CONCORD – It felt like the Cream of Cabarrus No. 3-ranked Central Cabarrus football team was stuck in neutral during the first half of its non-conference clash with Class 2A power Clinton on Friday.
But the Vikings defense got things in gear and powered them to a 19-8 victory at Dink Jordan Field.
Central Cabarrus collected three second-half interceptions, held Clinton scoreless and allowed just 62 total yards over the final 24 minutes, fueled by relentless play along the defensive front.
“Offensively, we were a little anemic the first half, but the defense picked us up when we needed it in the second half,” Vikings coach Kenneth McClamrock said. “I thought defensively we played lights out, and they put us in a position to put the game away late.”
After a penalty-ravaged start, Clinton took an 8-0 lead in the second quarter on a 10-play, 64-yard that was capped by Blake Smith’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Kaba.
But the Vikings turned up the defensive pressure, enabling their offense to get on track. On Clinton’s first possession in the third quarter, big stops by Logan Anderson and Nate Frazier, and a crucial pass breakups by Devon Coley and DeAndre Boykins stopped the Dark Horses’ drive at their own 31.
On the ensuing punt, Coley had a spectacular return down to the Clinton 18-yard line, igniting the home crowd. But several penalties, including a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Central Cabarrus bench, ultimately took the ball back to the Vikings’ 13-yard line.
No matter. Boykins took over the game with rushes of 20, 21 and 49 yards down to the Clinton 1, and then Blue Monroe came in and tossed a 1-yard scoring pass to Elijah Horton for the Viking’s first score.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings defense came up big again. Frazier crushed King as he dropped back to pass, and Anderson intercepted the pass and returned it down the sideline to the 18.
After an illegal block penalty took the ball back to the 37, the Vikings scored again when Dajon Johnson hit Monroe on a 24-yard touchdown pass, giving Central its first lead, 12-8.
The defense helped seal the game on Clinton’s next possession when Horton intercepted a pass at the Dark Horse 35-yard line. Boykins later scored on a fantastically blocked run from 15-yards out to ice the game for the Vikings.
Central Cabarrus 4-2 overall, 0-0 South Piedmont 3A Conference; Clinton 3-1, 0-0 in East Central 2A
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
Johnson’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Monroe was the play that broke Clinton’s will. Johnson made a strong read on the play and delivered a throw to the back of the end zone, where only Monroe could catch it.
“The safety was nowhere near me, and the line blocked great, and Dajon threw a great ball to me.” Monroe said.
-- Boykins showed once again why he is high on Division I recruiting lists. His back-to-back runs of 22 and 48 yards showed both amazing vision, cutting ability and speed. He finished with 116 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
-- Defensive players Anderson, Fraizer, Te’Veon Glover and Brooks Lawing all were outstanding, along with Kevin Clerge, Horton and Mekhi Dunn
-- Quarterbacks Smith and King played well and hit for multiple long passes with Viking defenders in their faces.
--Running back J’daques Wallace had a good night with a long run of 37 yard was generally able to pick up positive yardage up the middle.
-- It was an intense game which saw several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both teams and some confusing officiating decisions. There were many stoppages of play while officials discussed rulings, which slowed the game significantly and angered both sidelines.
--Clinton used three quarterbacks in the game. Smith and King alternated series at times, and Mohamad Kaba, normally a linebacker, also got some snaps early in the game when the Dark Horses were pinned deep in their own territory.
-- Monroe played multiple positions, throwing and catching touchdown passes and contributing his blocking skills in the running game as well.
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Central Cabarrus has next week off before visiting A.L. Brown. Clinton plays at Northside Jacksonville next Friday.
Central Cabarrus 0 0 6 13 -- 19
Clinton 0 8 0 0 -- 8
C – Mohamed Kaba 9 pass from Blake Smith (Kaba run)
CC – Elijah Horton 1 pass from Blue Monroe (pass failed)
CC – Monroe 24 pass from Dajon Johnson (run failed)
CC – DeAndre Boykins 15 run (Jaciel Garibo kick)