Dragons are having a fun time

With beat-down vs. Roadrunners, CHS proves it can play ball

Clinton’s William Taylor goes all-out — kinda the theme for the 2022 CHS Dragons — against Austin-East Friday night. (photo:Shari Wandell-Bryant )
The Clinton Dragons for the second straight week used a first-half offensive surge to capture win No. 2 of the season Friday night.

Clinton rolled to a 39-6 lead at halftime, after a 26-point second quarter, en route to a 45-14 win at Austin-East.

In their first road game against the Roadrunners since 1982, the Dragons racked up 473 yards and 23 first downs without having to punt in the game.

Quarterback Joshuah Keith went 16-for-22 passing for 280 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Jawan Goins led the Dragon ground game with 107 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries. Goins also had a receiving touchdown.

Lucas Kendall led Clinton receivers in yardage with three catches for 80 and a touchdown. Braylon Taylor topped Dragon receivers in catches with four for 46 yards. D’mon Marable caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, and Wesley Phillips added two for 33 yards and a TD.

The Dragons again held an opponent to poor rushing yardage as the Roadrunners (0-2) managed only 38 yards on 20 carries.

Markeyis Billingsley led Austin-East with 38 rushing yards and a touchdown plus a 65-yard TD catch.

“Not to put Austin-East down, but we didn’t play down to our competition again. We played like champions tonight,” said Dragon head coach Darell Keith. “I thought Josh Keith played an excellent game. I thought the receivers caught the ball well. We ran the ball well. We executed really well. We’ve got a couple of bumps and bruises we’ve got to focus on. I thought the defense played pretty good. Coach [Xavier] Mitchell did a great job getting those guys back in line [after an A-E first-half TD], getting them adjusted.”

Goins is “only going to get better,” Keith said.

The Dragon defense is “excellent, top of the line. We’ve only given up 14 points in two games,” the head coach said.

Clinton held its composure where Austin-East did not, as the Roadrunners picked up two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties and one flag for a personal foul.

“That’s something we’ve worked on in the offseason—being accountable, being responsible, being mature,” Keith said. “It’s all in the maturation process.”

The Dragons wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Austin-East, tallying a TD after a seven-play, 70-yard opening drive. Keith connected with Marable on a 46-yard pass and Taylor on an 18-yarder to set up first-and-10 at the Roadrunner 11-yard line. After a running play lost a yard, Javon Rodd rumbled up the middle for a 12-yard TD and a 6-0 Dragon lead.

On Austin-East’s second play from scrimmage, Billingsley fumbled out of bounds, but the officials awarded possession to Clinton at the Roadrunner 48. Three plays later, after Erreese King’s 21-yard run, the Dragons scored again. Keith hit Kendall on a 25-yard pass in the front-left corner of the end zone. Jacob Prewitt’s extra-point kick made it 13-0 Dragons with 6:49 still to play in the first quarter.

Austin-East ground out an 11-play, 65-yard TD drive to score the first points against the Dragon defense this season. Billingsley ran in the TD from 5 yards out. A two-point run failed, and Clinton led 13-6 with 1:47 left in the opening period.

Clinton lost a fumble on its next possession, but A-E quarterback Juwaan Troutman was intercepted by Marable only two plays later.

The Dragons used a 10-yard pass to Taylor, a 12-yard Goins run, and a 20-yard Keith run to reach midfield. Goins then ripped off a 50-yard touchdown scamper, breaking away from three tacklers early in the run and motoring to the end zone. Prewitt’s kick put the score at 20-6 with only 30 seconds gone in the second quarter.

Clinton forced the first of four Roadrunner punts and went back to work on offense. Teegan Bolinger, who made a nifty one-handed interception on defense the week before, caught an 18-yard Keith toss on third-and-16. Marable, wide open in the front of the end zone, hauled in a 27-yard scoring pass from Keith for a 26-6 lead.

After three plays and an A-E punt, Clinton used a 15-yard Goins run and a 19-yard pass to Jeremiah Lee to set up first-and-10 at the Roadrunner 15. King then ran in the TD on the next play, carrying several Roadrunner defenders with him into the end zone for a 33-6 lead after Prewitt’s extra point.

Following another three-and-out by A-E, Clinton scored again late in the half. Kendall caught a 22-yarder from Keith and Goins a 12-yard screen pass. The Dragons spiked the ball to kill the clock at the A-E 31. Two plays later, Phillips reeled in a 31-yard TD pass from Keith for a 39-6 lead with 19 seconds left in the half. That would be the halftime score.

Once again, the Dragons forced a mercy-rule running clock in the second half, but the Roadrunners stopped the clock by bringing the margin under 30 points with their first possession. Troutman found Billingsley for a 65-yard touchdown, and an Isaiah Flowers two-point run cut the Dragon lead to 39-14.

Clinton quickly answered with a 68-yard TD drive in four plays. Taylor (15 yards) and Kendall (33 yards) caught first-down passes to set up first-and-goal at the 4-yard line, and Goins then caught a short pass in a crowd and fought his way into the end zone for a 45-14 Dragon lead with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

Neither team would score the rest of the way, although Dragon backup quarterback Elijah Sexton ended the game with a 22-yard first-down run.

The Dragons have won their first two games heading into a rivalry contest at Oak Ridge this Friday.

“I’m very happy about the whole deal. I couldn’t be more pleased with what we’re doing right now,” head coach Keith said. “We’ll be going into Oak Ridge 2-0, and they’re 1-1. We’re going to see where the chips fall.”