The Dark Horses were victorious Friday night getting their first win of the season over the Southern Lee Cavaliers, winning the game 27-23.
It has been a slow start for the Horses this year losing its first three games, all of which have been close nail-biters that could have gone either way. This game was no different as it was a battle to the very end once again, but this time with Clinton coming out on top.
“Well we finally got the monkey off our back,” said head coach Bob Lewis. “It’s been a long time coming, but we worked hard this week and we came away with the win.”
While the Horses did come away with the win, they started off the game shaky putting themselves behind early and having to fight their way back most of the night.
With 5:32 left in the first quarter the Horses had a crucial fumble that Southern Lee recovered and ran in for a touchdown. Scoring the first TD of the night on the defensive side of the ball and going up 7-0 after a successful point after kick. Then on the following drive the Cavaliers came away with an interception that was also returned for a defensive score.
The PAT was good by Southern Lee, taking the lead to 14-0 with four minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Clinton defense had a few turnovers of their own the first coming under a minute in the first quarter after they recovered a fumble. They came alive after that as the Horses scored its first touchdown of the night at 11:01 in the second quarter, getting an easy score thanks to the field position after the fumble recovery.
Kris Williams scored that TD on a quarterback sneak at the goal line but they were still trailing 14-7 after a Chandler Perry PAT was good.
The Horses found the end zone again a few minutes later as Jaheim Faison scored on a rushing TD with around seven minutes left to go in the first half. They failed to tie the game as Perry missed the point after try bringing the score to 14-13.
Southern Lee was able to march the down field and put points on the board right before the half ended. The Cavs would get a 25-yard field goal with under a minute left to go. Ending the first half with a 17-13 lead and the momentum going into the locker room.
Not much excitement happened in the third quarter except the Horses scoring the only TD taking the lead after falling behind two scores early in the first.
Williams scored that touchdown on a quarterback keeper at the goal line again with 7:06 left in the third. Perry didn’t miss the PAT kick this time as Clinton led 20-17 riding that lead into the fourth quarter.
With possession at the start of the fourth the Horses struck again early further increasing their lead. Jalen Smith bullied the Cavs all night punishing would be tacklers as he found the end zone on this TD. With 11:07 left in the game the Dark Horses went up 27-17 after a successful PAT again by Perry.
Southern Lee didn’t go down quietly scoring immediately on their next drive following the CHS touchdown. They march down the field seemingly unstoppable getting a TD on a rushing play at 10:05 bring them closer to that Dark Horse lead.
They caught a break though as the Cavs missed the PAT kick putting the game at 27-23.
From then on it was a back and forth defensive battle with neither team finding the end zone again. The Cavaliers would have final possession of the ball with three minutes left in the fourth. They were finding success moving the ball downfield before the Clinton defense stepped up making the biggest play of the night.
Williams would come up with a spectacular one handed interception to kill the Cavs final drive with a minute left to go securing their win at 27-23.
Smith carried the load for Clinton ending the night with 127 yards and a touchdown.
“They got their first taste of victory so they know what it feels like, but now it’s up to them to continue it and keep it going,” Lewis concluded.
After getting their first win, the Dark Horses go to 1-3 on the season. Traveling next Friday, they will try and claim their second victory in the first conference match of the year against the James Kenan Tigers.
Reach Sports Editor Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.