The Clinton Dragons’ trip to Hamilton County did not go the way they had envisioned, as they fell to the Chattanooga Central Purple Pounders by the score of 20-15.
Clinton started the game slowly, giving up the game’s first score with 3:21 to play in the first quarter on a 27-yard pass from freshman Ronye Watson to Donovan Smith, that with the extra point, gave the Pounders a 7-0 lead. The Dragons, however, answered with a scoring drive capped off by a 1-yard Connor Moody touchdown plunge and tied it with the Ryan Bradley extra point.
Michael Watson scored on the ground with 10:09 to play in the second quarter and the Pounders led 14-7 at halftime.
Clinton forced Central (4-1) into a punting situation with just over four minutes to play in the third period, but Smith, who also serves as the Pounder punter, instead took the snap and ran it 79 yards for a touchdown that made it 20-7 after the extra point was no good.
Josh Keith was knocked briefly unconscious on a hit in the third quarter on which no penalty was called, and was replaced by senior Trace Thackerson, who almost led the Dragons all the way back on the road. Keith was said to be OK after the game and passed the concussion protocol. With 7:36 to play in the fourth, Thackerson found Andy King, who made a nice catch at the 10-yard line and outran two defenders to the goal line for a touchdown that made it 20-13. Thackerson ran the ball in for the two-point conversion to make it 20-15 but those proved to be the final points of the contest. Clinton had a chance to convert a fourth down in Pounder territory, but a desperation scramble by Thackerson came up about a yard short, and Central took over.
Clinton fell to 3-3 on the season, and head back into Region play Friday when they host Campbell County on Homecoming.
Trace Thackerson went 8-of-12 passing, with 143 yards and a passing touchdown, while Joshuah Keith went 7-of-19 for 128 and an interception before he was injured. Other Dragon standouts included Andy King, who had three catches for 73 yards and a score, and Rodayvien “Dodi” Truss, who had six catches for 85 yards.
Clinton was flagged for 17 penalties in the game, costing them 141 yards.*
The Dragons outgained Chattanooga Central, 386-183, and each team turned the ball over twice.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of the calls, especially the pre-snap penalties, were legitimate, but there were also several questionable calls against Clinton, several of which were 15-yarders, including a face-masking call against a Dragon running back while ON OFFENSE.
Box score by Dan McWilliams
Chattanooga Central 7-7-6-0—20
Chattanooga Central—Donovan Smith 27 pass from Ronyé Watson (Luis Francisco kick), 3:21, 1st
Clinton—Connor Moody 1 run (Ryan Bradley kick), 0:15.3, 1st
Chattanooga Central—Michael Watson 13 run (Francisco kick), 10:09, 2nd
Chattanooga Central—Smith 79 run (kick failed), 4:04, 3rd
Clinton—Andy King 30 pass from Trace Thackerson (Thackerson run), 7:36, 4th
First downs: Clinton 15, Chattanooga Central 9
Rushes-yards: Clinton 37-115, Chattanooga Central 32-140
Passing yards: Clinton 271, Chattanooga Central 43
Comp.-Att.-Int: Clinton 15-31-1, Chattanooga Central 6-15-0
Total plays-yards: Clinton 68-386, Chattanooga Central 47-183
Punts-avg: Clinton 2-29.5, Chattanooga Central 4-28.0
Return yardage: Clinton 6, Chattanooga Central 102
Sacked-yards lost: Clinton 2-17, Chattanooga Central 2-21
Penalties-yards: Clinton 17-141, Chattanooga Central 7-94
Fumbles-lost: Clinton 2-1, Chattanooga Central 4-2
Time of possession: Clinton 27:26, Chattanooga Central 20:34
Time of game (approx.): 2 hours, 46 minutes
Rushes – yards
Clinton: Joshuah Keith 11-50, Moody 7-27 (TD), Thackerson 7-13, Elijah Batiste 6-12, William Taylor 1-6, Chauncey Felts 3-5, Rodayvien Truss 1-5, Team 1-minus 3; Chattanooga Central: M. Watson 12-78 (TD), Smith 2-62 (TD), R. Watson 11-8, Noah Collins 4-7, Team 3-minus 15
Passing (Completions-Attempts-Interceptions – yards)
Clinton: Thackerson 8-12-0 143 (TD), Keith 7-19-1 128; Chattanooga Central: R. Watson 6-14-0 43 (TD), Houston Boykin 0-1-0 0
Receptions – yards
Clinton: Truss 6-85, A. King 3-73 (TD), Braylon Taylor 2-41, Jeremiah Blauvelt 2-31, Moody 1-29, Lucas Kendall 1-12; Chattanooga Central: Smith 3-26 (TD), M. Watson 2-9, Collins 1-8
Punting – total yards – average
Clinton: Barrett Maddox 2-59-29.5; Chattanooga Central: Smith 4-112-28.0
Kickoff returns – yards
Clinton: Batiste 1-8, Erreese King 1-minus 2; Chattanooga Central: Collins 2-16
Punt returns – yards
(none for either team)
Interceptions – yards returned
Clinton: none; Chattanooga Central: Tristan Odom 1-86
Clinton: Jeremiah Lee, Caleb Cook; Chattanooga Central: Brian Pruitt
Sacks – yards
Clinton: Moody 1-11, W. Taylor 1-10; Chattanooga Central: Leundre Hinton 1-13, London Martin 1-4
Missed field goal – yards
Clinton: Bradley 23 (blocked); Chattanooga Central: none
Blocked field goal
Clinton: none; Chattanooga Central: Odom