Lightning struck literally and figuratively in the Clinton Dragons’ 21-7 scrimmage win over visiting Christian Academy of Knoxville on Friday.
The Dragons rolled up 405 yards in only 37 plays and could have scored more times as they came up short of the goal line on three occasions deep in Warrior territory.
“I thought we left about 21 points out there on the field,” said Dragon head Coach Darell Keith afterward.
Keith’s son, Joshuah, racked up 281 yards on 7-for-11 passing with no interceptions. He also scored once on a rush.
“I thought he had a real good game,” Keith said. “I thought he kept his composure. I thought he made some real good plays. I was very proud of him.”
Third-year quarterback Keith completed several chunk plays, connecting on six passes for 37 yards or more, often dropping the ball right in stride to receivers streaking down the sideline in coverage.
“He looked like a junior,” his dad said. “He looked like a seasoned quarterback, like he’s done this before.”
Clinton receiver Lucas Kendall hauled in four passes, each for at least 40 yards, for a total of 173 yards. Chauncey Felts led the Dragon rushing attack with 59 yards on seven carries.
D’mon Marable made the hit of the year — so far — on defense and caught a 63-yard pass from Keith on offense.
The Dragon defense harassed CAK into several high snaps and minus-yardage plays. Dylan Spurlock of the Dragons had two sacks of 9 and 8 yards on consecutive plays to frustrate the Warriors, who rushed for only 17 yards on 22 carries.
“I think my defense is the strong suit of my team,” Keith said.
Clinton opened the scrimmage by forcing a three-and-out on CAK’s first possession. On second down, Marable blasted a Warrior receiver into a dropped pass on one of the hardest hits in recent Dragon memory.
The Dragons marched 70 yards in seven plays to open the scoring on their first drive. Kendall caught a 40-yard pass from Keith on the first play, and Felts rushed 15 yards for another first down on the second snap. Five plays later, Javon Rodd scored for the Dragons on a 2-yard run. Jacob Prewitt’s first of three extra points made it 7-0 Clinton in the first quarter.
CAK made two first downs on its next drive, during which there was a 30-minute lightning delay. After play resumed, Chase Glandon and Caleb Cook sacked the Warrior quarterback for a 7-yard loss, leading to CAK’s second punt of the game.
The Dragons then marched to the Warrior 1-yard line but failed to score. Felts started the series with a 29-yard run. Jawan Goins caught a 37-yard Keith toss, and Keith himself added an 11-yard run to set up fourth-and-goal at the 1, but the Dragons could not score on their fourth-down play. Two false-start penalties on Clinton also helped stall the drive.
Spurlock’s two sacks offset a 43-yard pass play for CAK on the Warriors’ next drive and led to another punt.
Kendall caught passes of 46 and 44 yards on the Dragons’ ensuing drive, but time expired in the first half after the second pass with the ball on the Warrior 1-yard line again.
Clinton took care of matters quickly on the first drive of the second half. Marable caught a short pass at the Dragon 30, shook off two or three tacklers, and turned it into a 63-yard gain to the Warrior 12. Rushes by Felts of 7 and 4 yards set up Keith for a 1-yard TD run on a sneak.
CAK turned the ball over on downs on its next drive as Felts had a tackle and an assist on a pair of 2-yard losses on running plays. William Taylor recorded the other assist in that sequence for the Dragons.
Goins had a 14-yard run for Clinton on the next drive, but a Dragon fumble gave the ball to the Warriors.
Starting from its own 25-yard line, CAK went backwards into the end zone in two plays. Felts and Cook tackled a Warrior running back for a 3-yard loss. On a high snap, the ball rolled back into the end zone and was recovered by Cook for a Dragon touchdown.
Two holding penalties totaling 27 yards frustrated the next CAK drive and led to a punt.
Clinton connected on another Keith-to-Kendall pass, this one for 43 yards, as the third quarter ended, but with the ball on the CAK 19 the possession was given over to the visitors so that the JV teams could play in the fourth period.
Travian Bounds recorded an interception for the Dragons as the CAK JV had moved the ball to the Clinton 19. The Dragons punted the ball to the Warriors, who would soon score on a 16-yard pass to make it a 21-7 game. Jaxon Herrell recorded a 13-yard run on the final play of the night for Clinton.
Felts and Kendall were hurt during the evening.
“The only thing I didn’t like about this scrimmage was we got two key players injured, No. 11 and No. 2,” Keith said.
The Dragon coach singled out several players and two units for his team in its first scrimmage.
“I thought Joshuah did real well; I thought Chauncey Felts played real good on defense,” he said. “I thought Lucas Kendall was a standout. I thought the offensive line played extremely well. The D-line is phenomenal.”