A tough defensive battle played out in Dark Horse Stadium Friday night, with the visiting No. 14 East Bladen Eagles upsetting No. 3 Clinton on a 7-14 score in the first round of the state playoffs. The Eagles came ready to avenge a 1 point regular season loss at East Bladen when the Horses brought home a 21-20 win.
Starting off the night with tough competition, the Horses managed to keep East Bladen out of the end zone for the majority of the first quarter. With just 3:42 left, East Bladen scored their first TD of the night. With an extra point added to their score, East Bladen had 7 while Clinton was left with 0.
Continuing the battle, an Eagle caught a touch down pass in the end zone to add to East Bladen’s lead with 5:38 left in the first half. After a good kick, the score was now 14-0 as the clocked counted down before intermission.
After a halftime show provided by the Clinton High School Marching Band, Clinton and East Bladen returned to the field and both teams were determined to keep the other out of the end zone. They both succeeded in that respect.
It was the start of the fourth quarter before the Dark Horses finally crossed the goal line.
Clinton got their hands on the ball at 11:52 in the fourth quarter with Kris Royal throwing a 26 yard pass to Chandler Whitfield who made it into the endzone and scoring the Horses only TD on the night.It was followed by a good kick. Despite never giving up, this was the last touch down of the night.
Quarterback Jonathan Wright completed 4 of 8 passes for 53 yards, with 2 interceptions. Kris Royal completed 2 passes; one for 7 yards and 1 TD catch for 26 yards. In the air, Chandler Whitfield had 72 yards.
Rushing, Silas Herring managed 92 yards on 17 carries, while Julian Wilkins went 45 yards on 10 carries.
The Dark Horse defense was led by Tyler McNeil with 9 tackles; T.J. Boone, 8 tackles; Kenneth Ford, 8 tackles and 1 fumble recovery; Elexus Raines, 6 tackles and 1 fumble recovery; and Kevin West with 5 tackles.
Clinton ended the season with 7 wins and only losing 4. The Eagles’ record moves to 7-5 and they take on the winner of S.W. Onslow vs. Jordan Matthews next Friday night.