The Clinton Dark Horses played 3A state runner-ups the Cape Fear Colts in a nail-biter Friday night, losing by six points as Cape Fear eked out a 13-7 victory.
“Bottom line is we had a pile of mistakes, and even with that we still had a chance to win,” said head coach Bob Lewis. “We hung in there tough and I believe we’ve got a chance to win a lot games this year.”
The Horses showed great signs in the opening series against Cape Fear, as their defense not only completely shut down all offensive progress, but ended that drive with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Zion Autry.
Cape Fear killed the momentum from that fumble recovery touchdown on the following drive as they marched down the field for a score before missing the point after attempt. That put the score at 6-7, a score that remained for the rest of the first quarter.
The Colts scored their second touchdown in the second quarter and converted on their extra point attempt, giving them the 13-7 lead, which they held for the rest of the game.
The Horses ran the ball well despite never finding the end zone, picking up all of their positive yardage on the ground. Clinton ended the night with 176 total yards rushing on 35 carries, averaging 5 yards per carry.
Rushing leaders included Kris Williams, who had 53 yards on 9 carries; AJ Williamson, who had 48 yards on four carries and Jaheim Faison, who tallied 40 yards on 13 carries.
The passing game was non-existent as the Horses had no positive yardage through the air, ending the night with 1 of 8 passing for -3 yards.
“Well we worked on that all summer,” Lewis said of the passing game. “I thought we were doing it pretty well in the scrimmage and in the Jamboree. Kris just had an off night and our pass blocking wasn’t up to par, so that’s just something we have to keep working on.”
Clinton’s defense played well against a team that was predicted to score in bunches against them. The defense managed to rack up 73 solo tackles, along with 6 assists for a total of 79 tackles, a sack and the fumble recovery for points.
Defensive leaders include Williamson, who had 11 solo tackles, Javiah Cruse, who had eight solo tackles, along with Williams and Donovan Sloan, who each had seven solo tackles.
“They played good. We were able to shut them out in the second half and they played well enough to give us a legitimate chance to win — we just couldn’t put the points on the board,” said Lewis.
The Dark Horses look to rebound after losing the opener as they host East Bladen on Aug. 25.
Reach Sports Editor Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.