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For 100 Years, the Red Devils have stuck together

Even in the face of defeat - Chapman holds off a 2-point attempt to gain a 1-point win


Kadon Crawford’s end zone catch with 2.9 seconds on the game clock set up the Clinton Red Devils with a chance to tie – or defeat – visiting Chapman Friday night on Richardson Field. However, going for the win instead of the tie – a 2-point conversion in a 22-21 game instead of a PAT kick – meant #2 in State AAA Clinton lost to the #8 team, Chapman, by that score.

Clinton drove 98 yards in the final 1:42 to move to within 1 point of the Panthers, who were stymied just seconds before on 4th down at the Clinton 2-yard line. Junior Quarterback Tushauwn Richardson led the Red Devil charge with his arm and with his legs, but couldn’t find a free receiver going for 2, and the win, on Clinton’s 100th Anniversary of Football designated game. Clinton played football in 1921 and 1922, but it was in 1923 that it played its first full, Red Devil schedule.

They’ve been playing football, winning 8 State Championships in the process, ever since. Richard Willingham, of Joanna, was honored as the oldest living Red Devil Football player, at age 96. Pre-game and half-time festivities marked the anniversary. The capacity home stands crowd rose in unison to give the Red Devils program a standing ovation when District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields, who wrote the halftime script, called for all Clinton fans to acknowledge themselves as The 12th Man.

Those teams of the past – including 15 Upper State Champions and 31 Region Champions - had adopted a never-surrender attitude; and in the dying seconds of this Wilder Stadium clash, the 2023 Red Devils found that spark once again. Yet, Chapman, which lost twice to Clinton last season and eeked out a win at Wilder Stadium the season before, was able to celebrate its victory.

Clinton snapped the ball to run the 2-point conversion against the Panthers defense that had just surrendered 98 yards of turf in under 2 minutes, and the Panthers called timeout. With that brief rest, the Panthers defenders fought off the Red Devils one last time.

It was a laundry game – Clinton was flagged 16 times for 142 yards and Chapman was flagged 11 times for 99 yards and had a player ejection.

“I take the blame for this game, you know,” Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain said. “I talked about in our pregame speech before our pregame meal about discipline. We just didn’t have enough in that first half. We did a lot of things that we shouldn’t have done and it cost us big time in the red zone. That’s a good football team over there.”

Fountain said he made the decision to go for 2 when a successful PAT kick would have sent the non-region game into overtime. They changed the play after Chapman was granted a timeout.

“We got to get better from it. We got to keep pushing forward and we got to learn from our mistakes; but hats off the the defense - goal line stand at the end of the game. Offense never waivered and we had a chance to win at the end. With all the bad stuff that happened throughout the game, our guys never gave up and kept pushing through and we had a chance to win.”

Richardson ran the ball 11 times for 100 yards and led a passing attack that completed 15 of 25 passes for 194 yards. Clinton ran 74 plays to gain 468 yards.

Chapman’s 48 plays gained 424 yards.

Clinton plays at South Aiken this Friday, and opens region play at home against Union County on Sept. 29. The Red Devils’ bye week is Oct. 6.