The Clarksdale Wildcats topped the Charleston Tigers 16-6 Friday night, but the Coahoma County team found itself limping out of Tiger Stadium, licking its wounds.
Class 4A Clarksdale improved to 4-1 while Class 2A Charleston dropped to 2-3.
A cursory review of stats showed what Tigers fans who saw the game already knew.
Both teams had 42 offensive plays, yet Charleston compiled 224 yards of offense to Clarksdale’s 175.
The Tigers averaged 5.3 yards per play, the Wildcats averaged just 4.2.
On the ground, Charleston outgained Clarksdale 167 yards to 147 yards — and did so with four fewer attempts.
The Tigers recorded 13 first downs to the Wildcats’ 11 and the home team converted 37.5% of third-down opportunities to the visitors’ 23.1%.
“We beat them everywhere but the scoreboard,” said Charleston head coach LaDon Taylor. “The last thing I told the guys before we left the locker room was, we were going to be physical and we were going to play fast. ... They went out and did that. I was very proud of their effort as a unit.
“It was not the outcome that we wanted at all,” he continued, “but if there was something good about it, it was the fact that we played really well. ... Our kids competed and I thought they represented our school well.”
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The Tigers did have some misfortune and some self-inflicted injury. In the end, Charleston’s offense allowed the Wildcats more points than the defense.
Trailing 14-6 in the third quarter, the home team came knocking on Clarksdale’s door. Positioned inside the 1-yard line, the Tigers planned to run a quarterback sneak. Instead, a flag was thrown and Charleston was pushed back after an official ruled that the QB was moving forward before the snap. Ultimately, the Tigers failed to score on that possession.
“That touchdown would have made it 14-12, them, so we would have had the opportunity to go for 2 and tie it up,” Taylor noted.
With 1 second in the third quarter, the Tigers were at the Wildcats’ 5 when the quarterback had the ball knocked out. A Clarksdale defender recovered and raced the distance for a 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The two-point run after was good.
As the clock wound inside 1 minute in the fourth, Clarksdale drove to the Charleston 2 before the Tigers mounted a goal line stand to force a turnover on downs. However, on the next play, the Wildcats scored a safety after officials ruled the CHS quarterback was tackled in the end zone.
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It was Charleston who got on the scoreboard first when quarterback Devon Olive scored on a 2-yard run to cap a drive that began in the first quarter and spilled over into the second. The two-point conversion run was unsuccessful, but the home team led 6-0 with 11:05 in the first half.
Clarksdale was able to cash in with an 80-yard scoring drive just before the half, culminating with an 11-yard pass for the touchdown. The Wildcats’ two-point run attempt was stuffed by the Tigers.
The final points of the night came on the defensive safety with 59 seconds in the game.
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Taylor lauded the play of true freshman quarterback Olive, who was 7-of-10 for 57 yards passing and scored on a 2-yard run.
“He made that mistake at the end, but Devon Olive played really well for us,” the coach said. “He threw the ball really well for us.”
Taylor gave a large assist for Olive’s play to Charleston’s reshuffled offensive line.
“We made a few changes here and there, and the offensive line really stepped up and played well for us this past week,” the coach said.
Corterrius Johnson led CHS rushers with 10 carries for 101 yards, a hefty 10.1-yard average. Marcus Flowers had 15 totes for 49 yards and Dre Riley three for 23.
Riley led the receiving corps with four catches for 32 yards. Terrence Marco had one grab for 13 yards, Omar Wilson one for 9 and Flowers one for 3 yards.
Defensively, Taylor said Riley led Charleston with eight solo tackles and two assists. Timothy Kirk had four solos, four assists and one sack. Quinterrius Goliday had four solos and four assists. Latese Edwards made four individual tackles and two assisted ones. Omar Wilson had four solos. Montra Stanford recorded three solo stops with one sack. C.J. Edwards and Kavarrion Brown both had three solos and two assists. D.J. Boyd made three individual tackles. Tracy Truly had two solos and one sack, and Brandon Henderson notched two tackles, two assists and one interception in the contest.
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This week, Charleston travels to Sardis to take on the 1-4 North Panola Cougars, fresh from a 32-6 loss to Senatobia.
Any Tigers fans planning to attend the game must purchase an advance ticket at GoFan. There will be no ticket sales at the gate, Taylor explained.
Taylor said the Cougars are well-coached and have some good athletes.
“We’re both kind of coming into this game just trying to finish out the preseason, so to speak, as healthy as we can going into division play.”
This will be Charleston’s last contest before starting a slate of four consecutive Region 3-2A games — Oct. 7 at North Side; Oct. 14, a homecoming tilt with Strayhorn; Oct. 21 at M.S. Palmer in Marks; and, to close the regular season, Oct. 27 at home against Coahoma County.