BY BRIAN HAMILTON
MARYVILLE – The William Blount Governors and Clinton Dragons met for the first time since 1997 on Friday night, a game that Clinton won 28-7.
The Dragons would win Friday’s game as well, handing William Blount a 41-23 loss in their opener.
Clinton took the opening kick and marched 80 yards to pay dirt, as Ereese King took the ball into the end zone for a 7-0 lead. The drive took almost seven minutes off the clock.
The Governors then went three-and-out on their first drive and were forced to punt. On the next Dragons possession, quarterback Joshua Keith found Jeremiah Blauvelt for a 71-yard touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed, leaving Clinton in front 13-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Connor Moody ran for an 11-yard score to increase the Dragons’ lead to 19-0. The extra-point attempt was once again blocked.
On the Governors’ next punt, the kick hit a lineman in the back and Clinton took over with great field position. The Dragons then went into the end zone again to take a 27-0 lead with 1:12 remaining in the first half.
That was not all the scoring in the half for Clinton, however, as William Blount was driving before Dodi Truss picked off a Matthew Clemmer pass and returned it 77 yards for a pick-six. The Dragons would take a 33-0 lead into the half. The Governors had just 46 yards of total offense at the intermission.
The Governors finally got on the board to start the third quarter when Clemmer found Brandon Keeble for a 5-yard touchdown. The score was now 33-7 with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Clinton then fumbled the ball on its first possession of the second half, which set William Blount up at the Dragons’ 25-yard line. Job Matossian was then on the receiving end of another Clemmer touchdown pass to cut Clinton’s lead to 33-14.
With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, the Dragons botched a snap in the end zone for a William Blount safety, which made the score 33-16 and gave the ball back to the Governors. At the end of the third period, the score was 33-16 in favor of the Dragons.
Clinton made a big stop on fourth down early in the fourth and then proceeded to march down the field for a 42-yard drive that gave the Dragons a 41-16 lead with just 6:08 left in the game.
Clemmer then threw his third touchdown of the night, a 39-yard strike to Keeble, cutting the Clinton lead to 41-23 with 4:02 left in the game.
The comeback would fall short for the Governors, however, as they were able to outscore Clinton 23-8 in the second half, but a porous first half sealed their fate, losing 41-23.
William Blount (0-1) will travel to Karns next week, kicking off a four game road trip, while Clinton (1-0) will host Austin-East.