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Henry Clay Doghouses Dunbar, 28-13
by Ben Tompkins,posted Nov 15 2013 11:37PM
After scoring on the first play from the line of scrimmage and finding the endzone again late in the first quarter, Paul Laurence Dunbar was held scoreless for the rest of the night.
Friday night, the Henry Clay Blue Devils defeated the Dunbar Bulldogs 28-13 in the second round of the Class 6A KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl.
The kickoff return that began the game set up shop for the Bulldogs at their own 40-yard line, but as soon as the game began, Emory Thompson made a reservation for six. On the opening play of the opening drive for Dunbar, the dual-threat quarterback called his own number and ran it up the gut for 60 uncontested yards and the early score.
Dunbar would score again with 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Thompson again tucked the snap and hit the burners to the left side finding the pylon on a nine-yard scoot.
Thompson wouldn’t have been able to march down the field so seamlessly if it hadn’t been for a highlight reel 33-yard catch from Marcellis Means. Thompson lofted a ball over two Blue Devil defensive backs as a back pedaling Means fell to the ground and caught the pass while lying on his back. A missed extra point attempt after the quarterback keeper set the score at 13-0.
The Blue Devils offense struggled initially but quickly found their groove in the second quarter. The scoring drive that put Henry Clay on the scoreboard was extended when wide receiver Austin Black elevated over a Dunbar safety and hauled in a 29-yard Sammy Carter-thrown pass. It would only be a few plays later that running back Davion Jackson found a hole to power through to pull the Bulldogs’ lead within six.
Henry Clay took over on offense as they retained possession after halftime. Grinding three minutes off the clock, it was Elijah Bell that made a house call from four yards out as he darted through a gap to give his team the one-point lead, 14-13.
Momentum seemed then to deflate for both teams during the rest of the third quarter as Dunbar and Henry Clay took turns moving the ball in small increments, but were unable to be effective.
The turning point of the game came in the fourth quarter when Carter found his favorite target, Black, racing to the corner of the endzone. Faced with fourth down and six yards to gain the first from 15 yards out, Coach Simpson opted to keep his kicker sidelined as he kept his offense on the field.
After a short timeout, Carter took the snap in shotgun formation and floated a back pylon fade to Black who brought the pass down with ease, giving Henry Clay the 21-13 lead. Including his clutch touchdown catch, Black turned four receptions into 55 yards on the night, while Carter completed 6 of 13 attempts for 78 yards.
The game was sealed as Elijah Bell turned a corner and hit the gas, racing for a 72-yard touchdown. Bell toted the rock 20 times amassing 211 yards and two scores on the night. Backfield counterpart Davion Jackson gained 122 yards on 24 carries, plus a touchdown.
The season ended for Paul Lawrence Dunbar as the scoreboard illuminated the 28-13 loss, but the road continues for Henry Clay who advances to the third round of the playoffs where they’re faced the opportunity for redemption against Jim McKee and the Scott County Cardinals.