The Clinton Dragons moved to 2-0 with a 13-8 win over visiting Seymour on Friday night.
Clinton took the opening possession and marched 67 yards in 10 plays in a crisp and efficient drive. Ro Hardin established the tone early as he opened with a 12-yard carry. Quarterback Luke Harrison, Isaiah Washington, and Cameron Washington also carried the ball on the drive as the Dragons went full ground and pound down to the Seymour 20-yard line. Harrison then found Hardin on 20-yard touchdown pass off of play action.
The extra point attempt was blocked but Clinton led 6-0 with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
The Dragons defense forced a three and out as Luke Johnson and Trevon Hill helped shut off the Eagles’ ground game. The Seymour punt touched a Clinton player and the Eagles recovered the ball at the Dragons’ 45-yard line.
The Eagles attempted some trickery as they went for a double pass. The quarterback threw a lateral to a back swinging out of the backfield and he fired a deep pass downfield to an apparent open receiver. Clinton’s Cody Parker quickly closed on the play and batted the ball down, saving a sure touchdown.
The Dragons again forced a three and out with the punt resulting in a touchback.
Starting from its 20-yard line, the Dragons opened with a 12-yard pass from Harrison to Andrew Shoopman. They pulled off some chicanery of their own when Hardin fired a halfback pass to Anthony Krause for a 42-yard gain.
The drive stalled on the Seymour 17-yard line as the Dragons turned the ball over on downs.
The Eagles went back to the ground game but a holding penalty and a huge tackle for loss by Christian Hopper forced Seymour to punt again.
Clinton started from its own eight-yard line but could only pick up a couple of yards and had to punt it away.
The Eagles took over in great field position at the Clinton 33-yard line. Six plays later Seymour was knocking on the door with a second and goal from the Clinton one-yard line. A jarring tackle on the interior of the line knocked the ball loose and the Dragons’ Johnny Hunter recovered it on the two-yard line.
The Dragons were held to a three and out and again forced to punt. Zody got off a beautiful punt to push Seymour back to its own 47-yard line. Two plays later, Jayven Booker forced a fumble and recovered it to give Clinton the ball on the Eagles’ 46-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the half.
After a penalty moved the ball back 10 yards, Harrison found Cameron Washington for 18 yards and then Parker for 14 more. A nine-yard pass from Harrison to Cody Miles gave the Dragons the ball on the Seymour 18-yard line with 5.7 seconds remaining in the half. Opting to go for one last play before a field goal attempt, Harrison was flushed from the pocket and fired an incomplete pass as time expired.
Clinton clung to a 6-0 halftime lead.
On the third play of the second half Clintons’ Isaiah Washington intercepted a pass to set the Dragons up at the Seymour 26-yard line.
Hardin then took a handoff and raced 26 yards into the end zone.
Zody kicked the extra point and the Dragons led 13-0 with 10:17 remaining in the third quarter.
Seymour then put together a 10-play drive and took the ball to the Clinton 25-yard line before turning it over on downs.
The Dragons moved the ball to the Eagles’ 49-yard line before the drive stalled. Facing fourth and two, Clinton lined up in punt formation. The snap went to the up man but he was stopped short and Seymour took over at the 50-yard line.
On the very next play, the Eagles’ Naaman Webb threw a halfback pass to a wide-open Ryan Stinnett for a touchdown.
Gabe Kitts pounded in the two-point conversion and the Clinton advantage was suddenly trimmed to 13-8.
The Dragons went back to the ground attack that served them so well in the early going as Hardin had gains of 15, four, and eight yards while Cameron Washington had several short gains to help move the ball down to the Seymour 43-yard line before they turned it over on an interception early in the fourth quarter.
Once again the Clinton defense stepped up as the Eagles went for it on fourth and two from the Dragons’ 32-yard line. Johnson dropped the ball carrier for a loss and Clinton took over on its own 34-yard line.
They put together an 11-play drive that took them all the way to the Seymour six-yard line. Facing fourth and one, the Dragons went for and again fell short giving the Eagles one last possession in the game.
In four plays Seymour moved from its own eight-yard line to its own 30-yard line. Eagles’ quarterback Webb lined up in the shotgun and attempted to spike the ball to stop the clock, as they had no timeouts left. By rule, Seymour was whistled for intentional grounding. On the next play Webb threw the ball over the middle and a leaping Anthony Shervington pulled in the interception and sealed the win for the Dragons.
“This team is finding a way to fight and scrap. This game could have been a blowout with all due respect to Seymour but I’m a firm believer in life that most things happen for a reason. Do we need to learn how to fight? Do we need to learn to play for four quarters? It should have been 21 or maybe 24-0 at the half but at the end of the day we got a lot of conditioning in. We learned how not to give up and how to battle — that may pay off for us down the road,” said Randy McKamey, head coach of the Dragons.
He also had positive things to say about the defense.
“We gave up that halfback pass and I don’t know there was another 20-yard plus play all night. We’ve always said, ‘Bend but don’t break. Make them go the distance of the field,’” McKamey said.
Hardin led Clinton with 79 yards rushing on nine carries with a touchdown. He also had a recption for 20 yards and a touchdown. Hardin was also 1-1 for 42 yards passing.
Cameron Washington had 76 yards on 11 carries while Isaiah Washington had 39 yards on 11 carries.
Nine different Dragons carried the ball Friday night.
Harrison finished 4-8 for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Johnson led Clinton with nine total tackles. Trevor Linderman recorded eight total stops, including a sack and a tackle for loss.
Booker had six total tackles including a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Shervington (five total tackles) and Isaiah Washington (four total tackles) each had an interception.
The Dragons have are off this week and will return to action on Sept. 8 when they host rival Anderson County.
First downs 10 15
Rushing yds. 90 202
Passing yds. 111 100
Comp./att./int. 8-16-2 5-9-1
Total yds. 201 302
Turnovers 4 2
Penalties 10-74 6-59
Time of poss. 22:59 25:01