[cb_profit_poster FlagFootball]Clinton, S.C., Saturday, August 31, 2013, 12:22 p.m.
Well, it wasn’t that bad, not as bad as the score indicated, and, yes, that qualifies as one of football’s season’s familiar rationalizations.
Gaffney walloped Clinton, 45-18, last night, and that’s probably what was expected when one of the state’s larger Class AAAA schools took on South Carolina’s smallest AAA school.
But, based on the statistics announced on Gaffney’s radio broadcast while Alex Howard and I were driving away, the Red Devils had possession of the ball twice as long, accumulated slightly more total yards and rushed for more than 300 alone. The Indians, of course, averaged about 10 yards a play and the Red Devils a mere five.
It was Gaffney’s second game and Clinton’s first, so I hope that explains Clinton’s five fumbles and numerous mishandled snaps between the center and quarterback.
Here’s the lesson: If you’re going to run an old-fashioned offense, you’d better have an old-fashioned defense.
Gaffney led, 24-0, at the end of the first quarter. The Red Devils got it back to 31-18 and held onto the ball for all but two minutes of the third quarter. After all that, Clinton didn’t score, and the fact that the Indians knocked the Red Devil quarterback out of the game had a little to do with it. From there, the rout was on.
Statistics are basically for losers. Winners don’t have to dwell on them. If Clinton is to have a successful season, it must eliminate mistakes and learn how to tackle better. But there’s hope.
The team showed it can be good, maybe even great, but it’s not there yet. As miserable nights in Gaffney go, this could have been worse.
Alex and I got caught in Columbia rush-hour traffic – it’s a two-hour drive to Gaffney without traffic – and didn’t see the opening kickoff, which was a successfully executed onsides variety on which the Red Devils couldn’t capitalize.
We watched the Red Devils get clobbered on one side of the visitors’ grandstands. Then, because I thought Alex would enjoy hearing the band play, we sat behind the Devil Regiment for a while, then we saw Clinton rally and fall short, and when we ducked in behind some friends of mine, Alex probably enjoyed listening to me commiserate the Red Devils’ fate.
At the moment, Alex is visiting his great grandmother – that would be my mother – and I’m cranking out the daily blog. I’m picking him up at 3 and we’re driving to Boiling Springs, N.C. — oddly enough, not too far north of Gaffney — to watch Furman play Gardner-Webb.
This is by Alex’s choice. When I picked him up yesterday, I let him call the shots. I told him that (a.) the Furman game is on local TV, (b.) Clemson is playing Georgia on TV, (c.) we could watch both games on TV, or (d.) we could go to Gardner-Webb, listen to Clemson on the radio and get back for the end.
Alex surprised me. Two years ago he was a Gamecock fan. Now he prefers the Tigers more. But, he wants to go see the Paladins play, and while that surprises me, it also pleases me.
So we’re hitting the road again.
Tomorrow I’ll take Alex home and be back in time to watch the NASCAR race from Atlanta.
Clinton High School has won eight state championships in football. In 1975, Alex’s “Uncle Grandpa” was fortunate to be a member of one of them. In 1978, Uncle Grandpa’s brother, Brack, played on another. That was a long time ago, but I’m still vitally interested in my school, not to mention my college. While I’m confident a relatively small percentage of you are interested in my schools, I appreciate your indulgence. Be true to your school(s), too.