We Are Not Done
Zay Johnson’s interception with 1:47 to play on the road on Friday led the Not-Done-Yet Clinton Red Devils to a playoffs-advancing 48-34 win at Lower Richland.
Clinton continues on at 11-1. Lower Richland finishes at 9-2.
With 9 minutes left in a tie game, Lower Richland stopped a Clinton drive and took over on its own 11. The Diamond Hornets drove to midfield, before bogging down on a 4th and 9. Clinton took over at the 6 minutes to play mark at the LR 48.
Clinton used a fake punt to continue its drive.
Justin Copeland caught a touchdown pass from Davis Wilson, who had dropped into punt formation. Wilson is the regular punter, but because of an injury, he had given those duties to backup quarterback Austin Copeland for this game. Wilson, who went the whole way at signal-caller on a heavily taped ankle, started into punt action, moved to the side to see a receiver, and threw to Justin Copeland, who scored. Keegan Fortman’s PAT with 4:21 left to play gave Clinton a 41-34 lead.
LR pushed the ball to its own 45, before Austin Copeland intercepted. It took Jishun Copeland two runs – one to midfield, one the rest of the way – to convert a touchdown for Clinton from its own 7-yard line. Then, it’s 2:20 left to play. At the 1:47 mark, Zay Johnson makes his interception, ending LR’s attempt to cut into the lead. Clinton didn’t need to score – in fact, the Red Devils kept taking a knee so much that they wound up in a 4th and 24 situation with 6 seconds to play. Wilson scrambled and threw a pass to waste the rest of the time; LR was flagged for roughing the passer; Clinton declined and that was ballgame.
The #1 seed in Region 4, Lower Richland was flagged for 13 penalties on their home field.
Clinton ran 55 plays to gain 480 yards. Its first scoring drive went 90 yards to paydirt. The Red Devils scored with 20 seconds left in the first half. Receiving the second half kick, Clinton scored on its first drive of the second half. Still, at the end of the 3rd quarter, this game was tied at 34.
Jishun Copeland gained 129 yards rushing for Clinton – longest 51 yards – and scored 3 touchdowns. Bryson James gained 125 yards – longest 42 yards – and scored 3 touchdowns. Davis Wilson and Austin Copeland combined for 5 of 11 passing for 169 yards.
Clinton ran the ball for 311 yards.
Lower Richland ran the ball for 229 yards, adding 167 yards passing but with 3 interceptions.
Clinton moves on to Daniel.
This coming Friday, Clinton travels to defending AAA State Champion Daniel, a 49-21 winner over Woodruff. Clinton’s Region 3 Champion – Chapman – was knocked out by Chester, 33-28. That leaves Chester v Powdersville and Clinton v Daniel as the two games left to decide who plays for the Upper State Championship.
Clinton and Daniel have a history – the last time Clinton won the AAA State Championship, it went through Daniel, 35-28, for the Upper State title, on its way to a 35-26 State Championship win over Myrtle Beach. Daniel knocked Clinton out of the 2010 playoffs, 21-14, and out of the 2013 playoffs, 31-7.