Sports

A ‘Rep’ is made

The first 25 years: 1923 -1948


The first Clinton High School football team — The Tornadoes — started the season at 0-2, but respond- ed with six straight wins to capture a city’s devotion which has lasted 100 years. - Joey Smith
Finding a history of the first 25 years of Clinton High School football is … well, complicated.

There are sources for the information, but it’s 75 to 100 years old and it’s scattered, and just when you think you’ve found a lead to something, the lead goes nowhere.

“It’s in here,” Joey Smith, Clinton Realtor, Clinton historian, CHS alumnus, and Dragon For Life, said while scrolling through microfilm at the Clinton Public Library. “You need a lot of time, a lot of time, to track it down.”

Smith was tracking down the histories of buildings in Clinton when I ran into him and started grilling him on his knowledge of those early teams.

News and coverage of the first CHS teams, the Tornadoes, was sporadic.

At best.

It’s not until about 1928 that “The Dragons” became the team name. “About the same time the new school was built (where Clinton Middle School is now),” Smith said. “That’s also the first yearbook in the Clinton High School library.”

Smith has spent his fair share of time researching the history of the Clinton High School football team.

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Mavs move on, await Cyclones

Martinez tosses three scores as AC gets back to business


Anderson County High School cornerback Cole Phillips went all in and took on South-Doyle’s Taeshwon Gary and won, taking the big Cherokee back down before he could cut upfield during Friday night’s region win at 130 Maverick Circle. - Zack Williams
It wasn’t the cleanest of games, but the Anderson County High School Mavericks brought out their grind-and-grit game and took a 35-7 win over region contender South-Doyle last Friday night.

The Mav offensive line owned the field all night.

Nick Moog scored twice in the first quarter to spot the homestanding Mavs a 14-0 lead. Walker Martinez was almost perfect the rest of the way, finishing off Anderson County drives while recording three touchdown passes.

Martinez was 19 for 25 for 173 yards and three touchdowns.

He connected with Braden Miller in the second quarter to give the Mavs a comfortable 21-0 halftime lead.

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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
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.

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A win is a win, unless the coach ain’t happy


Anderson County’s Elizabeth Troyna plays a ball near the sideline during the Lady Mavs’ region tilt against Campbell County. - Ricky Williams
Despite seeing his team notch a victory Tuesday night, Anderson County High School girls soccer Coach Chris Curtin wasn’t impressed.

“We won the game, but I’m not happy,” Curtin said after the Lady Mavericks shut out Campbell County 2-0 in a non-district home match. “We just didn’t do what we do.

“I didn’t feel like we did the things we do best.”

The Lady Mavericks (5-6 overall, 2-0 in District 5-AA) got goals from Zoey Rose and Victoria Laster. Olivia Madron and Renee Wilson dished out assists for Anderson County. Both markers came from long range and were shot from approximately the same spot on the pitch.

“I thought Campbell County did a really good job shutting down our scorers,” Curtin said. “Both of our goals came from about 25 yards out, from about the same spot on the field.”

The Lady Mavericks opened play last week with a 2-0 district victory over Scott on Tuesday, Sept. 13 and Curtin was a bit more upbeat after Anderson County blanked the Lady Highlanders.

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Lady Dragons volleyball wins two at weekend tourney

It was a busy week on the volleyball court at Clinton High School.

The Lady Dragons (16-10 overall, 6-2 in District 3-AAA) played seven matches in a weekend tournament Saturday, winning two. Clinton posted victories over Lenoir City (25-13, 25-6) and Sumiton Christian School (Alabama), prevailing 27-25, 25-9.

The Lady Dragons, suffered losses to Sale Creek, Tallulah Christian (Georgia), Somerville (Alabama), Lafayette (Kentucky) and John Battle (Virginia).

They also had three matches during the week.

The Lady Dragons won a district match over Campbell County Thursday night, capturing a 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 victory against the Lady Cougars.

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It was a slugfest


The girls of fall from Clinton took part in the USA Fall Slug Fest last weekend. Clinton middle-schoolers played seven games in 14 hours — all worth the effort as the team won the tournament.

Jai Hundley returns, leads ’Cats to win

Throughout the 2022 season, Oak Ridge High School’s football team has been riddled with injuries.

The Wildcats, however, saw running back Jai Hundley return Friday night. And he made a huge impact upon coming back to the Oak Ridge lineup.

Hundley rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries to help the ‘Cats notch a 33-13 Region 3-5A victory over Lenoir City on homecoming night at Blankenship Field.

While Hundley was back and had a 12-yard scoring scamper in the second quarter to give ORHS (3-2 overall, 2-0 in the region) a 21-6 advantage, the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Peyton Sharpe to a potential concussion.

Oak Ridge will have an open date this week. After the bye, however, the Wildcats will travel to Powell to face the defending Class 5A State Champion Panthers.

Oak Ridge coach Scott Cummings is hoping his team can get healthy during the week off.

“We have a big game after the bye when we play Powell,” Cummings said. “We’ll have to see who we’ll have when we go over there.

“Hopefully, we’ll be surprised and get everybody back. We had another one tonight because Peyton has a potential concussion.”

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Lady Wildcats move into second place in 3-AAA with win over Powell

A big win against a District 3-AAA rival helped the Oak Ridge High School girls soccer team move into second place in the league standings Thursday night.

The Lady Wildcats (6-4 overall, 3-1 in the district) notched a key victory as they defeated Powell 3-1 at home.

“This was a big win for us,” Oak Ridge coach Donnie Green said. “Powell has had the upper hand on us for the last several years.

“Every three, four or five years, we’ve been able to beat them.”

The last time Oak Ridge defeated the Lady Panthers, the defending district tournament champions, was in 2019. The Lady Wildcats were district champions last season.

“The last time we beat Powell was in 2019 and we won the district championship,” Green said. “Before that, the last time we beat them was in 2016.”

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Jefferson gets big win from Clinton Hawks

Norris beats Robertsville


Senator Zack Happney tries to get away from a Robertsville defender during the Norris vs. Robertsville contest. - Zack Williams
Lake City and Clinton each lost in middle school football last week.

The Lakers fell to Jacksboro Thursday night, 32-16.

The game was knotted at 16 at halftime but Lake City surrendered 16 unanswered points after the break.

“We lost another heartbreaker,” LCMS head coach Eric Tackett said. “We played well in the first half and the game was tied, 16-16, at halftime.

“Our lack of depth is a problem. Our kids keep getting better. They keep fighting and they keep playing hard.”

Joey Radford had both touchdowns in the game for the Lakers as he scored on a long touchdown run and returned a kickoff to the end zone.

Lake City takes on Cumberland Gap Thursday at 7 p.m.

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A growing tradition

1972-1997


The 1992 Clinton High School Dragons are the benchmark all CHS teams have to live up to. The 1992 team was runner-up in state. Members of the 1992 squad attended “Dragon Day” in July.
The 1980s saw a growth not only in Clinton High School football’s prestige, but in the city of Clinton as well.

Many small towns before the construction of Interstate 75 were just that — small towns.

The local townspeople spent their days on the streets of these villages visiting, gossiping and making new acquaintances.

The opening of the I-75 interchange also opened Anderson County to an influx of residents not seen since the building of Oak Ridge.

The population soared in 10 years from just under 4,000 to nearly 9,000 residents in Clinton.

As the town grew, so did its high school’s population.

It was the salad days for CHS football.

Teams in the 1970s and 1980s were always on the “brink” of greatness ... always a win or two away from getting to the big dance in Nashville.

Clinton would no longer be compared in size to other cities in Anderson County.

Clinton was bigger than them all — with the exception of Oak Ridge.

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