SPARTANBURG – Clinton football has a longer way to go than Broome High School and Royal Stadium.
Two Centurions, quarterback Branden Taylor and Keyvon Graham, did most of the damage in Broome’s 42-7 victory over the Red Devils on Friday night.
Taylor threw four touchdown passes. Graham caught two of them and rushed for a third.
The whole game could have been summarized in the wild contrast of Broome’s first two plays. On first down, the Clinton defense stacked up Graham at the line of scrimmage. On second, Graham caught a 65-yard pass from Taylor.
On the Centurions’ next possession, Graham needed just one play, a 43-yard gallop.
The game was two minutes and 42 seconds old, and the Red Devils were two touchdowns behind.
The only star of any brightness in Clinton’s night was a 16-play, 99-yard touchdown drive that included a 33-yard rush by Kimon Quarles and culminated in Titus Hood’s five-yard dash for a score. Eighteen seconds remained in the first quarter, and for the next two minutes, 33 seconds on the clock, Clinton (0-2) was within a touchdown.
Clinton head coach Andrew Webb had no options for a happy spin on this night.
“If we don’t find ways to get tougher, it doesn’t matter who our opponent is, it doesn’t matter who we play, if we don’t get tougher, the results ain’t going to change,” he said. “We didn’t play tough football on offense or defense. There’s a lot of things we need to get better at, and we’re not going to get better until we get tougher.”
The Red Devils and Centurions were actually deadlocked in first downs. Clinton outrushed Broome (2-1), 215-157, but Broome’s average gain for each of its 49 plays was 7.3 yards.
Taylor completed 12 of his 23 passes for 212 yards. Graham rushed for 83 yards and caught only only two passes but gained 96 yards on them.
The start was nightmarish. The rest was wearying. And frustrating. Clinton, which visits Powdersville next week, was flagged for 91 yards of penalties. It had twice the time of possession but only a seventh of the points. Broome scored on drives of two, one, nine, seven, six and five plays.
With 9:23 left in the game, Hood broke away on a 14-yard run that saw him slip and break three tackles, but the fourth Broome defender stripped the ball loose, and five plays later, the Centurions scored their final touchdown. On the next Red Devil possession, Hood broke loose again and clung to the ball during another double-figures gain.
The play was nullified by penalty.
It was that kind of night all around.
Clinton 7 0 0 0 – 7
Broome 14 14 0 14 --42
B – Keyvon Graham 65 pass from Branden Taylor (Will Cleapor kick) 11:14 1st
B – Graham 43 run (Owen Wilson kick) 9:18 1st
C – Titus Hood 5 run (Sam Tiller kick) 0:18 1st
B – Graham 31 pass from Taylor (Wilson kick) 6:05 2nd
B – Taylor 3 run (Wilson kick) 6:05 2nd
B – Connor Bridges 23 pass from Taylor (Wilson kick) 9:40 4th
B – Markus Lindsay 9 pass from Taylor (Wilson kick) 7:44 4th
RUSHING – Clinton: Greg Sanders 15-80, Kimon Quarles 11-75, Titus Hood 11-25, Navill Watson 4-19, JyKorie Gary 3-16, Jay Grant 1-2, Konnor Richardson 1-(2), Nigel Fant 3-(1); Broome, Graham 6-83, C.J. Littlejohn 8-40, Bryant Davis 4-28, Jesse Lee 1-9, Brenden Taylor 5-9, Dorrien Petty 1-3, K.J. Morgan 1-(15).
PASSING – Clinton: Richardson 4-11-0 45; Broome: Taylor 12-23-0 212.
RECEIVING – Clinton, P.J. Bluford 4-45; Broome: Jayden Herr 3-28, Graham 2-96, Ethan Jones 2-34, Connor Bridges 1-23, Littlejohn 1-17, Lindsay 1-9, Bryant Davis 1-3.