34 score to fall to 3-4. But, you can see the potential there - the Chester game showed Woodruff is capable of a fast start, posting a 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. It came down to a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, as Chester improved to 4-3.
(Friday night, Woodruff 35, Emerald 28; Chester 33, Union County 14)
Reflecting on Clinton’s Union County game two days after on WPCC’s Saturday Morning Rewind (Oct. 1), Fountain said, “We played a really clean game, two penalties. We played with a short field all night.”
During the bye week, the Red Devils would go back to the fundamentals, Fountain said. The team healed some ankle tweaks, but Fountain said the team would “not bang around too much.” That’s not to say they will become complacent - “that’s when you hit a car, or a car hits you,” the coach said.
The Red Devils took the pads off, emphasized assignment football, stressed “how you line up,” healed and set the stage for being fresh against Woodruff. Fountain expects Woodruff to show over and under sets, and shifting before the snap by its “tough” defensive front.
The Red Devils dealt with all the distractions of an Oct. 14 Homecoming. Four of them went to the Oct. 6 lunch of the Laurens County Touchdown Club, where Jayden Robinson, a junior, and Bryson James, a senior, received Player of the Week honors.
They are the only undefeated football team in Laurens County. They are ranked #3 in State AAA football.
Speaking at the Touchdown Club, Fountain said the bye week has been a chance to reflect. “You see the progress and sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you’re flying high. sometimes you’re flying low, sometimes you have to get off the ground. Just looking back we’ve had some big wins. Reflecting this week as we have a bye week, we look at the progress and it’s because we have young men who were committed to getting better. They were committed to us and we were committed to them and trusted them to move forward, because that first year was tough.
“We were the ones getting handed the 50 something to whatever losses. We were getting stomped in the ground lots of time, but as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘if you can’t fly you run; if you can’t run you walk; if you can’t walk you crawl, but you keep moving forward.’ That’s what this group of young men has done and what we want to continue to do, to set a precendent for the younger guys.
“The guys that came before and stuck it out and didn’t quit - they’ve gone on and graduated - but that year we were the ones getting our brains beat in but they stuck with it and they (today’s players) saw them working and it sets a precedent for the younger guys to not leave, to not quit, and that’s what football’s all about.”
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