GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Without senior tailback Al’Querious Ray, the Clay High Blue Devils’ football team used a pair of highlight reel breakaways from D’Maurion Frazier and Jarvis Lee to win 34-0 …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Without senior tailback Al’Querious Ray, the Clay High Blue Devils’ football team used a pair of highlight reel breakaways from D’Maurion Frazier and Jarvis Lee to win 34-0 over county rival Ridgeview High on Friday at Clay High School.
“Those two stepped up for the team in a situation with the team without our top top player and the defense, led by Blake Thompson, held their own,” said Clay coach Kyle Kennard. “I had a talk with the team that we are going to get every team’s best from now on because they know we can play. Last year, we kind of took people by surprise.”
With Ray in street clothes due to “making bad choices” according to Clay coach Kyle Kennard, the Blue Devils offense hinged on strong downhill running from Chris Goldstein and opportunistic scoring blasts from Frazier and Lee to keep the Panthers at bay.
Clay returned to the win column after a less than stellar loss to Bradford County last week while Ridgeview could not ride the momentum of coach Bryan Arnette’s home win last week.
“That game woke us up to get back to Clay football,” said Kennard. “We got Oakleaf this week, then districts, then Middleburg.”
Ridgeview, with kickoff returnman Chris Baptiste mishandling the opening kickoff to put the Panthers at first down at their own 11 to start the game, looked to attack the edges of the Clay defense with quick slants from quarterback Ben Gardiner to move the ball, but Clay defensive end Blake Thompson had other plans as the quick-footed defender became a staple part of the Panther backfield throughout the night.
From the Clay 31 yard line after a Panther punt from the goal line, Goldstein got the Blue Devil offense unleashed with a 38 yard run off left tackle on the first play of the series, but Ridgeview’s defense, led by their own defensive end Gavin McCormack through the night, snared a fumble to turn the game back to the Panther offense.
Thompson would strike with a fumble recovery near the six minute mark to put Clay’s offense back on the field.
“Blake just plays with a big motor,” said Kennard. “Nothing special but effort every play.”
From the 41 yard line, Frazier, on a jet sweep left to right, struck for his first score that saw some flashes through the Panther defense and a 7-0 Clay lead with kicker Tristan Haack’s point after kick.
On the Ridgeview ensuing series, Frazier, at defensive back for Clay, nearly snagged a diving interception off a Baptiste deflection that was followed by a Thompson sack of Gardiner forcing another Ridgeview punt.
Starting at the Ridgeview 43 with three minutes still in the first quarter, Clay quarterback Billy Mobley, with linebacker Brandon Combs joining Goldstein in the backfield, McCormick disrupted the flow with a sack on third down to force a Clay punt.
Lee, on the Panther punt, sizzled a 65 yard punt return to the Ridgeview eight yard line to set up a scoring pass from Mobley to Frazier to push Clay to a 13-0 lead, Haack’s kick hitting the goal post, with 22 seconds still in the quarter.
“Jarvis was a playmaker last year and he is starting to find his spots,” said Kennard.
At the Panther 46, Gardiner found Baptiste for a pair of quick slants to move the chains to the Clay 35 with running back Isaiah Gamble adding a five yard run to get a first down at the Clay 27. The drive stalled, but Panther punter Wesley Langley got a bounce and nailed the Clay offense on their own four yard line with a near-50 yard punt.
Good defense from Ridgeview forced an end zone punt from Clay’s Jerrod Mosley to give the Panthers a short field with first down at the Clay 28.
An illegal procedure flag backed up the Panthers with a Gardiner pass to Kristian Russell getting a first down to the Clay 16 before Thompson swarmed Gardiner for a one of his two sacks on the night. Clay safety Jonathan Rouw nearly picked off Gardiner’s next pass to force a field goal attempt by Ridgeview that went wide left.
Mobley struck quick with a 10 yard scoring pass to Brandon Peavy for a 20-0 Clay lead with 43 seconds to halftime.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff turned into six more points as sophomore Jayden Jenkins found Frazier with a pass play to the Panther one yard line. Jenkins, with 10 seconds to halftime, then hit Frazier for a one yard scoring pass on second down with McCormack cutting down Goldstein on the plunge attempt.
“Jayden is going to be a playmaker; just has to quicken his decision making back there,” said Kennard. “He’s got good instincts.”
Clay defensive tackle Martez Martin recovered a fumble before the half. Clay went into the half time break up 27-0.
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