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West ‘out big-plays’ Dragons

  • Anderson County’s Russell Lindsay wraps up East Ridge quarterback Cameron Sanders for a loss Friday night. - Collin Riggs

  • Nate Murphy fights through a tackle by a West defend- er on a rush for the Dragons. - Collin Riggs

Things started well for the Clinton Dragons Friday night, but didn’t end that way.

In addition to it being senior night, the Dragons opened the football game with a defensive stop and then put up the first points.

Clinton hosted West High School for the last home game of the season, and despite the great beginning, the Dragons fell 42-3.

Clinton switched up its offense this week in preparation to go against one of the highest-ranked programs in the state.

After stopping West’s first drive, the Dragons drove the ball into West territory before the Rebels finally managed to make a stop.

Even with the stop, though, Clinton’s Nikoli Cronin kicked a field goal for the Dragons to put them up 3-0.

Unfortunately, that’s all Clinton managed against West as the Rebels got their footing back and answered a minute later with a 47-yard pass that ended with a Rebel touchdown.

Five of the Rebels’ six touchdowns came from passing plays, which the Dragons had a rough time stopping. West finished with 204 passing yards to Clinton’s 124, and 166 rushing yards to Clinton’s 113, putting West at 370 total offensive yards for the game to Clinton’s 237.

“I thought the first drive was fantastic, other than we didn’t score a touchdown,” CHS Coach Darell Kieth said.

“We drove it all the way down the field,” he said. “First quarter it was 7-3. They couldn’t score one running touchdown, they just big-played us to death, and that’s a lot easier to fix than when they’re just driving it down your throat. They have a good running-back corps over there.”

Both teams caught myriad penalties, with Clinton’s seven penalties costing them 49 yards, and West’s nine costing the Rebels 90 yards.

Darrion Woodruff led the Dragons on rushing with 12 runs for a total of 81 yards.

Behind Woodruff, Reese King and Connor Moody netted 11 yards for the Dragons across six runs, and 10 yards on five runs, respectively.

Clinton freshman Joshua Keith resumed his position as starting quarterback.

Keith has started for the Dragons since Trace Thackerson’s injury earlier this season.

He passed for all 124 yards for the Dragons on 26 attempts, completing nine passes total and throwing only one interception.

Andy King put on a great show in the game, with four kickoff returns totaling 81 yards for the Dragons, while senior player Trent Herrell finished with Clinton’s only sack for the night, costing the Rebels 12 yards.

“What went well, though, is we didn’t stop,” Keith said.

“We kept fighting. We’re changing the culture, and even if nobody can see it right now, it’s the little things that I’m looking at. I got to take this thing inch by inch. Not like Butch Jones going brick by brick, I’ve got to go stick by stick.”

Keith also spoke on how grateful he was for all the fans who showed up to support the team.

“I’m very appreciative for [the fans],” he said. “We had a big turnout, and they deserved better. And we plan on giving them better.”