Woodruff is next, then playoffs
Late pick-six seals the win for Clinton over Emerald - TONIGHT - Woodruff wins, 17-7; Red Devils to Camden this Friday.
Getting up off the mat.
The Clinton Red Devils went from dejected last week to elated this week, as a 1-point loss to Newberry flipped to a 2 TD win over Emerald. The road game in Greenwood was not decided until 25 seconds were left on the game clock.
Clinton won 28-14 against a never-quit Emerald team on CK Vance’s second pick of the game – and a 23-yard touchdown run. “Super proud of our guys especially after a tough loss (to Newberry),” Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain said.
Clinton players gave Coach Fountain a Gatorade bath with the ice left in a cooler at game-end. The coach embraced and lifted up Red Devil senior running back Greg Sanders (video by Tex Glenn is on the CHS Athletics Facebook page).
The Red Devils could finish the season anywhere from 2nd to 4th in the region. The Clinton-Woodruff and Newberry-Mid-Carolina games will sort all that out this Friday. Union County is the region champion. The Region 3 AAA finishers will be matched up against Region 4 where Chester (defending AAA state champion), Camden and Fairfield-Central are fighting things out. All that positioning determines who travels where the Friday after next (Clinton missed the playoffs last season).
The last time Clinton won against Woodruff was 2013, a stunner for the host Wolverines at Willie Varner Stadium.
Clinton ran the ball for 245 yards against a young but aggressive Emerald team. The opponent’s freshman quarterback got knocked out of the game, and his replacement immediately threw a 70-yard completion from his own end zone to stun the Red Devil secondary; an ensuing touchdown cut the Clinton lead to 21-14.
Clinton’s sophomore quarterback Davis Wilson wheeled off a 53-yard run on one scoring drive and, twice, he pinned Emerald deep in the second half with punts – once on the 3, once on the 12-yard line.
Clinton got scoring runs from Kimon Quarles, Shy Kinard and Jykorie Gary, in addition to the Vance pick-six, his second interception of the game. Clinton overcame 4 turnovers to win against Emerald, which hosted the game on its artificial-turf field. The hosts held the ball for 7 minutes on an opening drive and did not score points. Once Clinton finally got the ball, the Red Devil offense score two 1st half touchdowns.
“It was a big win for our kids,” Fountain said on Saturday Morning Rewind. “They were able to regroup. We had a good week of practice and they were able to get after it.”
The Red Devil offense out-gained Emerald, 278 yards to 228, and went 2 for 2 on 4th down conversions. “The offensive line was driving the bus for us last night,” Fountain said. “We have to be sure they’re driving the bus for us every night if we’re going to be successful. The line of scrimmage is where the game is going to won or lost. Emerald wasn’t going to quit, they got after us all night.”
Talking about two first half drives for scores, Fountain said, “When you have two teams that run the ball like we do, time comes off clock. You’ve got to make it count. It was big for our defense to get a stop and get them off the field and get some rest.”
CK Vance’s second interception “was a very big play, it was huge. It put the game away,” Fountain said. “We were trying to keep him (Zacoyeis Elmore) from getting off the line so fast.”
Gaining the Red Devils 4th win of the year and taking a Gatorade bath, the coach said, “I enjoyed it. I was happy for the kids and the fans. We have one more game (after the regular season), hopefully, more games.”
This Friday’s Woodruff region contest, Fountain said “is a big game for seeding in the playoffs; there’s a lot of history between the two teams. We always want to win; every game we prepare to win. We’ve been watching film. Woodruff is not a big team but they’re very fast. They’ve got some explosive players on both sides of the ball.
“Our kids are excited; hopefully, our fans will come out to support us Friday night.”