Dragons come up short, but have good home opener

  • Cole Phillips prepares to shake off a tackle during the game against Halls. - Collin Riggs

  • Tate Russell, after fighting through six Halls defenders, holds the ball forward as he jumps into the end zone. - Collin Riggs

Clinton gave Halls a run for its money in a game of football full of penalties, fumbles, and interceptions, but came up short, 29-14.

Clinton hosted Halls on Friday, Sept. 3, in the Dragons’ home opener.

Halls started the night with a 45-yard pass from Tae Tucker to Ty Humphrey to score the first touchdown of the game with four minutes left in the first quarter, and followed that with another touchdown less than a minute later.

Clintons first score didn’t come until midway through the second quarter with a 23-yard pass from Joshua Keith to Jeremiah Blauvelt. Clinton started the second half down by only six points, but after a safety against Clinton midway through the third, followed by another touchdown for Halls, it became clear where the direction of the game was headed.

Clinton didn’t give up, though, scoring a final touchdown in the fourth quarter with an 18-yard run by Keith.

Clinton gave up six sacks for a loss of 45 yards, compared with Halls’ single sack allowed, made by Connor Moody, that caused a loss of 13 yards. The game at times moved at a crawl from the amount of penalties, with the final total being 29 penalties between both teams. Clinton finished with 10 penalties for a loss of 78 yards, while Halls finished with 19 for a total loss of 165 yards.

“We’re young, we’re gonna make mistakes, but we’re continuing to get better, and we might win three or four or five games this year,” Dragon Head Football Coach Darell Keith said.

Both teams fumbled multiple times as well, with Clinton fumbling four times and losing possession twice, while Halls fumbled twice and lost possession once. Once during the game, Clinton intercepted the ball, only to lose it again two plays later due to a fumble.

On receptions, Wesley Phillips led the Dragons, going for 43 yards across six catches, while Braylon Taylor came up close behind with 34 yards on five catches. Andy King finished with 68 yards on two receptions and Jeremiah Blauvelt finished with four for 69 yards.

Darell Keith, head coach of the Dragons, talked about how the game went.

“I wasn’t happy that we lost. I thought we were a play or two away from winning. I don’t believe in moral victories, but I can’t kick the kids because they gave us everything they had. The effort is there, and it’s been there every week, but what’s hurting us is lack of reps. All the effort in the world can’t make up for if you’re out of position or something like that.

“Still, I think we improved. Our tackling was phenomenal. I couldn’t have been more proud of my kids on that eight-play goal line stand. I don’t have a lot negative to say. They played hard, but those lack of reps catches up with you when you’re facing off against someone as polished as Halls. We won the turnover battle, and we had some big plays too. I’m not here to make any excuses.”

The Dragons host Meigs County this week, on Fri, Sept. 11.