It was a different night and a different field, but the score was the same as Clinton and Topsail battled through regular play and double overtime in Pirate territory only to finish scoreless.
The 0-0 tie was reflective of the first matchup between the two top-ranked teams, and leaves the Horses a half game up on Topsail heading into the final games of the regular season.
Clinton, 8-02 in conference play and 13-4-2 overall, is at the top of the 2A conference and currently ranked fourth in the state.
“I thought the guys played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort tonight,” coach Brad Spell said. “They moved the ball well. Topsail, too, played a great game. Both of the teams had their chances to score, but no one could ever find the back of the net.”
It was, Spell said, a great defensive effort by both teams.
Now Clinton returns to their home field Wednesday to face arch rival East Duplin in a game that Spell said will be “critical.”
The Horses defeated the Panthers at East Duplin earlier in the season, but Spell said it was a tough contest.
“This will be a huge game for us,” Spell said of the East Duplin match. “We’ve got to be ready for them.”
Clinton has two games remaining in regular season play — Wednesday’s East Duplin game and then, on Monday, another home game against Northside, the Dark Horses’ senior night.
“If we win both of those games we will be regular season champions,” the coach noted. “Right now, we are focused on East Duplin.”
Game time is 6:30 at Darkness Stadium.