Once the ball gets here, it's time to play football
Laurens wins 34-14 - Long-time rivals in need of success
Two teams in need of some things to go right will square off Friday at Clinton’s Wilder Stadium.
In an unusual 8 p.m. start, the Clinton Red Devils and the Laurens Raiders start the 2018 season coming off disappointing showings in a kickoff classic. Clinton lost 21-7 to host Palmetto and Laurens lost 28-9 to Wren in last Friday’s Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic.
Clinton did not manage much better last Tuesday in a home scrimmage against Seneca, surrendering three touchdowns and a missed field goal attempt while scoring just one late TD (by PJ Bluford).
Clinton scored once against Palmetto (a Titus Hood run, Sam Tiller PAT) while surrendering a score on Palmetto’s first play from scrimmage.
Laurens’ score against Wren came from a Duane Martin run and a Devon Hubner field goal.
Clinton also has had a scrimmage rained out in the pre-season.
Clinton football head coach Andrew Webb called the scrimmage loss to Seneca a “butt whuppin’.” Laurens football head coach Chris Liner said early in a scrimmage against Boiling Springs that the opponent “beat us in the dirt.”
Clearly, both coaches want to see mistakes corrected and some early encouraging signs of life from their teams this Friday. The girls state champion relay team for Clinton will receive their rings at 7:30 p.m. at Wilder Stadium; kickoff is at 8 because of a new rule governing start of play during hot temperatures.
Both programs have revved up their fans. Laurens had fan day Saturday at KC Hanna Stadium, and Clinton’s Meet the Devils program was held last night (Aug. 21, coverage in the Aug. 29 Clinton Chronicle).
Last season, the Clinton-Laurens rivalry game was at Laurens. The Red Devils were close with 4 minutes left on the game clock, but they fumbled the go-ahead, what could have been the winning, touchdown in a 24-18 loss. Troy Dendy, who now runs for Carson-Newman University, went for 171 yards against Clinton.
The Red Devils also lost their main runners from last season, Mark Wise and Kris Holmes, to graduation, but have shown a new wrinkle in their offense by setting up running plays for quarterback Konner Richardson. Last season’s Laurens game was Richardson’s first varsity start; Richardson’s back-up is senior Cam Nichols.
Clinton’s offense racked up 342 yards against Laurens in last season’s first game. Dawson Green and Zay Bennett scored on passes from Richardson.
Dendy’s second TD run came 38 seconds before halftime, and Aaron McLeod hauled in a Ryan Campbell TD toss. Along with a field goal. Laurens tallied 24 points. For Clinton, Richardson ran in score and the Red Devils drove to the Laurens 11 before losing the fumble.
A Side Note – Webb, Liner and Laurens Academy football head coach Todd Kirk will discuss their teams this Friday at the noon Laurens County Touchdown Club luncheon at The Ridge recreation complex, Hwy 76 bypass in Laurens. The Touchdown Club is sponsored by the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce. Admission is available at the door, and season sponsorships will be available.
This will be the third season that the long-standing rivalry game between 3A Clinton and 5A Laurens is the first game of the football season.
Other Scores of Interest: Mid-Carolina 33, Whitmire 7; Broome 46, Central 14; Chapman 59, Union County 40; Ninety Six 62, Emerald 46; Woodruff 44, Chesnee 0 – in what is known as Week 0 for the SC high school football season. Teams that play this week get a bye week some time during the season.