Tyshauwan Richardson’s running touchdown just before halftime buried the Laurens Raiders in a 28-0 hole they never climbed out of, in Clinton’s 49-7 dismantling of the Raiders on their home field.
The #3 team in AAA in the state, Clinton ran all over the AAAA Raiders to start the game, scoring on the Red Devils first drive of the game, then again with 3:01 left to play in the first quarter, then on the second play of the second quarter, then on Richardson’s broken-field scamper.
It's something his coach wants to see him do – NOT to throw into coverage and take chances, but rather to pull it down and use his legs to extend plays.
Clinton held Laurens on 4th down in Red Devil territory with 7:11 to play in the first half. Laurens didn’t seriously threaten again until a long quarterback run and fumble out of bounds at the Clinton 1-yard line, with about 6 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. That’s when they pushed across their touchdown.
“Our kids just showed a lot of resiliency. Our guys, a lot of them go both ways. It’s a testament to the work they’ve put in all summer long. Our defense had a great game. Tyshuwan Richardson (junior quarterback) did a great job extending plays. The offense did a good job in the first half, but the defense really turned it on all night; proud of our defense,” Clinton Head Coach Corey Fountain said.
“Proud of the offensive line for opening holes. Proud of the backs, they blocked really well for each other. Brett Young just had an outstanding night at linebacker; he was all over the place putting pressure on the quarterback, had a blocked a punt on special teams, got an interception.
“A great job a team effort, just proud of all the Red Devils,” Fountain said. “We had some guys licking their wounds at halftime – I’m tired, I’m cramping up – but they turned it on in the second half, smelled blood in the water, and we got after it.”
“We gave up way too much field position on special teams, and we really hurt ourselves defensively,” Laurens Head Coach Darryl Smith. “I saw some players tackling a little better at times, but it's still not where we need to be to be a very good team.”
That blood in the water that Coach Fountain referred to was especially evident as Clinton blocked a punt and MJ Henderson did a scoop and score with 8:33 left in the game. Brett Young put things away with an interception, just after a punishing hit on Laurens QB Nick Danciu, who went into the high school version of the transfer portal this past week. He was playing for Hillcrest when the Rams spoiled the Raiders home opener 55-9 last Friday. Then he became the Raiders starting quarterback this week, passing for 109 yards against Clinton.
“We heard that Laurens was working out a new starting quarterback,” Fountain said.
Danciu and his receivers’ effort wasn’t enough to dig Laurens out of a first half hole when the Raiders ran the ball for minus 18 yards against the swarming Red Devil defense.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s run game was going for 8 yards per carry, in a brutal heat that caused the contest by SC High School League rule to be moved back to 8 p.m. from the normal 7:30 p.m. starting time. Even then, it was 89 degrees when the coin was tossed and the combined Clinton and Laurens marching bands played The National Anthem at KC Hanna Stadium. It was Clinton’s third consecutive win of the county championship, but the series is dead even over the past 18 matchups.
This Friday, Clinton, 2-0, plays its first home game, against Newberry – the Clinton Newberry Natural Gas Authority is sponsoring a champion belt for the winner. Laurens, 0-2, plays its third consecutive home game against Belton-Honea Path.
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