By DANIEL SUDDEATH
Clarksville High School coach Steve Cooley preached to his players all week that they would have to play hard for 48 minutes if they wanted to advance in the Class 2A playoffs.
On Friday night, his Generals took his message to heart as Clarksville rallied in the final minute of its Sectional 39 bout with Crawford County to win the first round playoff game and capture the team’s first victory of the season.
Junior running back Nate Knight’s 30th and final carry of the contest pushed the Generals to a 42-38 win over the Wolfpack, as he found the end zone with just 36 ticks left on the fourth quarter clock.
Crawford County (2-8) held a 38-28 lead over Clarksville (1-9) with just 11:16 left in the game after senior running back Justin Majors scored a touchdown on a 13-yard run.
Clarksville scored 14 unanswered points to end the game and capture the victory. Knight — who filled in for injured Marquise Parrish — broke free and scored on a 45-yard run with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter on the next Clarksville possession.
Crawford County was able to pick up a first down on its next drive, but the Generals stuffed the Wolfpack on three consecutive running plays to force the first punt of the second half for either team.
Clarksville took possession at its own 10 with 4:32 left. The Generals relied on nine running plays between Knight and junior quarterback Wyatt Kissel to move the ball down the field.
Kissel also hooked up with sophomore receiver Jonathon Booth for a 12-yard gain to push Clarksville into Wolfpack territory.
Without using a timeout, Clarksville methodically racked up yards on the ground during its last possession.
Then on a third down play with the clock showing less than a minute to play, Knight broke free for a 16-yard run to put Clarksville on top for good.
Crawford County was able to run a few plays but never threatened to score on the final drive of the game. And when Wolfpack quarterback Seth Fell’s pass fell incomplete as time expired, Clarksville had broken into the win column.
“It was just a great high school football game and great effort by both teams,” Cooley said.
Clarksville held a 20-14 halftime advantage after the Generals scored touchdowns on their final three possessions of the first half.
Crawford County fought back with back-to-back touchdowns and two-point conversions to start the third quarter giving the Generals a 30-20 lead.
Clarksville’s defense was able to stop Crawford County’s rushing attack in crunch time and the Generals racked up 231 yards on the ground in the second half to offset the Wolfpack offense.
Knight dashed for 248 yards and four touchdowns to pace Clarksville.
“I couldn’t be prouder of [Knight], but he’d be the first one to give the credit to his offensive line and those guys up front,” Cooley said.
Clarksville rushed for a game total of 431 yards. Kissel and junior Andrew Wright each rushed for a touchdown to back up Knight’s four scores.
Clarksville will play at Paoli High School in next Friday’s Class 2A Sectional 39 semifinal. The 12th-ranked Rams defeated Eastern 54-16 in the first round.
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 39
CLARKSVILLE 42, CRAWFORD COUNTY 38
Crawford Co. 8 6 16 8—38
Clarksville 6 14 8 14—42
Cl — Nate Knight 1 run (conversion failed), 3:01.
Cr — Brandon Cate 25 run (conversion good), :29.
Cl — Andrew Wright 25 run (conversion good), 9:02.
Cl — Wyatt Kissel 3 run (conversion failed), :19.
Cr — Andrew Patton 4 run (conversion good), 7:39.
Cr — Cate 23 run (conversion good), 3:02 .
Cl — Knight 69 run (conversion good), 2:42.
Cr — Justin Majors 13 run (conversion good), 11:16.
Cl — Knight 45 run (conversion good), 8:11.
Cl — Knight 16 run (conversion failed), :36.
Crawford County: Seth Fell 2-8-11-0 .
Clarksville: Kissel: 3-5-34-0.
Crawford County: Cate 10-127, Jacob Mauck 9-65, Patton 10-39, Majors 5-35, Fell 1-9.
Clarksville: Knight 30-248, Alex Buchheit 18-81, Kissel 14-94, Wright 1-25.
Crawford County: Cate 1-6, Nate Baker 1-5.
Clarksville: Jonathon Booth 3-34.