PENDLETON – The distance from Clinton to Pendleton, a place the Red Devils had never visited, was 73 miles. After the Bulldogs demolished the Red Devils, 39-6, on Friday night, the bus ride home must have seemed like Constantinople to Kingdom Come.
What went wrong? What didn’t?
Clinton quarterback Konnor Richardson suffered an apparent broken left forearm.
Three Pendleton (3-2) touchdowns were of more than 50 yards.
The final Bulldog touchdown occurred when a Jamal Blakley pass hit a Red Devil defender in the hands and bounced into the arms of the Bulldogs’ Sidney Mattison.
After the first Pendleton score, the ball was snapped – snapped, mind you – diagonally to outside the left hash, where not only could Jason Wright have walked into the end zone for a two-point conversion, but the play looked slightly like a small band marching in.
“We had a bunch of Achilles heels,” Clinton head coach Andrew Webb said, “but getting off to a slow start is killing us. It’s not like we don’t know it. We’ve got to find a way to avoid that, fix that, remedy it, all those things. We’ve got to put that behind us.”
The Jamal Blakley-led Bulldog offense piled up 508 total yards, 257 rushing and 251 passing. Blakley, a senior, completed 14 of his 25 pass attempts, two for touchdowns, and rushed six times for 80 yards, leading the Bulldogs in both categories.
The game’s leading rusher, however, was Clinton’s Greg Sanders with 13 carries for 88 yards.
During a nightmarish first half in which Pendleton piled up 29 points, Clinton twice ran out of downs deep in opposition territory, once at the 11 and once at the six.
The Red Devils finally scored with 9:57 remaining in the third quarter on Darien Bailey’s two-yard run at the end of a 10-play, 72-yard drive.
Pendleton recovered Sam Tiller’s onsides kick attempt, and the Bulldogs scored three plays later on Blakley’s 54-yard caroming pass to Mattison.
Clinton scored points only once in four advances inside the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line. In Richardson’s stead, Navill Watson, a sophomore, acquitted himself well, completing three of his eight pass attempts. Before suffering the injury, to his non-throwing arm, Richardson hit six out of 17.
The Pendleton offense moved rather quickly, averaging 9.2 yards for each of its 55 plays. Clinton’s norm for 68 plays was 3.9.
Now the urgency rises. Clinton (1-4) begins the Region 3-3A schedule at Union County next week.
Clinton 0 0 0 6 – 6
Pendleton 15 14 0 10 – 39
P – Jason Wright 17 pass from Jamal Blakley (Jason Wright run) 9:33 1st
P – Payton Bunch 62 run (Sam Andrae kick) 5:00 1st
P – Blakley 67 run (Andrae kick) 8:13 2nd
P – Wright 8 run (Andrae kick) 2:55 2nd
C – Darien Bailey 2 run (pass failed) 9:57 4th
P – Sidney Mattison 54 pass from Blakley (Andrae kick) 8:40 4th
P – Andrae 25 FG 0:26 4th
RUSHING: Clinton, Greg Sanders13-88, Nigel Fant 3-45, Darien Bailey 8-36, Titus Hood 1-11, Navill Watson 8-5, Cameron Nichols 1-2, Konnor Richardson 7-0, Kimon Quarles 1-(4), Jeremiah Boyd 1-(4), Totals 43-179; Pendleton, Blakley 6-80, Bunch 1-62, Wright 12-59, Amir Dendy 8-39, Quentieon Greenlee 3-17, Totals 30-257.
PASSING: Clinton, Richardson 6-17-1 67, Watson 3-8-1 20, Totals 9-25-2 87; Pendleton, Blakley 14-25-1 251.
RECEIVING: Clinton, Boyd 3-22, P.J. Bluford 2-39, Nichols 2-18, Bailey 1-8, Campbell 1-0; Pendleton, Mattison 6-116, Zaime Green 2-30, Bunch 2-29, Wright 2-25, Jacari Clark 1-26, Greenlee 1-15, Clay Martin 0-10.
INTERCEPTIONS: Clinton, Bluford 1-53; Pendleton, Tamyus Davis 1-14, Bunch 1-0.