Clinton traveled to Rocky Point on Friday night for a Four County Conference contest with the Trask Titans. The Dark Horses got off to a sluggish start, shooting themselves in the foot time after time with penalties in the opening frame. After the halftime break the Horses cleaned up their act and dominated in the second half to pull away for the 56-13 win.
Trask took the opening kickoff and methodically drove the ball seventy five yards to take a 6-0 lead on an 8-yard touchdown pass at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter. The Dark Horses only needed 14 seconds to take the lead away as Derek Bryant fielded the Trask kickoff and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. Chandler Perry added the PAT kick to give Clinton the 7-6 lead at the 6:03 mark.
Perry boomed the ensuing kickoff over the Titan deep man’s head. When the Trask player retreated to field the ball Clinton’s kickoff team swarmed him under at the 8 yard line. On the first play of the drive the Horses defense forced a fumble that Frank Nelson pounced on, setting the Dark Horses up first and ten at the Titans 8 yard line. On Clinton’s first play from scrimmage fullback Rayquan Faison powered 8-yards into the end zone for the score and a 14-6 lead after Perry’s successful PAT kick.
The teams swapped punts on the next three possessions, eating up the remaining clock in the first quarter. The Titans pinned the Dark Horses at the 5 yard line early in the second quarter, getting a hand up in the field position battle. But Clinton quickly flipped the field on the Titans, when on the third play of the drive Ryheem Skinner broke around left end for an 80 yard touchdown scamper to give the Horses a 21-6 lead after Perry tacked on the point after kick with 10:33 remaining in the first half.
The Titans would answer quickly, taking a short kickoff out to their own 44-yard line then driving the ball 66 yards, with the last 36 yards coming on a pass play assisted by several missed tackles by Clinton defenders. After the PAT kick squeaked across the upright the Titans had trimmed the margin to 21-13 at the 8:19 mark of the second quarter.
The Dark Horses drove the ball into Titan territory on their next drive only to have Trask intercept a Williams pass putting a stop to the Dark Horse threat. Clinton’s defense forced a Titans punt on the next possession, giving the offense great field position at midfield with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
The Dark Horses gained good yardage on first and second downs, doing a good job managing the clock. A short slant pass to Jeremiah Pope moved the ball to the Titans 20-yard line and Clinton used its last timeout of the half to reset and call a play. Kris Williams rolled out and found Prentice Murphy at the goal line for a 20-yard touchdown pass, giving Clinton a 28-13 lead after Perry’s PAT kick sailed through the uprights with 28 seconds showing on the first half clock.
Trask chose to run out the clock, sending the teams to the locker room with Clinton holding the two score edge, putting an end to a first half marred by penalties, mostly against Clinton, and overall lackluster play from the Dark Horses.
Clinton looked like a different team in the second half as the defense stepped up and held the Titans to very little yardage while the offense was overpowering. Rayquan Faison scored touchdowns on Clinton’s first two possessions of the second half, running 42 and 30 yards for his second and third touchdowns of the game. With Faison’s two quick scores Clinton extended the lead to 42-13 at the 8:18 mark of the third quarter. Chandler Perry added PAT kicks after each of Faison’s scores.
Ryheem Skinner added his second score of the game, a 39 yard run to give Clinton the 49-13 lead after Perry’s seventh successful conversion of the night. Kris Williams would cap the scoring when he called his own number, plunging in from a yard out to move the score to 56-13 with Perry’s PAT kick.
Offensively the Dark Horses were led by Ryheem Skinner with 168 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Rayquan Faison eclipsed the century mark on the ground with 108 yards and three touchdowns on 9 carries. Kris Williams added 12 yards and a rushing touchdown on 3 carries. Williams was 3 for 6 passing the ball for 30 yards with a touchdown and 1 interception. Prentice Murphy caught one pass for 20 yards and a touchdown, Jeremiah Pope had one reception for 5 yards and Ryheem Skinner caught one pass for 5 yards.
On defense Frank Nelson and Prentice Murphy led the way with 10 stops each. Murphy caused a fumble that was recovered by Nelson. Devonte Smith added 9 stops, Jonathan Wright had seven tackles including two sacks and A J Williamson had 6 tackles and a sack.
After the game, Clinton head coach Bob Lewis said, “we had a bad first half and a good second half. We killed ourselves in the first half with 80-yards of penalties against us. It seemed like we took a step forward and two steps back every time we had the ball. There is not a lot you can say about it, every once in a while you run into a game like this when it seems like everything you do is wrong. I’m just happy to come out of it with the win”
Commenting on what the Horses have to work on for next week’s showdown against Wallace-Rose Hill Lewis added, “we have to be serious all week and we have to pay attention to detail, its a big week for us, it is a big game.”
The win over Trask improves Clinton’s record to 8-1 overall with a 6-0 conference mark. The Horses will wrap up the regular season next week with a home game against conference rival Wallace-Rose Hill. The Dark Horses will celebrate Senior Night with kickoff scheduled for 7:30.