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Clay-Battelle ties Clear Spring up in Knotts

September 25, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

CLEAR SPRING -- Wes Jackson is a sparkplug, even when he is parked and in idle.

The Clear Spring football team still uses its slick tailback as inspiration, even though he is lost for the season with a fractured right leg.

The Blazers could have used him a little earlier Friday night.

Jackson came to the game fashionably late, sitting on the sidelines in a wheelchair with his right leg propped up while the Blazers did battle with Clay-Battelle. Clear Spring was down, but not completely out, in what was a 44-6 loss.

"We always have emotion to push for Wes," said Clear Spring coach Craig Bathgate. "They got fired up when he showed up for the game. Losing him pulled us together. The kids worked real hard this week because of his loss."

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The whole story was Clay-Battelle's Joseph Knotts, who rushed for 119 yards and five touchdowns -- including three in the first half -- to lead the Cee-Bees to a 30-0 lead in the game's first 18 minutes, 11 seconds. It was more than enough for the win.

But in the last 29:49, the Blazers caught a little fire after Jackson's name was announced over the public address system. Clear Spring (1-3) was still outmanned 2-1 on the roster by Clay-Battelle -- which played more conservatively after getting the lead -- but it managed to lose the last 60 percent of the game by only 14-6.

"I'm not much for moral victories, but I love the fight in this team," Bathgate said. "We have some issues about coming out ready to go in the first quarter. But once we get in the groove and get fired up, we do pretty well."

Clear Spring showed some backbone at the end of the first half with a 67-yard drive that lasted 5:03. Mike Etzel, Jackson's replacement in the backfield, scored from the 4 with 43 seconds left in the half to send the Blazers into the intermission trailing 30-6.

Knotts scored twice more in the second half to ice the game for the Cee-Bees (5-0), but Clear Spring outgained Clay-Battelle 114-98 in the final 24 minutes, be it against a team that was starting to mix in its reserves.

"With the size of their front line and the way (Knotts) runs the ball, that was tough," Bathgate said. "But there was no quit. Mike was going to be our No. 1 back before Wes came in. He knows what he is doing."

Clay-Battelle was able to run at will and used diversity to move the ball downfield in the first half.

Knotts scored on runs of 1, 6 and 1 yards in the first half and Jordan Hockenberry returned an interception 37 yards for a fourth score to stake the Cee-Bees to their first 30 points.

In the second half, Knotts scored from the 11 and 5 to close out the scoring. The time ran out as the Blazers tried to put another score on the board.

Clay-Battelle owned the game on the ground, outrushing Clear Spring 263-72 and had 342 yards of offense to the Blazers' 211.

Etzel finished with 87 yards on 25 carries to pace the Blazers.

If anything, it is a starting point for a season that could have been totally lost after Jackson's injury.

"The kids are starting to buy into this," Bathgate said. "It's coming."

Clay-Battell 44, Clear Spring 6

C-B -- Joseph Knotts 1 run (Nick Bragg from Jordan Hockenberry)

C-B -- Knotts 6 run (Hockenberry from Lucas Cotrell)

C-B -- Knotts 1 rund (Eddy Baez kick)

C-B -- Hockenberry 37 interception return (Baez kick)

CS -- Mike Etzel 4 run (kick blocked)

C-B -- Knotts 11 run (Baez kick)

C-B -- Knotts 6 run (Baez kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING -- Clay-Battelle: Knotts 19-119, Hockenberry 6-65, Cotrell 3-42, Bane 6-40, Price 3-21, Bragg 2-4, Team 0-2; Clear Spring: Etzel 25-87; Jarvis 1-5, Mellott 5-(-20).

PASSING -- Clay-Battelle: Cotrell 6-13-0 79, Hockenberry 0-1-0 0; Clear Spring: Mellott 9-27-1 139.

RECEIVING -- Clay-Battelle: Bragg 5-74, Bane 1-3; Clear Spring: Adams 4-79, Shilling 2-25, Morgan 2-23, Miller 1-8.

Records: Clay-Battelle 5-0, Clear Spring 1-3.

Clay-Battelle82277--44Clear Spring0600--6C-BCSFirst downs1515Rushes-yards41-26331-72Passing yards79139Comp-Att-Int6-13-09-27-1Total offense54-34258-211Punts-avg.2-34.04-29.0Penalties-yards8-504-32Fumbles-lost2-12-1
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