Clinton traveled to Beulaville on Friday night to open their 2014 football season against rival East Duplin. The Horses wasted no time establishing a strong rushing attack and put the game away well before halftime. The Dark Horses scored early and often and a stingy defense kept the Panthers out of the end zone. By game end the Horses had piled up 468 yards of total offense and scored 7 touchdowns in route to a dominating 48-3 win.
East Duplin turned the ball over on the second play of the game when Clinton’s Kavon Dessus Intercepted the Panther pass over the middle and returned it into East Duplin territory setting the Dark Horses in excellent field position. The Dark Horse offense took over and drove the ball to the 15 yard line where Hyson Howard took the ball around the right end for the first score of the evening . The PAT kick failed and Clinton led 6-0 at 8:11 in the first quarter.
After the Horse’s defense forced East Duplin to punt Clinton took over and sustained a drive into East Duplin’s end of the field. Aaron Viser made a key play when he completed a 15-yard pass to Hyson Howard on fourth and seven to keep the drive alive. Clinton put the ball in the End zone on the next play when Julian Wilkins took the handoff on a dive play and plowed through the Panther defense for 11 yards and the second Dark Horse score giving Clinton a 14-0 lead after a successful 2-point conversion run by Hyson Howard.
On the ensuing East Duplin possession Clinton forced a punt which Kris Royal returned 45 yards to the Panther 25 yard setting the Horses up with a short field. Three plays later Ryheem Skinner took the ball six yards for the touchdown, making the score 21-0 after a successful PAT kick at the 8:18 mark of the second quarter.
East Duplin had some offensive success on their next possession taking the ball down to the Clinton 16 yard line before stalling and settling for a field goal, making the score 21-3 late in the second quarter. Clinton’s offense was not to be denied as Ryheem Skinner broke off a 74 yard touchdown run, leaving the Panther defense in his wake to stretch the Dark Horse lead to 28-3 with 2:18 remaining in the half.
Clinton’s Kavon Dessus put an end to East Duplin’s next possession when he intercepted a pass and returned it to the Panther 29-yard line giving the Dark Horses another short field with 37 seconds remaining in the half. The Dark Horses offense executed a perfectly timed screen play on the next play when Aaron Viser flipped the ball just over the outstretched hands of a Panther defender to Hyson Howard who scampered 29 yards into the end zone, putting the Dark Horses up 35-3 heading into the halftime break.
The Dark Horses wasted no time adding to their lead when play resumed as Ryheem Skinner streaked 65 yards around right end on the first play from scrimmage, giving Clinton a 42-3 lead after Kris Royal’s PAT kick a brief 15 seconds into the third quarter. The Dark Horse defense continued to stonewall the Panthers, turning them over on downs to put the ball back in the hands of the offense. As had been the case all night the Dark Horses wasted no time adding to their lead, when Albert Deaver took a hand-off around the right end for a 60 yard scoring play increasing the lead to 48-3 at the 7:25 mark of the third quarter. It was at this point that the game officials ordered the clock to run continuously for the remainder of the game.
The Clinton coaches cleared the bench getting a chance to play most of the roster for the remainder of the game. While they were unable to score again, the Dark Horse offense did have success moving the ball and the defense continued to stymie the Panthers for the remainder of the game.
After the game Clinton head coach, Bob Lewis said, “ our backs ran hard, our defense played well but let’s give our offensive line a lot of credit. We got off some nice runs tonight and while speed kills those backs need just a little space to get through. Our line did a good job.” Lewis continued, “this was a big win for us we needed to get started like this.”
Statistically the Dark Horses racked up 468 yards of total offense with Ryheem Skinner accounting for 211 yards on the ground on 7 carries with 3 touchdowns, Albert Deaver had 3 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown, Julian Wilkins carried the ball 9 times for 56 yards and 1 touchdown, Hyson Howard had 2 carries for 25 yards and 2 catches for 44 yards with two touchdowns, one running and one receiving. Aaron Viser was 2 for 2 passing for 44 yards and one touchdown. Defensively the Dark Horses allowed East Duplin only 176 yards of total offense with TJ Boone and Prentice Murphy each tallying seven tackles, Chandler Whitfield had five tackles and Chase King added 4 tackles. Kavon Dessus had eight tackles to go along with two interceptions to pace the strong defensive effort.
The win over East Duplin stakes the Dark Horse out to a 1-0 start on the season. Clinton returns home to host 4-A Laney next Friday night at 7:30.