The Clinton Red Devils used 7 different players to reach the end zone and celebrated Homecoming with a 63-7 home win over Aiken Friday night.
Natili Perrin was crowned the 2023 Homecoming Queen in halftime festivities.
This is the NEW SC Media Poll:
1. Daniel (10) (3-0)
2. Clinton (7) 4-0)
3. Dillon (1) 2-1
4. Belton Honea Path (2) (3-0)
5. Gilbert (3-0)
6. Crestwood (3-1)
7. Chester (3-1)
8. Chapman (3-1)
9. Broome (3-1)
10. Manning (4-0)
Zay Johnson’s 68-yard kickoff return for a touchdown – right after Aiken had found the end zone for its first and only score – staked Clinton to a 37-6 lead and snuffed out any thoughts that the rebuilding Fighting Green Hornets might have had of a comeback.
Clinton found its run-pass balance with 263 yards on the ground and 182 yards through the air. Pretty much everybody who could run the ball did run the ball, with Javen Cook’s 4 rushes for 58 yards leading the way.
Recapping the game, and looking ahead to next week, Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain said, “This past week we had to go really early in the morning because of the heat. It was six o’clock in the morning practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, in the gym on Thursday; we started watching film last Sunday getting prepared. I thought the offensive coaches had a good game plan. (Aiken was) trying to take the run away, packing the box; Coach A (Louie Alexander) did a good job of airing it out down the field in the first half, and we tried to operate with some tempo to get them off balance.
“I though defensively we executed. We’ve got to cut out the big play, seems like every game we give up a big play, so if we can cut out the big plays, make (opponents) have to sustain a drive, I think we can get that goose egg we’re looking for. We were able to win the field position battle again. We’ve got to cut out the penalties, we’ve got to work on that.”
About the Red Devils balanced attack, Fountain said, “It’s great to be able to take the top off the defense. It’s going to give teams in the future something they’re going to have to prepare for, the run game AND the passing game, to be balanced, especially going into the Chapman game. You’re going to see a team that’s beaten Byrnes, they played Boiling Springs close especially in the first half – Boiling Springs wore them down a little bit in the second half. It’s going to be a game. They’re aiming to get us. It’s kind of turned into a rivalry game and we’ve got to be ready to play.”
Chapman beat Laurens, 48-3, at their home in Inman Friday night. Clinton's final opponent before region play starts, South Aiken lost to River Bluff, 63-28.
Aiken managed to run for 117 yards and pass for 72 yards, most coming on a break away touchdown catch. The visitors earned 6 first downs.
Clinton churned out 445 yards. Junior QB Tushawan Richardson completed 8 passes in 10 attempts, giving way to backups throughout the second half. Clinton was flagged 10 times for 100 yards.
Touchdowns by Kadon Crawford, Zay Johnson, Kendarious Copeland, and Keleja Boyd along with a safety when the ball was snapped over the Aiken punter’s head in the end zone staked Clinton to a 30-0 lead, before Aiken scratched the scoreboard.
Johnson ran back the ensuing kickoff for a score and there was still 7:31 left until halftime. DJ Clark and Zane McLendon scored to advance the Clinton lead to 51-6 at halftime. A second touchdown by McLendon on the first drive of the second half and a second touchdown by Crawford, now substituting at quarterback, were the final Red Devil tallies.
For its Sept. 15 home game, Clinton High School will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its football program, which has won 8 State Championships.
The 2023 Red Devils are the No. 3 team in state AAA, behind Dillon and Daniel. Dillon lost Friday night to Hartsville, 51-34 --- Hartsville is the #2 team in state AAAA.
Daniel defeated Hart County, Ga., 52-21.
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