The culture the Clinton Red Devils are trying to build was tested Friday night as the Mid-Carolina Rebels took a 13-0 lead in a road, region contest. Clinton is learning to take “a hit in the mouth,” then give one right back, eventually defeating the Rebels, 35-21.
It is an important win for Clinton, bunching them with others with 1-1 in Region 3, AAA (Mid-Carolina defeated Emerald last week). The Red Devils host Newberry this Friday in another important region game.
Mid-Carolina found a soft spot on the Clinton edge for a touchdown on the Rebels’ first possession. The Rebel defense intercepted a Davis Wilson pass, taking the ball to the Clinton 1-yard line. Mid-Carolina scored, but the conversion pass was broken up.
Clinton Head Coach Corey Fountain said, “That’s the culture we’re trying to build. If you get hit in the mouth, you better come back and hit them harder. We didn’t give up after going down two scores. We kept pounding the rock. Our guys kept blocking. We held onto the ball - we had a hiccup here and there, but the guys played great tonight. The defense, they gave up some things, but the coaches made some adjustments.”
Clinton pinned Mid-Carolina at the Rebels 5-yard line, and after a punt, junior running back Kimon Quarles ran in the Red Devils first touchdown. The Clinton defense held but a deep Mid-Carolina punt pinned Clinton at its own 4-yard line.
A personal foul penalty brought the ball out to the Clinton 14. From there the Red Devils put together a drive of over 6 minutes, as sophomore running back Jykorie Gary found pay dirt, with 1:14 until halftime.
Mid-Carolina fumbled the second half kick-off, and that gave Clinton the incentive it needed to score again. On 4th down, a Wilson to Quarles touchdown pass stretched the Clinton lead to 21-13. After a defensive stop, Clinton received a Mid-Carolina punt, and the Rebels were penalized for a coach coming off the sidelines.
Wilson hit senior running back Greg Sanders for a scoring pass and run into the end zone – Clinton led 28-13 with 1:05 left in the 3rd quarter. After a Clinton interception, Quarles scored again, and the Red Devils were cruising with a 35-13 lead.
The Rebels were not done, however. Mid-Carolina drove into scoring position and got a couple of do-overs on Clinton pass interference penalties. The Rebels ran in the night’s final score and converted a 2-pointer.
The final two Clinton scores were pass plays, one for 23 yards and the other for 15 yards, both on 4th down.
Fountain said, “Greg (Sanders) held on to the ball and ran it in. They were big plays for the game, period. To get that first region win, it was big for our kids tonight to get down but never go out. Super proud of our coaches and work they put in – super proud of our kids. God is good, man.”