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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Charleston's Clark proves too much for Portageville

Thursday, November 8, 2001

(Photo)
Charleston's Desrone Williams (88) breaks up a pass intended for Portageville's Eric Booker (84) in Wednesday's 2A Sectional. Charleston won 27-6.
PORTAGEVILLE - After rushing for 213 yards in the season-opener against Kennett, Charleston quarterback Dontay Clark never came close to duplicating that performance all year.

That was until Wednesday night's Class 2A Sectional game against Portageville.

Clark ran through and around the Bulldogs for a season-high 215 yards while leading his Bluejays to a 27-6 win at Vic Reaves Stadium.

Charleston (9-2) advances to the state quarterfinals where they will host John Burroughs on Monday at 7 p.m. It's the Bluejays' first quarterfinal appearance since 1996 and their first in Class 2A.

The speedy Clark carried the ball just 12 times, scoring three touchdowns on runs of 61, 1 and 71 yards.

"We felt like (Clark) would be the difference all week," said Charleston head coach Brent Anderson. "We ran a ton of option this week in practice. (Portageville has) a great defense and it's geared up to stop that run, but I felt like they hadn't played the option in a while. It's hard to defend, and when you've got a kid like Clark, he's hard to defend period. You get him in a one on one situation with that option, then things become tough on a defense."

Portageville (7-3) head coach Jim McKay knew his team would have to control the ball on offense, keeping it out of the big-play Bluejays' hands.

The Bulldogs did run 20 more plays than Charleston and had the edge in time of possession, but it still wasn't enough. Portageville moved the ball well at times, putting together two 10-play drives, but they came away with zero points both times. The Bulldogs finally broke the shutout with a touchdown with 18 seconds left.

"We got in position about three times to score, but we just couldn't punch it in," said McKay. "Part of it was our fault and part of it was Charleston playing good defense. If we could've took one or two in, then maybe it could've been a little different."

But the Bluejay defense was up to the challenge, forcing several third-and-longs, which put the Bulldog offense in unfamiliar territory -- passing.

Portageville, which averages just six passes per game, was forced to throw 22 times on Wednesday. They completed just six, with four of those coming in the final two minutes.

"Defensively we got after them -- the kids came out and they were ready to go," said Anderson. "They've been fired up since last year at this time when we turned our pads in. This group of kids is not ready to quit. We had some fumble problems a couple of times, but the kids kept bouncing back and that's what it's all about."

Charleston struck quickly with Clark keeping the option on the second play of the game for a 61-yard score. Paul Brown's extra point, one of three that he kicked, made the score 7-0 with 11:06 to go in the first quarter.

Later in the quarter, Charleston put together a 7-play drive as Clark took the quarterback sneak in from the 1-yard line to make the score 14-0 with 39 seconds left in the frame.

"Clark is outstanding and they've got other players that are the same way," said McKay. "I knew they were going to have a good team -- they've got a whole bunch of speed in a lot of places. We misplayed a couple of option plays. But Charleston played great, they played hard and we just had a hard time keeping up with them."

In the second quarter, Charleston lost fumbles on two straight possessions in their own territory, but the Bulldogs could only reach the Bluejay 18- and 23-yard line before losing the ball on downs.

The score would remain 14-0 heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, Portageville appeared ready to mash the ball up the field, marching more than 20 yards in eight plays. But Henry Hall forced a fumble right as quarterback Lance Penn was preparing to throw.

The ball fell right into the arms of Dadrian Jones who raced 48 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bluejays a 21-0 lead with 7:16 left in the third quarter.

Later in the quarter, Portageville once again was able to move the ball, but the drive stalled at the Bluejay 5-yard line.

"They've done that all year to everybody, except they've put it in the end zone," said Anderson. "I don't know that they've played a defense as good as what I think ours is, maybe other than Hayti. But they have not been held like that all year."

On the ensuing possession, Clark kept the option again and raced 71 yards for the TD, making the score 27-0 with 7:00 left in the game.

Other than Clark, Charleston tailback Jordy Mixon ran for 96 yards on 15 carries while fullback Orrice Stanback ran for 46 yards on eight carries.

Portageville was able to tack on the final score with 18 seconds left when Penn found Dantwan Chillers for a 9-yard TD pass.

"I never envisioned (the score) being like this," said Anderson. "I thought they were going to be able to power it at us and keep the football. Our kids watched the film and saw what they were going to try to do. (Portageville) wanted to bully us up front, but our kids took it personal and played well."

Chillers was the only Bulldog able to do much offensively, rushing for 88 yards on 21 carries. He had 176 all-purpose yards in the game.

Even with the loss, Portageville's season was a successful one. The Bulldogs, winless last year, posted the school's first district championship since 1997.

"I'm really proud of my kids, I've got three young coaches that have done a great job," said McKay. "I would've liked to have gone on and continued, but I'm really happy with the season overall. If somebody had asked me before the year if we would have that big a turnaround, I probably would've said I doubt it. But I knew we were going to work hard at it and see what happened. The kids got confidence and got on a roll and had a real good season."

The Bluejays will now face an undefeated John Burroughs team that is ranked No. 2 in the state.

Anderson says his squad isn't ready to hang up the cleats just yet.

"I don't believe in (icing on the cake)," said Anderson. "I told the kids tonight that we're here to do a job, check our cards in, and go home. We're going to come with the same attitude Monday night. We're coming to win the football game."