Why you can’t spot a good team 15 points

Powell holds off Dragon comeback

  • Dragon Bradon Hollifield get the hit on Powell’s Connor Wheeler Friday night at Clinton City Field. The Dragons gave up 15 first-quarter points before playing the Dragon game and mounting a rally, which fell short. - Ken Leinart

  • Clinton High School Head Football Coach Darell Keith praised his offensive line for Friday night’s effort against Powell. - Ken Leinart

The Clinton Dragons battled back to tie visiting Powell on Friday, but the defending state champions scored a touchdown with 5.6 seconds left in the game to win 29-22.

The Panthers’ win in the Region 3-5A game came before a lively full house of Dragon fans. The decision also challenges Clinton’s playoff hopes, as the Dragons (3-2, 0-2) may have to win all three of their remaining region games to reach the postseason.

Powell grabbed a 15-0 first-quarter lead on the hosts before Clinton rallied. Quarterback Jordyn Potts of the Panthers (3-2, 2-0) scored the game-winning TD on an 8-yard run after the Dragons were forced to punt following a third-down play that came up short.

“Dealing with effort with [the Dragons] is always good. That’s not an issue,” said Dragon head coach Darell Keith after the game. “It’s the effort and execution that we always fall short on. We’re an emotional football team. We haven’t learned to close it out. We can’t keep spotting good football teams two touchdowns and then expect to win, so we made a lot of mistakes that came back eventually to hurt us.

“When we needed a first down, we didn’t get it. When Jordyn Potts needed a first down, he got it. He put his team on his back and carried them on in and won.”

Keith singled out the offensive line for Clinton.

“I thought the offensive line played really well. They got us back in it,” he said.

Dragon quarterback Joshuah Keith completed 14 of 24 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed for his first touchdown of the season. Jawan Goins led Dragon rushers with 18 carries for 77 yards and caught two passes for 70 yards and a TD. Lucas Kendall caught four passes for 63 yards and a TD, Jeremiah Lee nabbed four catches for 35 yards, and D’mon Marable added three receptions for 67 yards.

Dylan Spurlock made two sacks for 13 yards for the Dragon defense, and Marable recorded one sack for 7 yards. Brandon Hollifield recovered a fumble for Clinton.

The penalty-filled game saw Clinton flagged 17 times for 124 yards and Powell 16 times for 189 yards. The Dragons had eight of their 18 first downs awarded by penalty.

Keith completed a 50-yard pass to Marable on the first play of the game for Clinton, but the Dragons turned the ball over on downs at the Powell 28-yard line.

The Panthers took over and scored in six plays. Potts completed an 18-yard pass to J.J. Foust for the score. Dylan Stooksbury’s extra point made it 7-0 Powell with 9:14 left in the first quarter.

Clinton reeled off a nine-play drive, getting two first downs via Powell penalties, before Keith threw what was only his second interception of the season. Markus Jackson returned the pickoff 24 yards to the Powell 42-yard line, and the Panthers soon scored again. Connor Wheeler ran in the TD from 39 yards out. After a Dragon penalty on the extra-point try, the Panthers’ Austin Meadows ran for a two-point conversion and a 15-0 lead with 4:02 left in the opening period.

Later, a Spurlock sack for 8 yards and a nice Caleb Cook tackle for loss led to the Panthers turning the ball over on downs at the Dragon 40. A personal foul on Powell moved the ball to the Panther 45.

Clinton scored in only three plays. Goins ran for 25 yards, and Kendall made a nice leaping catch in one-on-coverage in the end zone for a touchdown. The Dragons’ two-point run failed, but they cut the visitors’ lead to 15-6 with 8:37 left in the half.

The Dragons received a scare on the two-point play as standout lineman Barrett Maddox, who is fielding multiple collegiate offers, was injured. He would return to the game later.

Powell answered back with a 67-yard TD drive in six plays. Ayden Greene caught a 19-yard scoring pass, and Stooksbury’s point-after made it a 22-7 game with 4:57 left in the half.

Bryson Maddox caught a 17-yard Keith pass on the next Dragon drive, but Clinton was forced to punt. Punter Blane Collins booted a 49-yarder to the end zone.

Powell completed a 64-yard pass to Adarius Redmond on its next drive, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty and the half soon ended.

Another Cook tackle for loss helped lead to a Powell punt to start the second half.

Clinton answered with a 12-play, 69-yard drive for a touchdown. Goins ran for 14 yards, Kendall caught a 21-yard pass, Lee recorded a 24-yard reception, and Goins ran for 10 to set up the Dragons at the Powell 2-yard line. Keith ran the ball in for a TD on the next play. Keith completed a two-point conversion pass to Braylon Taylor to cut the Panthers’ lead to 22-14 with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

Another Spurlock sack and Hollifield’s fumble recovery on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Clinton the ball on the Dragon 19.

A 12-yard pass to Kendall moved the ball into Powell territory. Goins scored the touchdown on a nifty play by Keith, who was under a heavy rush and flipped the ball a short distance to the Dragon running back, who maneuvered all the way to the end zone.

Keith made another outstanding play on the two-point conversion. After a bad snap, he retreated several yards and hurled a long pass to a wide-open Taylor in the end zone. The game was tied 22-22 with 9:04 remaining.

A Marable sack helped force a Powell punt, but Clinton too would punt as Collins pinned the Panthers at their own 9-yard line,

Potts completed a 56-yard pass to Trevor Bryant to move the Panthers into Dragon territory. On fourth-and-seven from the Clinton 30, Potts found Greene for a 23-yard reception and a first down. Potts spiked the ball to kill the clock with 11.9 seconds left, then scored the game-winner on an 8-yard run around right end. Stooksbury’s extra point provided the final margin.

Goins caught a 22-yard Keith pass on the last play of the game but was forced out of bounds as time expired.