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"It's a special place to play football"

Large crowd sees a blocked punt give Clinton the edge it needs to defeat Newberry, a football opponent since 1920


Clinton football players get to sleep in this morning.

The team, which has gotten used to 6 a.m. practices to beat the summer heat, was given a 7:30 a.m. practice call for Saturday by Head Coach Corey Fountain, a reward for a workmanlike 42-7 home win Friday over Newberry.

The two teams first played football in 1920.

“I thought our guys played with a lot of intensity,” Fountain said. “I thought our offense executed well. Our defense all night long played lights out. Special teams pinning them down, we won the field position battle. I think overall it was a great team effort, and that’s what it takes to be a great football team and we’ve just got to get better.

“One thing that’s a little disheartening is some of the injuries we’re getting and it’s kind of snowballing but, hopefully, those will slow up. There’s nothing we can do about that; that’s out of our control.”

A blocked punt gave Clinton the break it needed to score first, and it was all by design.

“We’ve had meetings this week with our special teams,” Fountain said. “We’ve watched a lot of film. Coach Spangler had a block dialed up for their punt and they executed it. They did a great job.”

In earning the win, Clinton got the right to be the first holder of the Battle of the Belt, sponsored by the Clinton Newberry Natural Gas Authority. For the first time, the belt was awarded to the winning team to keep for a year, and an Academic MVP was selected, for Clinton it was Keegan Fortman, and a game MVP was selected, for Clinton it was junior quarterback Tyshauwan Richardson.

Kadon Crawford blocked the Newberry punt, recovered by Carson Glenn, and then scored Clinton’s first touchdown on a pass from Richardson giving Clinton a 7-0 lead with 4:42 to play in the 1st quarter. Newberry came back with a score on a long pass play resulting from confusion in the Clinton defensive secondary.

Kendarious Copeland got the Red Devils back on top, but the game was still  manageable for Newberry even with the 14-7 Clinton lead with 7:37 to play before halftime. Zay Johnson changed that with a scoring catch with 37 seconds before halftime. After the break, Chris Boyd added a pick six, right after Newberry had taken the ball on an interception; and Richardson capped the third quarter scoring binge with a broken field TD run with 1:28 on the third quarter clock.

Clinton recovered a Newberry kickoff fumble, but Johnson’s TD catch was nullified by an illegal man down field penalty. It was just a minor setback for Clinton, however.

Javen Cook flew into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Clinton an insurmountable lead. Brett Young closed things out with a late in the game interception.

Looking ahead to the next opponent, Aiken, Fountain said, “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. I know that Aiken is a little young this year. They had some guys transfer out with a coaching change.”

That Aiken game will be Homecoming and the second of three consecutive home contests for the 3-0 Red Devils. The Sept. 15 game against always tough Chapman will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Clinton High Football.

This was an “awesome crowd,” Fountain said. “We appreciate Red Devil Nation coming out and packing the house. I know our boys appreciate that and (they appreciate) everybody involved with making this such a great atmosphere each and every Friday when we play at home.

“It's a special place to play football.”