The Clinton Dragons came out on the short end of a roller coaster game Friday night as they fell to visiting Campbell County 41-31.
The Dragons got off to a fast start as they took the opening possession and went 65 yards in nine plays as Anthony Shervington, Josh Breeden, Cody Parker, Luke Harrison, and Isaiah Washington had key carries early in the drive.
On fourth and five from the Campbell County 49-yard line, Washington picked up six yards running out of the Wildcat formation. Sticking with the formation, Washington picked up another nine yards and then broke a 34-yard run for a score.
Garrett Zody kicked the extra point to give Clinton a 7-0 lead with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter.
On their first possession, the Cougars moved the ball about 20 yards to midfield before they were forced to punt.
Three plays later, Washington broke free on a 60-yard touchdown run.
Zody added the extra point and the Dragons extended their lead to 14-0 with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
On the next Campbell County possession, the Cougars picked up a first down on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
On the next play, Clinton’s Cody Parker tipped a pass into the air. The Dragons’ Jayven Booker intercepted the ball and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
Zody added the extra point and Clinton led 21-0 with 2:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The veteran Cougars were not rattled. They took the next possession and used the passing attack triggered by Zach Rutherford to target four different receivers on an eight-play, 81-yard drive. It was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by Drew Jordan.
Riley Wallace kicked the PAT to trim the Dragons’ lead to 21-7 with 11:23 left in the first half.
Clinton was held to a three and out after a holding penalty negated a nice second down run by Andrew Niner.
The Campbell County aerial assault continued on the ensuing drive as they went 88 yards in six plays with the key play being a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rutherford to Elijah Phillips.
Wallace added the extra point and the Dragons’ advantage was cut to 21-14 with 7:50 left in the first half.
Clinton answered with a 13-play, 68-yard drive as Reagan McKamey, Cameron Washington, and Breeden each joined Isaiah Washington in the ground attack.
As time expired in the half, Zody kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Clinton a 24-14 halftime lead.
As good as the first half was for the Dragons, the second half was equally bad.
Campbell County scored on the second play of the half as Rutherford threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Paul.
The extra point attempt failed but the Clinton lead slipped to 24-20 with 11:35 left in the third quarter.
On the second play of the following possession, the Cougars’ Preston Bowman intercepted a halfback pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Wallace kicked the extra point and the Dragons’ lead was erased as Campbell County surged to a 27-24 lead with 10:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Clinton answered with a 16-play drive that consumed much of the rest of the quarter.
Facing fourth and six from the Cougars’ 31-yard line the Dragons missed on a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Campbell County opened the fourth quarter with a nine-play, 99-yard drive, which ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Rutherford to Paul.
Wallace added the extra point to push the Cougars’ lead to 34-24 with 9:59 left in the game.
On the first play of the next possession, Paul intercepted a halfback pass to give Campbell County the ball on the Dragons’ 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Rutherford threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Paul.
Wallace booted the PAT and the Cougars’ led grew to 41-24 with 8:59 left in the game.
Clinton responded with an eight-play, 84-yard drive. Shervington scored on a five-yard run and Zody kicked the extra point to cut the Campbell County lead to 41-31 with 4:52 remaining in the game.
The Cougars were able to run out the clock and get the wild win on Homecoming 2017 at Clinton.
“Their quarterback Zach Rutherford is really, really good. I’m surprised we didn’t get more pressure on him. If you don’t put any pressure in him he can stand there and pick you apart,” said Randy McKamey, head coach of the Dragons.
“Luke [Harrison] made some good decisions but because we run the ball so much, our receivers don’t get an opportunity to make many catches and that showed tonight with some drops. We had a very good week of practice and it’s hard to find these little moral victories but tonight we gained a lot of confidence on the offensive line,” he said.
Isaiah Washington led the explosive Dragons’ rushing attack with 152 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He finished with 227 all-purpose yards.
McKamey ran for 54 yards on eight carries and Cameron Washington added 44 yards on eight rushes.
Rutherford led the Cougars with 30-38 passing for 410 yards and four touchdowns.
Paul had 12 receptions for an eye-popping 262 yards and three touchdowns.
Christian England added 106 all-purpose yards for Campbell County.
Defensively, Breeden led the Dragons with 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and a big tip which led to an interception.
Trevor Linderman had nine tackles, including one for a loss, and Luke Johnson had eight tackles.
For Campbell County, Phillips and Paul each led the team with nine tackles while Paul had an interception.
Bailey Miller had eight tackles for the Cougars.
The Dragons fall to 2-7 overall, 0-4 in Region 3-5A while the Cougars improve to 7-2 overall, 3-2 in region play.
Clinton will end their season on Friday when they host Karns. It will be Senior Night for the the Dragons.
The Cougars close out the regular season at Knoxville West.
Kick-off for each game will be 7:30 p.m.
First downs 18 16
Rushing yds. 40 297
Passing yds. 410 53
Comp/att/int 30-38-1 5-11-2
Total yds. 450 350
Turnovers 1 2
Penalties 8-76 6-42
Time of poss. 18:21 29:10