After a two week break, Clinton traveled to Wilmington to face 4-A Hoggard on Friday night. The Dark Horses came out flat in the first half with a very lackluster performance, spotting the home team a 17 point first half lead.
Clinton dominated second half play roaring back to make it a three point game, but fell just short in the end by the score of 24-21.
Hoggard took the opening kick and marched the ball inside Clinton’s 20 before a holding penalty stalled their drive forcing a field goal attempt. Hoggard placekicker, Caleb Kuhne, nailed a 47-yarder with room to spare at the 7:30 mark of the first quarter, giving the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
On Clinton’s first offensive possession, as they did for most of the first half, the Vikings controlled the line of scrimmage, forcing a three and out and a Dark Horse punt. Hoggard took over on the Clinton 47 yard line and consistently drove the Clinton defense off the ball. The Vikings extended their lead to 10-0 with a 2 yard touchdown run at the 2:22 mark of the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive the Dark Horse offense turned the ball over to Hoggard when a Kris Williams pass was intercepted. The turnover set the Vikings up first and ten at the Clinton 26. Hoggard wasted little time punching the ball into the end zone, scoring at the 10:27 mark of the second quarter to take a commanding lead at 17-0.
After swapping punts the Dark Horses took over deep in their own end of the field and finally generated some offense. Ryheem Skinner took a pitch around right end and weaved down the sideline for a 69 yard score to breath some life into the listless Horses. After Chandler Perry’s successful PAT kick the Vikings lead was cut to 17-7 with 3:36 remaining in the first half.
The Vikings didn’t flinch, running the Clinton kickoff out to their own 39-yard line and then scored on a 3 play 61 yard drive capped by a 56 yard scoring run. Kuhne tacked on the extra point, giving Hoggard a 24-0 lead at 2:38 in the second quarter. The Dark Horses were unable to move the ball on their next possession and were forced to punt. Chandler Perry’s kick was blocked by the Vikings and recovered at the Dark Horses 8-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Hoggard completed a pass to the Clinton 5 yard line and called a time out to run their field goal unit on for a short attempt before the half. From a tough angle on the right hash Kuhne’s kick was tipped by Rayquan Faison to force it wide right and send the teams to the locker room with Hoggard on top 24-7.
Clinton took the opening kick of the second half and showed signs of life, driving the ball 70-yards, scoring on a Kris Williams pass to Ryheem Skinner. Skinner caught the short pass and took the ball 14-yards bulldozing his way across the goal line at the 7:13 mark of the third quarter to pull the Dark Horses within 10 points at 24-14 after Perry’s successful PAT kick.
The two teams swapped punts on the next two possessions to wrap up the third quarter. Clinton’s defense was clearly sparked to life and made a big stop on Hoggard’s first possession of the fourth quarter forcing a 37-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide left, leaving the Vikings scoreless in the second half and setting the Dark Horses up first and ten at their own 20-yard line.
On the first play of the drive Kris Williams faked the dive play to the fullback and found Tyion Wright in the flats for a 76-yard pass and run to move Clinton inside the 5-yard. Four plays later, on fourth and two from the 2-yard line, Ryheem Skinner took a pitch around left end and scampered untouched into the end zone for his third score of the night. After Perry’s third PAT kick of the night the Dark Horses had trimmed the lead to three at 24-21 with 7:02 remaining in the game.
The Dark Horse Defense came up big on the next possession, forcing a three and out and punt giving the offense the ball back at the 5:25 mark. The Horses Offense was unable to move the ball as their drive was stymied by a holding penalty that negated a nice Skinner run and a false start call that pushed the offense back inside their own 10-yard line.
The Horses were forced to punt giving the Vikings the ball back near mid-field, but the defense was up to the challenge. The Horses stonewalled the Vikings on three plays, forcing Hoggard to punt the ball away again. The Hoggard punt was downed at the Dark Horse 10-yard line with 2:21 remaining in the game giving Clinton hope for a game ending drive. On the next play Kris Williams dropped back and sent a long pass down the sideline that was intercepted by the Vikings, dashing the hopes of a Dark Horse comeback.
After the game Clinton head coach Bob Lewis said, “We dug a hole in the first half that we just couldn’t find our way out of. We committed too many penalties and made too many mistakes. We are capable to playing much better than that. I was proud of the way they came out and played in the second half. They didn’t give up. Hopefully we can learn something from this game.”
The Dark Horses were led on offense by Ryheem Skinner with 110 rushing yards on 14 touches with two touchdowns on the ground. Skinner also caught a pass for 14 yards and a score. Rayquan Faison carried the ball 7 times for 55 tough yards and Tyion Wright had 6 carries for 24 yards and one catch that went for 76 yards. Kris Williams was 2 for 7 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Defensively, the Dark Horses gave up 296 yards to the Vikings with 210 coming in the first half. Herbert Faison led the Horses with 9 tackles, Frank Nelson and Devonte Smith each were involved in 8 stops and Rayquan Faison added 7 tackles and a blocked kick in his first game action since an injury in the season opener.
The loss drops Clinton’s record to 2-1 on the season and wraps up the non-conference schedule for the Horses. Clinton will host Pender next Friday in their Four County Conference opener, scheduled for a 7:30 kickoff.