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Things got a little better for Union County in the second half. Against Clinton, the #3 AAA team in the state, the Yellow Jackets had just 8 yards of offense in the first half; but wound up with 60 yards of total offense. Plus, 2-4 Union County, playing with wide receiver MJ Porter under center in place of starting quarterback Ben Black, managed a touchdown pass after a long kickoff return against the Red Devil reserves.

But that was the only highlight. Clinton won the region game, 61-7, to send a message to the rest of the region that the road to top seeding in the playoffs goes through a tough Red Devil defense. It was Clinton’s top points production of the 2022 season.

That doomsday defense held Union County to 1 for 10 on 3rd down and surrendered just 3 first downs all game. If rules had allowed it, the running clock would have started in the second quarter – instead of in the second half/third quarter as Clinton reached the 42-point lead that triggers a non-stoppage “mercy rule.”

Clinton’s offensive production was a rather ordinary 291 yards on 37 plays. The Red Devils never had to drive the ball, because Union County couldn’t punt – the injured quarterback Black also was the Yellow Jackets punter.

Bryson James constantly wrecked the Yellow Jackets on punts and kicks – blocking one punt, forcing a fumble on another, blocking another that Brett Young recovered for a touchdown, and adding a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to his 70 yards rushing.

Because Clinton never had to sustain a drive, the Red Devils committed just two penalties for 15 yards.

“It was a pretty clean game. We can’t get comfortable” was Clinton Football Head Coach Corey Fountain’s assessment.

Clinton now has a bye week, while the rest of Region 4 has to battle among itself – Woodruff against Emerald and Union County against Chester. Woodruff will be Clinton’s Oct. 14 opponent for Homecoming.

Senior Quarterback Austin Copeland attempted one pass and completed one pass, for 22 yards and a touchdown, and ran for a touchdown. That scoring run came after a Justin Copeland interception. He gave way to junior backup signal caller Bryce Young in the second quarter.

Clinton missed a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, then James ran back the second half kickoff 90 yards for a Clinton score. The Red Devils got the ball first to start the second half after winning the coin toss and deferring its choice – James called “tails” to win the pre-game coin toss.

“We told them all week we want to make a difference on special teams,” Fountain said. “We want to continue scoring on special teams. It gives the guys goals, and they get after it on special teams.”