Dawgs another step closer to playoffs with RBS win

 

By KEVIN DONALDSON

CELINA-Clay County broke open a close game with two late scores before the half to top Red Boiling Springs in the annual “battle of the Bulldogs,” moving a step closer to securing a playoff spot on down the road with a 26-6 win last Friday.

 

Clay County’s lead was only 6-0 midway through the second period, but they scored twice in the final 5:39 before intermission to take command of the game. The Dawgs used a key RBS turnover deep in CCHS territory to get the first of those two scores, and held on fourth down on the next RBS possession to launch the second score.

 

Clay County took advantage of four turnovers by RBS to seal the victory, with sophomore Nick Cox accounting for three of those with a fumble recovery and two interceptions. 

 

CCHS took a 6-0 lead at the 4:02 mark of the first quarter thanks to a 66-yard scoring run by Shawn Garrett on a speed sweep around right end. Cox got the first of his two interceptions later in the quarter to halt an RBS drive, but Clay County couldn’t move the ball, either.

 

Justin Owens looks for yardage against Red Boiling.

Justin Owens looks for yardage against Red Boiling.

Red Boiling drove deep into Clay territory on its next possession, moving all the way to the CCHS five. Cox got his second turnover of the night, though, on the next play, with a fumble recovery amidst a mass of bodies in the middle of the line, and the Dawgs launched their best drive of the night.

The Clay County drive ate up about five minutes off the clock, and covered 94 yards in 10 plays. It ended with a seven-yard smash by senior fullback Nick Stephens. The big play on the drive was a 33-yard pass from Marshall Burch to Garrett. Cox added the conversion run and it was 14-0, Clay County, with 5:39 left in the second quarter. 

 

Red Boiling then started another drive that wound up deep in CCHS territory. RBS drove all the way to the Clay 16, before a key tackle for a three-yard loss by Dylan Collins stopped the momentum. An RBS penalty moved it back to the 26 and Clay County wound up holding on downs, taking over at their own 23.

 

On second down, Cox, who led all rushers in the game, broke off a 57-yard run as time was running down. A “horsecollar” tackle penalty on the play took the ball all the way to the RBS seven. Cox blasted for six yards and then one yard for the score, making it 20-0 with 48.7 seconds left before the half.  

 

That was the score at intermission and well into the fourth quarter, as the second half was largely played between the 20-yard lines. Cox and Matt Copeland grabbed interceptions in the second half for CCHS, with Cox injured on his pickoff return. He did not return to action in the contest, but walked off under his own power. 

 

Brandon Kelley dented the scoreboard for RBS on a five-yard run at the 4:21 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 20-6, and Clay County also added a score in the final minute of the contest, with Stephens going in from a yard out.

 

Clay County again had a balanced rushing attack, with three rushers gaining from 72 to 86 yards (Cox’s total in only seven carries). CCHS wound up with 316 total yards, all but 79 of them coming in the first half.  Red Boiling wound up with 186 total yards, 89 through the air. They attempted 22 passes on the night. (See full stats elsewhere.)

 

Clay County will host defending state champ Trousdale County this week. The Yellow Jackets are competing in the 2A playoff classification this season.

 

Dylan Collins (58) and teammates close in on an RBS runner.

Dylan Collins (58) and teammates close in on an RBS runner.