Clinton put together arguably its most complete game of the season Friday night in a 38-7 Class 3A second-round playoff victory over Broome at Wilder Stadium.
The Red Devils defense harassed Broome quarterback Kamajay Brackett-Brannon from the outset and shut down the Centurions sophomore running back Jaylen McGill.
McGill, who already has NCAA Division I offers from the likes of South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Tennessee, carried the ball 11 times for just 19 yards as Broome was limited to minus-6 yards rushing. Brackett-Brannon completed 15 of 23 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown with 74 yards of that total coming on a short pass that Brayden Simpson turned into a touchdown in the opening minute of the second half.
It was one Clinton’s few missteps on the night.
“We played with a chip on our shoulder on offense, on defense and on special teams,” said Clinton head coach Corey Fountain. “We’ve been hearing about their running backs, thir quarterback, their runners. We got tired of it. Our coaches prepared our young men to play in this game, and we played Clinton football. We drove the ball down their throat in the first half and the second half. We played great defense, great special teams, and that’s what we’ve got to have going forward.”
Clinton (10-2) advances to face unbeaten Belton-Honea Path (12-0) in the Upper State semifinals next week in Belton. The Bears defeated Pendleton 44-28 Friday night.
Broome, which had lost two regular-season games this season to Class 5A Spartanburg and Chapman by a total of four points, was previously a regular visitor to Wilder Stadium when the two teams were both in Region 3-3A, and some elements of Clinton’s victory were familiar.
The Red Devils rushed for five touchdowns and compiled 336 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Tushawan Richardson completed 10 of 14 passes for 155 yards and had touchdown runs of 3 and 6 yards as the Red Devils had four scoring drives of at least eight plays.
D.J. Clark, Tray Cook and Zane McLendon also had short touchdown runs for Clinton.
Clark opened the scoring with a 7-yard run with 11:12 left in the second quarter, and Cook added a 4-yard run with 5:50 to go before halftime.
Richardson’s first score came on a 6-yard run that capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive that put Clinton ahead 21-0 with 3 seconds left in the first half.
That was more than enough for the Red Devils, who have won six straight games since back-to-back losses to Chapman and South Aiken in late September.
“We felt like it would be the most dynamic backfield we faced all year,” said Clinton linebacker Brett Young. “So, we knew if we hit them in the mouth and just kept hitting them over and over again, then eventually they’d tire out and not want anymore.”