Clyde Game Goes Down To Last Play At Scotland
By David Sharp
Rod Sears blocked a Knox County extra point try after Damon Hemmerling raced 65 yards for a touchdown, preserving a hard fought 20-19 Scotland County win over Knox County.
The Tigers had 100 penalty yards, including a holding call that negated a touchdown in the final five minutes.
Scotland County improved to 4-4 on the season, 3-1 in the Tri-Rivers Conference. Knox County fell to 2-6 overall, 1-4 in the conference.
The outcome sent the Clyde Trophy, named in honor of former Scotland County football player Kyle Peterson back to it’s place of origin.
Knox County held the Clyde the past four seasons after losing the first eight meetings in succession.
The Tigers went up 1-0 in the Class 1, District 10 standings. Knox County helped keep their playoff hopes alive by keeping the final score close. A team can gain or lose a maximum of 13 net points in any district playoff game.
Knox County dropped to 0-1 in the overall district standings with a minus one in the net point column.
The net point tiebreaker is used in the event of a three way tie. Head to head district competition breaks a two way tie in the four team district standings.
In order to gain advantage in the net point tie breaker, Scotland County went for a touchdown at the end of the game rather than run the clock out.
Knox County stopped the Tigers on their one yard line as time expired.
“It was just a good old fashioned border war. A trophy game,” Scotland County coach Brent Bondurant said. “We had a meeting of the minds with our offensive and defensive lines at halftime. We played better in the second half.”
Both sides concentrated on their run game most of the contest. Rod Sears scored the first of two first half touchdowns on a 20 yard dash with 6:09 remaining in the first quarter. The extra point kick was no good.
The Eagles ran the ball hard out of their I formation, especially in the first half. Kellen Gillaspy powered home from one yard out with 1:05 showing on the first quarter clock. Gillaspy kicked the extra point for a 7-6 Eagle edge.
Leighton McCabe gave the visiting team a seven point lead on a 16 yard touchdown run with 3:52 showing on the second quarter clock. The two point run failed, leaving Knox County on top of a 13-6 score.
Scotland County responded with a half closing drive. Rod Sears scored from 11 yards out with 21 seconds to play in the period. Brock Bondurant hooked up with Harley Stone for the two point pass for a 14-13 Tiger edge at the half.
Ben Shannan had a pass interception for Scotland County. The Eagles did a better job of ball security and played one of their best overall games of the season. Knox County did not lose a fumble the entire game, limiting their turnovers to one on the night.
Sabe Sears dashed seven yards for a touchdown with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter. The two point run failed, leaving Scotland County ahead by a 20-13 score.
Knox County held the football for the final five minutes of the quarter. The Eagles successfully switched to a 3-4 defense. The odd man front gave linebackers Damon Hemmerling and Cameron Morford room to record double digit tackle totals.
Cameron Morford had a game high 14 tackles. Damon Hemmerling brought down 13 Tiger ball carriers. Sabe Sears led Scotland County with 12 tackles.
After an exchange of punts, Damon Hemmerling electrified the visiting crowd with a 65 yard touchdown rumble at the 6:29 mark of the fourth quarter.
Knox County was assessed a key five yard penalty on the extra point try.
“Kellen (Gillaspy) had been kicking well in practice. Our defense had been playing so well we decided to kick for the tie.” Knox County coach Alex VanDelft said.
The Tigers were able to burn about three minutes off the clock following the KC score.
The Eagles got the football back with a little under four minutes to play in the game. Scotland County stopped the Eagles on their 41 yard line a half foot shy on downs.
Scotland County ran out the remaining two minutes, preserving their 20-19 victory. Scotland County recorded 17 first downs to 13 for the Eagles. The Tigers rushed 45 times for 258 yards and three scores.
Sabe Sears led all rushers with 23 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown. Cousin Rod Sears rushed 12 times for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Brock Bondurant gained 16 yards on the ground and Harley Stone rushed for 15 Tiger yards.
Scotland County was 5-10 passing for 73 yards. Zach Miller had a 34 yard catch from Sabe Sears. Harley Stone had two receptions for 27 yards.
Sabe Sears was 1-3 passing for 34 yards. Brock Bondurant passed seven times with four completions and 29 yards.
Scotland County had 12 penalties on the night for 100 yards.
“We had a tough fight on our hands. Hats off to Knox County. Whoever wins our district is going to have to run the table,” Brent Bondurant said. “We got the job done with a one point win.”
Knox County rushed 35 times for 219 yards according to official Scotland County stats. Damon Hemmerling led the Eagles with ten rushing attempts for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Leighton McCabe ran 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. Kellen Gillaspy rushed four times for 15 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles had three plays for negative yardage on the night with no quarterback sacks allowed. Brent Cowan had a two yard carry.
Chance Tungate had a 14 yard pass reception. Jared Barnard had a 13 yard catch. Kellen Gillaspy passed seven times with three completions for a net gain of 19 yards. Knox County had six penalties for 65 yards on the night.
“It was a game of execution. Both coaching staffs came prepared with what they wanted to do,” Alex VanDelft said. “The defenses did a great job of stopping each other. It just came down to who made their extra points.”
“They did and we didn’t. They came away with the victory,” Coach VanDelft said. “We challenged our offensive line and focused on the run. We came away with some pretty good results.”
“We did a lot better job of controlling the clock this week. We had a great effort. Damon Hemmerling had 13 tackles and had a big touchdown for us,” VanDelft said. We were focused and ready to go. We executed tonight.”
“I’m proud of them,” Alex VanDelft said of his Eagles. “This is a game we can build on. We have to come ready to go against North Shelby.”
“We have to stop that connection between Alex Thrasher and John Stoneburner. We gave up 183 passing yards the last time we played. That is too many yards to give up and be successful.”
Knox County came back on Monday after a weather shortened conference game at North Shelby for a 32-18 victory. Dalton Mettes had 82 receiving yards in the week three match up.