When the Clements Colts walked off the the field at Boss Hill Stadium in Elkmont after their Class 3A, Region 8 showdown with the Red Devils Friday night, they walked past a scoreboard showing 74-40 in favor of the visitors. Not only is 74 a school record for Clements for most points scored in a single game, it is a far cry from what that same scoreboard showed at halftime of the contest — 28-18 in favor of Elkmont.
The Colts outscored the Red Devils 56-12 in the second half en route to the big win, with 35 of those points coming in the third quarter alone.
“I didn't make any adjustments at halftime,” said Clements head coach Michael Parker. “They fixed it themselves. I left it up to (the players). We weren't playing our kind of ball, which we haven't all year. In the second half we started doing things better, and we figured out what kind of team we could be. In the first half we did what we have done all year, fool around and let people hang around in the ball game. We executed better in the second half.”
The Colts took an early 12-0 lead thanks in part to an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jayden Gilbert, but the Red Devils dialed up a reverse pass where quarterback Rowe Allen connected with Ryan Boyd for a 12-yard score to narrow the gap to 12-8 after a conversion run by Allen.
Clements' next drive was ended by an interception from Nick Chambless at Elkmont's own 42-yard line. The next play saw Allen weave in an out of traffic en route to a 58-yard touchdown run. The ensuing conversion pass was picked off, leaving the Red Devils up 14-12 with 5:14 to go in the opening quarter.
Elkmont missed a field goal attempt wide right from ts own 20-yard line early in the second quarter, and Clements regained the lead soon after when Gilbert capped a drive with a short touchdown run to make it 18-14 Colts after the conversion attempt failed.
On the Red Devils' next offensive play Allen connected with Boyd on a long touchdown bomb, with Allen running in a conversion to put Elkmont back on top 22-18.
Clements began a drive deep in its own territory late in the quarter, but a fumble gave Elkmont the ball in the red zone at the 9-yard line. However, the Red Devils fumbled the ball right back to the Colts on the next play.
The string of turnovers continued on the next snap, as Gilbert's pass was picked off by Allen at the Colts' 43-yard line.
This time Elkmont capitalized on the change of possession when Allen made a 27-yard run and score with only 1.9 seconds remaining before the break. The ensuing conversion pass was picked off, leaving the score at 28-18 Red Devils.
Elkmont received the kickoff after halftime and seemed to be heading to the end zone once again, but a lost fumble at the Clements 28-yard line seemed to squash the momentum the Red Devils had built up to that point.
After that point the Colts would score 35 unanswered points in the third quarter before Elkmont found the end zone again.
The scores for the Colts included a 75-yard run by Gilbert, a 35-yard pass from Gilbert to Hunter Hall, a hook and ladder that started with Gilbert and ended with Deontae Crenshaw streaking up the sideline, a 65-yard run by Gilbert and a 30-yard pick six by Crenshaw to make it 53-28 Clements with 2:03 left to go in the quarter.
“We took advantage of that (turnover) and scored,” Parker said. “We got up a couple on them, we got a little confidence about us and started executing.”
Allen connected with Hunter Broadway on a 65-yard touchdown pass to end the drought for Elkmont and narrow the gap to 53-34.
The first play of the fourth quarter saw Carsyn Haaker score from five yards out to make it 60-34 Clements. Riley Gosser would extend the Colts' lead to 67-34 on a 10-yard touchdown run followed by a PAT from Alex Kraus.
The final scores of the game came on a short touchdown plunge by Jaydon Koehler for the Red Devils and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Ian Ezell for the Colts.
The win puts Clements at 3-6 overall and 3-3 in region play. The Colts are now in a three-way tie with Colbert Heights and Phil Campbell to decide the final two playoff spots from the region.
“It will come down to next week's non-region opponents,” Parker said. “Right now I think we are not sitting well with our non-region opponents, because Phil Campbell has played a bunch of 2As and 1As, and we played West Limestone, Ardmore and Wilson. It doesn't look good for us right now, but you never know what will happen next week.”
Clements will host Class 2A Hatton (4-5) next week.
With the loss, Elkmont falls to 0-9 overall and 0-6 in region play. The Red Devils will host Class 4A opponent Hanceville (2-7) next week in their final game of the 2020 season.