Meigs County upends visiting Dragons; Orange and Black threaten, but can’t find the end zone
The Meigs County Tiger’s football team expects to win at home on Friday nights.
And they did just that this past Friday, a 28-0 win over the Clinton Dragons.
The Tigers expect to win because they sport a twenty-five-plus regular season win streak, a quarter-final TSSAA 2A loss on the road to end the Tiger’s 2018 campaign, and a big, experienced, physical team.
“They’re a good team. They are big. They are physical,” Clinton Head Coach Randy McKamey said of his Friday night opponent.
Mckamey wanted to add a, “But …,”
He didn’t add a, “But.”
He just smiled: “We had the ball inside the 10-yard line four times,” he said. “Four times and we have (he pointed to the scoreboard where the Tiger faithful had kept it lit 20 minutes after the game) … That.
“That’s what we have to show for it.”
The Dragons were inside the 10-yard line four times and four times the Orange and Black miscued on first or second down (twice on one visit inside the 10), committed penalties (encroachment, holding), or forgot the steps to the dance that put them inside the 10 in the first place.
“It’s like we would get inside the 10 and … Crumble?” McKamey said. The head coach had a little trouble describing what, exactly, happened on those four instances because there was not one single thing to point to. “It was … Frustrating.”
Meigs County opened the game by letting the Dragons show off their defensive growth. After running six plays and threatening to on the Dragon side of the field the Tigers decided to test the Dragon defense via the air.
The result wasn’t what the Tigers may have expected.
Evan Winchester picked off the Tiger’s pass attempt and put the Dragons in business. Starting at the 27 the Dragon’s offense ran through the Tigers for tough yardage, Blake Cooper , Eli Deshomme, and Conner Moody hitting for short gains but moving the sticks.
But facing a fourth and long the Dragons turned the ball over on downs at the 21-yard line and the Tigers took advantage, using quarterback Aaron Swafford’s ability to “mosey.”
The Dragons did what they were supposed to do on defense: Force long yardage third downs, but then Swafford would run a sweep behind a plethora of blockers and pick his way to a first down. One of those runs resulted in a 32-yard jaunt for a score as time expired in the first quarter.
Swafford mosied for the Tigers’ second touchdown with 2:40 to play in the first half, again following a convoy of blockers as he picked his way for a 25-yard score.
The Dragons had pushed the Tiger defense earlier, making little threats while moving the ball, but it wasn’t until they were down 14-0 that the Orange and Black made a serious threat.
Sophomore Trace Thackerson, in his first varsity start, guided he Dragons to the Tiger 25.
Two big passes (14 and 25 yards) to Winchester set the stage, but then a miscue on a third and one and … Fourth and long was not Clinton’s friend.
“Trace (Thackerson) had a great game,” McKamey said. “First start, hostile territory … He was very poised. He was ready to take this responsibility.”
Meigs tacked on its third TD midway through the third quarter, Swafford again doing the damage from two yards out. Give the Tigers credit: Clinton’s Brice Collins pinned the Tigers near their own 20 with a booming punt. Swafford did most of the damage on the drive, following his entourage of blockers for enough gains to keep the chains moving.
A big stop by Dylan Stoutamire, Trevor Linderman, and Will Briggs seemed to have halted the drive. But an unsportsmanlike call away from the play on what could best be described as a push back, kept the Tiger drive alive.
The Dragons threatened once in the third quarter and two times in the fourth, but the inside the 10 bug bit them each time.
Will Meadows supplied the final score after Meigs picked off Thackerson’s only INT of the night, a “late in the game” heave that was returned for 23 yards by Tiger Ja’ir Beeler.
The last journey inside the 10 for Clinton came near the end of the game and after another series of setbacks pushed the Orange and Black back to the 15-yard line opted for a 31-yard field goal attempt from Noah Grumbach. The kick was ruled wide of the mark.
“We’ll get to work on Monday,” McKamey said. “Our kids will show up and we’ll get back to it.”