Dark Horses get defensive in jamboree


By Mike Carter - Sports Writer



Ryheem Skinner runs away from the Midway defense and scores.


Clinton defenders Michael Kramer and Prentice Murphy put the clamps on Union’s Chris Nash.


Clinton’s Jalen Smith picks his way through a hole during an offensive possession.


The Dark Horses’ defensive unit came into the Pigskin Jamboree with lots of question marks.

Head coach Bob Lewis said earlier in the week, “we have struggled on defense, especially in the secondary, we have to find a couple of corners.” It looked like some of those questions were answered as the Dark Horse defense did not allow a single score. Newcomer linebacker Michael Kramer made several bone jarring hits and the unproven secondary gave up very little in the passing game while providing adequate run support.

After the Jamboree, Lewis commented on the performance of his defense saying, “the defense is starting to catch on. We are still working hard with our corners and our secondary but they are making some headway.”

The Clinton coaches got a lot of players in the game on the defensive side, using several different combination and getting similar results from each set of players.

The Dark Horse offense, not to be outdone by the defense, was equally impressive, scoring in just about every way possible. The offensive line opened huge holes for the backs to run through and on the few occasions that Clinton took to the air they had impressive results. But the big story on offense, as is usually the case with the Dark Horses, was the running backs.

Ryheem Skinner scored in the first session, opening up the flood gates for his backfield mates to run roughshod over every defense that came up against them. The Clinton backfield featured three different quarterbacks and a bevy of capable running backs. Fullback Jalen Smith provided powerful running in the middle while Tyion Wright and Kris Williams made some dynamic plays on the edges.

When Khari Williams, AJ Wiliamson and Isaiah Page came in to spell the first teamers there was very little fall off.

“We got to play a lot of people tonight and we didn’t make nearly as many mistakes tonight as we did on Wednesday in our last scrimmage,” Lewis said. “We got a good look as a lot of players and got answers to some of our question marks.”

Clinton did use one session, against the Hobbton defense, to test the passing game — going to a spread look and putting Wright at quarterback. The new wrinkle, while not the bread and butter of the Dark Horse attack, showed some promise. Wright pitched a well timed slant to Hampton Brock, who ran a perfect pattern, made a nice grab, broke two tackles and sprinted 35 yards to the endzone.

Getting answers to questions is what any coach is looking for out of a preseason scrimmage, and while Lewis and his staff got some answers they still have work to do.

“This was a good effort for us and a good way to get the season started but we still have work to do,” the head coach pointed out. “We have a tough early season schedule and we have to use the next two weeks to clean up some things before we host Southwest Onslow.”

Ryheem Skinner runs away from the Midway defense and scores.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Rhheem-Skinner-Clinton-2.jpgRyheem Skinner runs away from the Midway defense and scores.

Clinton defenders Michael Kramer and Prentice Murphy put the clamps on Union’s Chris Nash.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Michael-Kramer-and-Prentice-Murphy-Clinton-3.jpgClinton defenders Michael Kramer and Prentice Murphy put the clamps on Union’s Chris Nash.

Clinton’s Jalen Smith picks his way through a hole during an offensive possession.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Jalen-Smith-Clinton-1.jpgClinton’s Jalen Smith picks his way through a hole during an offensive possession.

By Mike Carter

Sports Writer

Reach Mike Carter at [email protected]

Reach Mike Carter at [email protected]

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