It was homecoming at Clinton on Friday night and the alums and fans that jammed into Dark Horse Stadium for the festivities witnessed a dominating performance by the home team. West Bladen came into the contest with an offense that had scored lots of points this season but a defense that had given up nearly as many. By the time a queen was crowned at halftime it was obvious that the Knights were no match for the Dark Horses on either side of the ball as Clinton cruised to a 50-0 win in their third straight shutout.
West Bladen got the first crack and it looked as if the Knight’s offense would live up to expectations, picking up a couple of first downs, with slashing runs into the middle of the Clinton defense. After a procedure penalty and a couple of nice stops by the Horses the Knights were forced to punt. Clinton nearly blocked the punt that rolled dead at the Dark Horse 35-yard line.
Clinton wasted no time getting on the scoreboard when Tyion Wright darted off left tackle for a 24 yard scoring run. Chandler Perry’s kick was no good and the Dark horses had a 6-0 lead at the 5:27 mark of the first quarter.
The knights were unable to move the ball on their next possession, tuning the ball over to Clinton on downs on their side of midfield giving the Horses excellent field position. The home team quickly capitalized on the short field when Kris Williams hit Jeremiah Pope perfectly in stride on a short slant pattern that Williams converted into Clinton’s second score, an 18-yarder, with 46 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Dark Horses converted the two point conversion from the 8-yard line after a procedure penalty backed them up. Rayquan Faison took the ball up the middle, breaking several tackles and plowing through Knight defenders on his way to the goal line, putting Clinton on top 14-0.
After the teams swapped punts to begin the second quarter the Dark Horses took to the airways once again. Clinton tight end Jonathan Wright caught a short pass from Williams and turned up the sideline punishing several Knights with a series of big hits taking the ball inside the 25-yard line before being stopped, unfortunately the play was called back by a Clinton Penalty. After getting back some of the penalty yardage with a couple of bruising running plays, quarterback Kris Williams found Jonathan Wright once more on a deep sideline route, this time Wright was not denied as he rumbled, untouched into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown reception. Chandler Perry tacked on the PAT kick and Clinton had a 21-0 lead with 4:07 left in the opening half.
On the ensuing possession West Bladen picked up a couple of first downs but the drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs. Clinton took over at their own 38-yard line with under two minutes to play in the half. After scoring twice on pass plays the expectation may have been for another aerial connection in the waning moments of the half but the Clinton coaches called a running play on first down. Ryheem Skiner took a toss sweep around the left end, got a nice seal block and ran 62-yards, untouched, for his first score of the night. Tyion Wright added the two-pointer when he picked up the low snap and fought his way into the endzone to put Clinton on top 29-0 with 1:46 left in the second quarter. The Dark Horses took the commanding lead into the break after intercepting a Knights pass as time expired on the first frame.
During halftime festivities the fans watched as two ladies were crowned as Homecoming Queens. In a much closer contest than the football game, there evidently was a tie for queen. Zoey Harris and Anna Emanuel were named as co-queens, crowned and taken on a victory lap around Dark Horse Stadium.
The teams came out of the locker room a little sluggish in the second half, both punting the ball away on their first possessions. Clinton got back in gear the second time they got a crack on offense. The Horses called Rayheem Skinner’s number and as usual he came through, scampering 66-yards around left end for his second touchdown, putting Clinton up 36-0 after Perry’s successful PAT kick with 7:33 left in the third quarter.
After the stingy Dark Horse defense forced another three and out and a short punt, the offense took over on West Bladen’s 42-yard line. Clinton quickly moved the ball into the red zone where fullback Rayquan Faison finished off the short drive, smashing across the goal for a 13-yard scoring run to push the Dark Horse lead to 43-0 with another Perry PAT kick at the 4:42 mark of the third quarter.
West Bladen was once again forced to punt after three plays on their next possesion, booting the ball back to Clinton. The Dark Horses wasted no time adding to their lead when Ryheem Skinner scored for the third time, taking the ball over the right side of the line as if shot from a cannon, running away from everyone on the field for a 74-yard touchdown. Chandler Perry capped the scoring with a successful PAT kick and Clinton had their final margin of victory at 50-0 with the clock running continuously.
After the game, Clinton head coach, Bob Lewis said, “we knew coming in that West Bladen had given up a lot of points, but they had scored a lot too. We didn’t know quite what to expect but I am pleased with our defense, they got their third straight shutout, and the offense was able to move the ball all night. We played better than I expected tonight the backs ran hard, we got good effort out of everyone and got a good homecoming win.”
On offense Clinton was led by Ryheem Skinner with 272 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. Tyion Wright added 36 yards and a touchdown on three touches, Rayquan Faison gained 18 yards and scored once on four carries and quarterback Kris Williams called his own number three times for 28 yards. Williams had 69 passing yards, going four for four with two touchdowns through the air. Jeremiah Pope caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan Wright had one grab for 36 yards and a touchdown and Tyion Wright caught one pass for 14 yards.
Defensively Prentice Murphy paced the Horses with 14 stops, Devonte Smith and A J Williamson had 9 and 8 tackles respectively, Isaiah Page added 7 tackles and Frank Nelson had two stops with a sack. Joseph Williams recovered a fumble and linebacker Rayquan Faison intercepted a pass.
The win over West Bladen improves Clinton’s record to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play. The Dark Horses travel to Trask next Friday before wrapping up the regular season at Dark Horse Stadium against Wallace Rose Hill on November 6.