Ninety Six hosted a football scrimmage Tuesday at Wilson-Campbell Stadium and wanted to build on last week’s showing at the WCTEL Classic jamboree in Abbeville.
Clinton and Blacksburg also competed in the scrimmage against Ninety Six, which wanted to have a better showing after a stomach bug affected the team’s play against McCormick in the jamboree on Friday.
The Wildcats had another strong showing running the football with Josh Booker, George Nicholson and Jakalin Pendermon, but the defense allowed multiple touchdowns to Clinton and Blacksburg. Ninety Six also failed to reach the end zone on one drive that halted inside the 5-yard line.
Ninety Six coach Matthew Owings said he wants to take a closer look at film in order to get a better look at players, including Matthew Deal and Andrew Gossett at quarterback, but he wants his players to be sharper.
“Friday night looked rough because of the bug,” Owings said. “No excuses, but it was what it was. We tried to clean things up, and even with some of our starters back, we still have work to do. We moved the ball well at times, we made stops at times, but it was too many steps back instead of steps forward. But we’re going to get there.”
Clinton coach Corey Fountain is entering his first season with the Red Devils after winning state championships with Class 1A Lamar in 2015 and 2017. Lamar had a winning season every year since 2014 under Fountain.
Fountain is looking forward to leading a program rebuild at Clinton. The Red Devils finished last season 2-8 and missed the playoffs.
“There’s a lot of tradition at Clinton, and we want to build on that tradition,” Fountain said. “We want to keep getting better every week. We want to be fast, we want to play physical, and we want to play smart. That’s our mantra right now. The kids just have to buy in, keep doing what we’re doing and get better every day.”
Clinton’s running game looked explosive against Ninety Six and Blacksburg.
Kimon Quarles broke out for several big gains to lead the offensive attack.
The Red Devils also made several key stops on defense to stall offensive drives from Ninety Six and Blacksburg.
“Our guys had a lot of energy, and they were pulling for each other,” Fountain said. “Everybody was trying to gel together as a family, and that’s what we’ve got to have if we’re going to be successful.”