High School Football

Clinton balks at Cinderella tag

Clinton coach Andy Young doesn't like the "Cinderella" label attached to his football team's run to the Class AAA state championship game.

But if the glass slipper fits, wear it. What other term best describes a No. 4 seed with three losses that won all four of its playoff games on the road?

"I think it's pretty surprising to everybody," Young said. "It's not that we've played real good or bad. We've just got one of those teams that won't quit."

Just six weeks ago the Red Devils stood at 5-3, with their three losses coming by a combined total of five points. Then Clinton began learning how to win close games, beating Union County twice by field goals, the second time to advance to last week's 35-28 upset of Daniel for the Upper State title.

Not to mention the fact that the Red Devils (11-3) had to switch primary ball-carriers when 1,000-yard rusher Montel Keitt suffered a torn ACL.

In his place has stepped Taviouzie Booker, who also cracked the 1,000-yard mark last week and scored a season-high 23 touchdowns on the year.

The Red Devils' philosophy is in stark contrast to Myrtle Beach's spread offense and quarterback Everett Golson, who has thrown for 45 touchdowns this year.

"I'm scared of everything Myrtle Beach does, but especially that offense," Young said. "[Golson] is one of the best athletes I've ever seen. He has a lot of weapons and he knows how to get the ball in their hands. We haven't played against anybody this year that can run the spread like they do."

Golson will have to be aware of the presence of Kenny Cook, who leads Clinton with seven interceptions on the season. Golson has thrown only two.

The Seahawks' defense must rise to the occasion and stop the run against a bigger Red Devils offensive line, but they can't afford to fall asleep against the pass. To go along with its 2,000-plus yards rushing this season, Clinton quarterback Grant Templeton has provided 1,500 through the air for Clinton.

Still, work boots are a better fit for Clinton than glass slippers, and the Seahawks (13-1) will have their work cut out for them to earn a state-title repeat.

"We've won four straight games on the road against higher-ranked teams and won," Young said, "so we're not intimidated to play against anybody."