For The News Courier
COXEY — Despite a gritty effort by an undermanned Clements squad, Ardmore earned its fourth victory by fending off the Colts 16-7 in non-region play at a damp M.T. Newman Stadium Friday night.
Class 4A Ardmore (4-1) used a dominant rushing attack to wear down 3A Clements (0-5) and spoil the Colts’ homecoming. The Tigers amassed 342 yards on 59 running plays, while Clements had 118 on 16 carries.
After a scoreless opening quarter, Clements struck first in the second when Marcus McNaughton zipped a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Marsh and Austin Sims nailed the PAT to put the Colts ahead 7-0 with 21 seconds remaining until halftime.
Ardmore fullback Ricky Lowery bulldozed into the end zone from two yards out and Garett Miller connected with Hayden Durrett on the 2-point conversion to put the Tigers ahead 8-7 with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
A 2-yard TD run by Tyler McCarley and a Miller run for the 2-point conversion increased the Ardmore lead to 16-7 four minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers’ defense had to stall Clements in the final period to preserve the win.
With Ardmore clinging to an 8-7 lead, the Colts’ Demarcus Johnson busted loose on a 50-yard run and had a clear path to the end zone, but sophomore Dominic Clemons made the open-field tackle, and the Colts’ drive fizzled.
With six minutes left in the game, Clements started from its own 35 and drove to the Ardmore 5 before being stopped on fourth down when McNaughton’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone at the 2:46 mark. The Colts had another chance to score from the Tigers’ 5-yard line in the closing seconds, but Clemons batted away a pass intended for Marsh in the end zone to preserve the 16-7 final score.
Zach Ellis had a team-high 158 yards on 22 carries, while McCarley finished with 121 yards on 21 rushes and one touchdown and Lowery ran nine times for 50 yards and a score. Miller finished 2 of 5 passing for 32 yards and an interception, had a 2-point conversion run and a conversion pass and recovered Clements’ lone fumble.
Johnson totaled 83 yards on 11 carries, while wide receiver Carson Cook had a career night with six receptions on 93 yards. McNaughton was 14 of 18 for 172 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Both teams resume region play this Friday as Ardmore travels to J.O. Johnson in Huntsville, and Clements plays at Westminster Christian.
—Darrell Colvett contributed to this report