The Norris Middle School Senators used some last minute heroics by Anthony White to pick up an 18-12 over the Clinton Middle School Hawks last Thursday at City of Clinton Field.
In the early going neither team could get much offense working as Clinton opened with a three and out.
The Senators used the running of White and Gavin Noe to pick up a first down before their drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs near midfield.
Once again the Hawks were held to a three and Norris took over on its own 25-yard line.
A three-yard gain by Noe and a nine-yard rush by White set up the Senators with a first down on their own 37-yard line. Quarterback Tate Russell then found Garrison Terry for a 43-yard gain down to the Clinton 20-yard line. Two plays later, White rambled around the right side of the Hawks’ defense for 15 yards and the score.
The two-point conversion attempt failed but the Senators led 6-0 with 24.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Conner Moody picked up seven yards on first down but that was as far as the drive went and the Hawks were forced to punt yet again.
Norris drove to midfield but the Hawks’ defense forced a turnover on downs at midfield and the Clinton offense took over on its own 46-yard line. Moody ran for gains of 13 and three yards before Trace Thackerson threw a pass that Tyler Morgan caught off of a deflection and ran it in for an apparent 42-yard touchdown pass. The play was called back due to an illegal block. It looked as though the Hawks’ promising drive was stalled as they faced a fourth and five at the Norris 20-yard line. Thackerson connected with Javon Rodd for a 10-yard gain and the first down. Thackerson then ran up the middle for an eight-yard gain to bring up second and goal from the Norris two-yard line.
As time expired in the half, Thackerson found Andy King in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 6-6.
The two-point conversion attempt failed and the teams went into the half tied.
Clinton opened the second half with an onside kick and recovered it at its own 45-yard line. Three plays later, and behind the blocking of Chase Glandon, Caleb Cook, Sam Whitaker, Kayden “Bull” Goodman, and Dawson Woodard, Moody broke free for 54 yards and the touchdown.
The two-point conversion attempt failed and but the Hawks led 12-6 with 6:53 remaining in the third quarter.
The Senators responded with an eight-play, 59-yard drive, which featured a heavy dose of White carrying the ball. Following the blocking of Sully Sexton, Austin Colburn, Jaxon Noe, Steven Beaty, and Shawn Hill, he rushed for gains of 20, five, seven, and 12 yards en route to the end zone to tie the game at 12-12 with 4:16 left in the third quarter.
The two-point point conversion attempt failed.
Both teams finished the quarter trading punts and field position and the trend continued until late in the fourth quarter.
With a less than four minutes remaining in the game, the Hawks took over at the 50-yard line. The ground attack of Moody and Cole Tedora moved the ball down to the Norris 38-yard line before an illegal procedure penalty pushed the ball back to the 43-yard line. Facing third and 13, Thackerson fired a pass down the sideline and King made a beautiful diving catch for a 23-yard gain and a first down at the Norris 20-yard line with about a little more than a minute left in the game. The play was negated by an illegal procedure penalty. The Hawks lost five yards on third and 18 and were forced to punt.
White was back for Norris and he fielded the punt and brought it back 73 yards for the touchdown.
The two-point conversion attempt failed but the Senators led 18-12 with 56.4 second remaining in the game.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, the Hawks attempted a halfback pass and none other than White was there for the interception.
The Senators ran out the clock and left with the win.
“We had some guys step up defensively that haven’t played like that all year. Koby Hamilton had three key tackles. Conrad Donlan had some key tackles. Nick McCall and Steven Beaty really came to play tonight. It’s hard to win on the road and we’re glad to get out of here with one,” said Richie Noe, head coach of the Senators following the game.
“It’s a tough way to lose a game but it just means we’ve got to get better. They [Norris] didn’t do anything we didn’t think they were going to do and we just didn’t tackle well. Penalties also bit us at the worst times tonight as well,” said Eric Woodard, head coach of the Hawks.
Norris will host Jefferson on Thursday while the Hawks travel to Robertsville.