Morenci first to beat Clinton during regular season since 2011

By: 
Mickey Alvarado

Clinton senior Danny Spence was unable to hang on to a pass to the end zone with coverage by Morenci’s Tyler VanBrandt. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

A completed pass to the end zone on a fourth down in overtime gave Morenci High School’s varsity football team the first regular-season victory against Clinton since it lost to Sand Creek on October 21, 2011.
 
Clinton lost its homecoming game 20-14 to the Bulldogs and ended a 40 regular-season game win streak. It also put to an end the Redskins’ Tri-County Conference win streak of 30 consecutive games.
 
Morenci closed the first quarter leading 8-6 after the Redskins missed rushing into the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt.
 
The second quarter went scoreless but both teams hit the end zone in the third quarter. The difference was Morenci missed its two-point conversion attempt this time, which kept the game tied at 14-14 with 8:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
 
Neither team was able to score before regulation time ran out, sending them into overtime. Clinton won the overtime toss and elected to play offense starting from the 10-yard line. 
 
Clinton was unable to move the ball on first and second down but Cordell Hernandez rushed the ball to the seven-yard line on the Redskins’ third attempt to score. Clinton coach Scott McNitt then opted for a three-point field goal attempt and Erik Bouse connected on the kick for a 17-14 lead.
 
Morenci was in the same do-or-die situation after getting the ball with the game coming down to one final chance to score on a fourth down and 10-yard play. The Bulldogs’ quarterback passed to a tightly covered Garrett Smith and he was somehow able to hang on to the ball for a game-winning touchdown reception.
 
Morenci scored the first touchdown on a 34-yard run in the first quarter (7:55) by Luke Grieder and added two points on a conversion run by Harley McCaskey.
 
Clinton’s Steven Laurell scored Clinton’s first touchdown in the opening quarter (3:56) on a 27-yard pass from Nelson but the Redskins’ two-point conversion run was shut down.
 
The Redskins scored again in the fourth quarter (9:37) on a four-yard run by Hernandez. He then gave Clinton (4-1, 2-1 TCC) a 14-8 lead with a good two point conversion run.
 
Morenci (3-2, 2-1) tied the game with Smith running into the end zone from two yards out, but a missed two point conversion pass set up the dramatic overtime finish.
 
Hernandez led the Redskins rushing attack with 129 yards on 26 carries.
 
Nelson completed 6-of-12 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Clinton’s Laurell (3-47), Clayton Langer (2-38) and Brandon Studnicka (1-27) recorded receptions.
 
Liam Tapp led the team in tackles with seven. Hernandez had four tackles and recovered a fumble.
 
Clinton plays next at Sand Creek (5-0, 3-0).

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