Traveling the 2 1/2 hour distance to Croatan territory Friday night, the Clinton Dark Horses had confidence they could get the road win; they came home disappointed, falling 14-7.
A defensive battle ensured for most of the night, keeping the score low.
The Horses and Croatans traded downs in the first quarter with neither team able to get on the scoreboard. It appeared that the second quarter would offer more of the same, but then Croatan managed to break through the Horses defense to find the end zone and the first score of the night. With the point after kick good, the home team was up 7-0.
Not to be outdone, Clinton put a series of downs together to move the ball down the field, setting up a Silas Herring TD with 22.9 seconds left until the break. The PAT failed and the Cougars would head into the locker room with a 1 point, 7-6, lead.
The third quarter looked a lot like the first, with a lot of tackles, some incomplete plays and a scoreless period, with neither Clinton nor Croatan able to move the ball very far before having to give it up to their opponent.
But when the fourth period opened up, a determined Cougar offense managed to slip through Clinton’s defense for their second score of the evening. Their extra point was good and the home team had a 14-6 lead, what would become the final score.
On rushing, Demontio Bryant had 15 carries for 104 yards: Tykearion Stevens had 16 carries for 76 yards; and Silas Herring had 14 carries for 60 yards. Quarterback Greg Smith was 1 for 4 for 23 yards. Herring scored the only touchdown of the night on a 1-yard rush. Receiving, Owen Hunt had 1 catch for 23 yards.
For Clintons defense, Owen Hunt had 9 tackles; Elexus Raines had 8 tackles; Alphonzo McDew had 6 tackles; Demontio Bryant had 5 tackles; and Kenneth Ford had 4 tackles.
Clinton will return to Dark Horse Stadium Friday, Sept. 28 against the Swansboro Pirates for their homecoming. Game time is 7:30 p.m.