LEES CREEK – East Clinton showed signs of offensive life Friday night but came up short against Fayetteville 22-14 in SBAAC National Division football action in Lees Creek.
East Clinton celebrated Homecoming with Megan Stewart crowned queen and Zach Mitchell crowned king in pre-game ceremonies.
East Clinton struggled on offense to start the game, turning the ball over on each of its three first-quarter possessions. Austin Rolfe had a 22-yard run on one drive but that drive ended on a fourth down fumble.
After slow start, Fayetteville began running the football and the result was a 71 yard scoring drive, capped by Hunter Jester’s 5 yard scoring run.
Faytteville-Perry has East Clinton connections. The athletic director is Ryan Briggs, an EC grad. One of the assistants coaches on the football team is former EC football coach Duane Earley.
After Jester scored his second TD of the night, the Astros put together a good drive. With Jared Smith replacing Austin Rolfe at quarterback, East Clinton moved into Fayetteville territory. The drive didn’t end with a turnover, but a botched handoff on a fourth down play ended East Clinton’s chances of getting on the scoreboard.
The Astros found some life in the third period. Branson Smith intercepted a Fayetteville pass to put East Clinton in good field position. Jared Smith hooked up with Patrick Dotson for a first down pass then hit brother Branson Smith for another first down.
On a second and goal play from the 16, Jared found Branson over the middle and Branson weaved his way to the end zone for East Clinton’s first touchdown. Austin Arellano boomed the extra point to cut the difference to 22-7.
On the next series, Daulton Wilson picked up a Rockets fumble at the 21 and the Astros were immediately in business. Jared Smith to Dotson gained 14 yards and put EC at the 5. Jared Smith connected with Singleton for an apparent EC touchdown but a holding penalty negated the brief uprising by the EC faithful.
Undaunted, Jared Smith played pitch and catch on the very next play with Dotson who caught the ball in the right corner of the end zone and with Arellano’s extra point, the Astros were within a score, 22-14.
After Arellano drilled the Rockets kick returner on the ensuing kickoff, the defense sparkled with a three and out. East Clinton, however, was unable to sustain a drive and punted back to the Rockets.
EC caught a break when a snap sailed over the head of the Rockets QB. They were forced to punt from the 11. Tristan Burkitt caught the punt in full stride, barreled over a Fayetteville defender and took the ball down to the 11.
The Astros offense was unable to convert. The defense was still fired up but a penalty thwarted the Astros’ efforts and the Rockets ran out the clock.
Oct. 5, 2018
@East Clinton HS
Fayetteville 22 East Clinton 14
F-Hunter Jester 5 yard run, McCulley pass to Doane, 2:13
F-Hunter Jester 4 yard run, McCulley pass to Doane, 7:14
F-Bowen Doane 28 yard pass from CJ McCulley, pass failed, 3:31
EC-Branson Smith 16 yard pass from Jared Smith, Arellano PAT, 36.0
EC-Patrick Dotson 18 yard pass from Jared Smith, Arellano PAT, 9:57
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports