13-0 fourth quarter lead slips away
By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
CLINTON - Union County was in control of the game, leading 13-0 going into the fourth quarter. But everything went No. 3 Clinton's way in the final period and the Red Devils won 14-13.
It started when the Yellow Jackets fumbled a punt. Then Clinton picked up 30 yards on a pass interference penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the same UCHS player.
The Devils capitalized with a 4-yard touchdown run by Matt Ligon. The kick failed, but Clinton was on the board, trailing 13-6.
Arsi Roberson intercepted a Jacket pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown, just 15 seconds later. Clinton went for two points and the lead and got it with 8:21 remaining on a pass from Taylor Cook to the Devil tight end.
UCHS' defense forced Clinton to punt. The Jackets got great field position at their own 38-yard line and appeared to score the game winning touchdown. Devin Thompson caught a 23-yard pass, Keiston Stevens ran for 17 yards and Marcus Whitener went in for a 15-yard touchdown with under two minutes to go. But the score was nullified on a block-in-the-back call.
Stevens ran for 8 yards and Tim Duckett caught a 7-yard pass to set the score up again, but Whitener fumbled at the 1-yard line and the Red Devils recovered with 39 seconds to go.
Clinton took a few knees to pull out the win.
"It hurts - as bad a one as I can remember," said coach David Lipsey. "I thought we had the game going our way, they came back and we make a great drive right there at the end - score and have it called back and then going in and lay it on the ground. This is a hard one."
The first three quarters were all Yellow Jackets, with the offense stepping up and the defense continuing to shut down opponents.
UCHS scored on its second possession of the game, going 71 yards in eight plays. Thompson caught a 38-yard pass from Stevens and Whitener ran hard to set up a 2-yard touchdown run on the option by Keiston Stevens. Rhett Glenn kicked the extra point and the Jackets led 7-0 at halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, Clinton had a touchdown catch by Kelton Hall called back on a block-in-the-back call.
Roberson made an interception and the Devils drove deep into Union County territory, but the Jacket defense held.
The offense got the ball back on its 34-yard line and drove 66 yards in seven plays for a score. Marcus Lott caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Stevens. The kick failed.
That led into the action packed final frame.
"I think we played good offensively and defensively," said Lipsey. "We made a mistake on special teams that hurt us, but I think we're getting better and better. We've just got to keep it together - (Clinton) is a team we're liable to see later down the road."
Lipsey didn't criticize referees on the block-in-the back call that cost UCHS a win.
"We scored on a good play and got called back on a play way behind the ball, but that's the way it is - we've got to go on, pick ourselves up and get ready for next week." said Lipsey.
Union County (2-3, 1-1) hosts Eastside on Friday.
Clinton 14, UCHS 13
UCHS 7 0 6 0 - 13
Clinton 0 0 0 14 - 14
U - Keiston Stevens 2-yd run (Rhett Glenn kick)
U - Marcus Lott 38-yd pass from Stevens (kick failed)
C - Matt Ligon 4-yd run (kick failed)
C - Arsi Roberson 28-yd interception return (2pt. pass)
Total Yards: UCHS 210, Clinton 119
First Downs: UCHS 9, Clinton 8
Penalties: UCHS 60 yds, Clinton 40 yds
Rushing: Marcus Whitener 72 yds
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