Cyclones whirl to early leads but have trouble holding on
Friday at 4 p.m., the CHS Homecoming Parade will be on Adair Street, from Presbyterian College to the Clinton Middle School/Wilder Stadium complex. Red Devil fans can line the route to see the Devil Regiment marching band, Homecoming queen contestants, and floats and vehicles sponsored by campus organizations. The Homecoming game - Clinton vs. Chester - kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Wilder Stadium, with the queen crowning and activities at halftime.
Clinton’s Friday night opponent, the Chester Cyclones, have come out in the first half of games this season against South Pointe, Lancaster and Rock Hill and whirled themselves to early leads - only to falter down the stretch.
This past Friday playing Broome, Chester put together its first winning second half of a game. The result was doubly satisfying for Chester players and coaches - a 28-21 win over the Centurions and their first region victory since October, 2013.
"We had a really solid second half for the first time all year," Chester football head coach Victor Floyd said in an onlinechester.com article. "I think we just dug down and played a little harder in the second half.”
A coaching decision was key to the Cyclones’ win, boosting its record to 3-5, 1-2 in region play. For the first time this season, starting quarterback Malik Williams, who has a scholarship offer from Duke University, fielded a punt.
The result: a 50-yard touchdown romp and then a two-point conversion pass. From there, Chester recovered a Broome fumble and scored again. Broome turned it over again on Chester defender Quay Hardin’s interception to seal the Cyclones’ win.
Williams accounted for 211 yards against Broome. Chester’s Quay Strong added another 97 all-purpose yards.
Chester receiver John Erby was the recipient of Williams’ passes, and Chester freshman runner Pha’Leak Brown scored a touchdown on a play Clinton has seen a lot this season. Brown ran the ball into the line, and the Chester offensive linemen got in behind him and pushed the pile.
Pushed it all the way into the endzone.
Broome had a 21-13 lead with 5 minutes left to play, and let the game slip away. Broome beat Clinton, 17-14, in the region opener - a game in which the Red Devils scored 13 points in the final 42 seconds.
Clinton lost Friday to Union County, 36-12.
This Friday is Homecoming for the Red Devils, and the final game at Wilder Stadium for 22 Clinton seniors.
“We sure will try to send them out with a win,” Clinton football head coach Andrew Webb said after the Union County loss, dropping CHS to 2-6, 0-3 in region play. “(The seniors) have done everything we have asked them to do. We will fight our tails off.”
Clinton is playing for pride now. Even a win over Chester won’t send the Red Devils into the Class AAA playoffs, where two seasons ago they had a losing record but advanced to the second round by handing AC Flora an opening round defeat at Wilder Stadium.
Last season, Clinton used wins over Chester and Union County to make the playoffs, again with a losing record, before losing for a second time in the same season playing at Greer in the first round.