Defensive stops and some needed big plays from the running game paced Smith-Cotton to a 28-7 win Friday against Clinton at Tiger Stadium.
Up 21-7 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers elected to go for it on a fourth-and-1 from their own 24-yard line.
S-C lined up, took a timeout and lined up again before Caleb Reed ran up the middle for four yards and a first down.
“We had confidence in them,” said S-C coach Ryan Boyer. “A lot of the times they’ll tell us, ‘Hey, this is what we want and this is what we see.’ If we can’t get that yard then we’re going to have a long night regardless.”
After that, S-C used 10 plays to drive down the field and cap it off with Carlton Homan’s one-yard score. Blake Grupe’s fourth extra point was good to put S-C up 28-7 with 1:52 remaining.
Clinton wasn’t able to do much in the second half, punting twice and turning it over on downs on its final drive of the game to set up two kneel-downs by Reed to seal the win and put S-C at 7-0 for the season.
S-C struggled at times to move the chains in the second half, but it got a nine-play, 74-yard drive in the third quarter and Homan punched it in from a yard out to put S-C up 21-7 late in the quarter.
Reed’s 45-yard completion down the Tigers’ sideline the previous play set up the score.
A quick Smith-Cotton drive at the end of the first half gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead at the half.
After a Clinton punt, S-C started a drive at its own 27 with 2:19 remaining in the half.
Noah Aziere got to the outside for a 22-yard run on second-and-19 following a sack for a loss of nine.
Homan then broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage a then ran free for a 20-yard run.
Aziere then caught a pass from Reed in the middle of the field for a 24-yard gain to set S-C up at the four-yard line.
For the touchdown, Jackson leaped in the back right corner of the end zone for the reception.
The Grupe extra point made it 14-7 with 7.2 seconds remaining in the first half.
“It gave us a spark,” Boyer said. “You run those first couple of plays and see what’s you get out of it and from there see if you are going to take off and do some stuff.”
S-C turned a fumble into seven points for its first score of the game.
Ricky Warren came off the edge and forced the fumble and defensive tackle Noah Cooper jumped on it for the recovery at the Clinton 28-yard line.
A few Aziere runs and a Reed run got S-C to the four-yard line and Homan powered his way in for the score to put S-C up 7-0 with 4:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Clinton answered with a 13-play, 78-yard scoring drive to tie the game.
Clinton powered for short gains and broke for a 14-yard run and an eight-yard run on the drive.
A 22-yard pass got Clinton down to the five-yard line and a quarterback keeper two plays later got Clinton on the board. The extra point tied it up at 7-7 with 10:57 remaining in the second quarter.
The Tigers (7-0) will host St. Pius X next week.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.