Dragons open on the road at Cleveland

Clinton High School will resume preparations for its 2024 football season next week.

The Dragons and other area teams can return to the practice field and weight room on Monday after a two-week hiatus due to the TSSAA-mandated dead period.

Clinton will have a new head coach as Jason Hamock takes over the program on an interim basis.

The Dragons are coming off a 2023 campaign that saw them win four of their last five games and reach the playoff quarterfinals for the first time since the early 1990s.

Clinton also captured a postseason road victory over longtime rival Oak Ridge in the second round. The Dragons finished 6-7 last year.

Clinton opens the 2024 season on the road against Cleveland on on Friday, Aug. 23. The Dragons prevailed 49-36 in a shootout last season in Clinton. The Blue Raiders went 6-5 and earned a playoff berth in 2023.

Cleveland is one of six Clinton opponents that made the postseason. After the season opener, things won’t get easier for the Dragons. In Week 2, Clinton heads to Knoxville and Bill Wilson Field to take on West High, the defending Class 5A state champion Rebels. West defeated the Dragons 44-12 last season and went 14-1 on its way to capture a state title.

The Dragons play their home opener on Sept. 6 when they host the Scott Highlanders. Clinton topped Scott 45-0 in the last meeting between the two schools. Scott went 2-8 in 2024.

In Week 4, the Dragons open Region 3-5A play at home against Campbell County. The Dragons routed the Cougars 55-14 in Jacksboro last season.

CCHS went 6-7 last year. It has a new coach in Mark Pemberton, who comes from Rhea County. Pemberton previously coached at Knoxville Catholic, where he guided the Irish to a state championship.

On Sept. 20, the Dragons play longtime rival Powell in a non-region tilt. The Panthers went 9-4 in 2023 and outlasted the Dragons 45-27 last season.

Clinton returns to regional play on Sept. 27 when it travels to Blankenship Field to play Oak Ridge.

The two longtime rivals met twice last year. The Wildcats won the regular-season meeting 37-24 on their way to winning a region title.

Clinton, however, eliminated ORHS with a 24-21 win in the second round of the playoffs.

The Dragons open October with a showdown with crosstown rival Anderson County on the road. The Mavericks went 8-5 and won a seventh-consecutive Region 2-4A championship by going undefeated in league play. ACHS notched a 28-14 victory last season.

On Oct. 11, Clinton will host region rival Lenoir City. The Panthers edged the Dragons 14-7 on their way to qualifying for the playoffs.

LCHS has a new head coach in Scott Cummings, who previously coached at Oak Ridge, Knoxville Halls, Cleveland and Knoxville West (his alma mater), winning a state title with the Rebels.

After an open date on Oct. 18, Clinton heads to Karns on Oct. 25. The Dragons claimed a 48-18 win in Clinton last season. The Beavers finished 1-9 in 2023.

The Dragons close out the regular season at Heritage on Nov. 1. Clinton defeated the Mountaineers 47-35 last year.

Heritage went 3-7 in 2023.