Athens Academy got off to a slow start by throwing an interception on their first series of the game, and it didn't take long for Dome veteran Clinch County to make them pay. Senior tailback Justin Gainey did most of the heavy lifting and finished off the drive with a short touchdown run to put the Panthers up 7-0.
The first quarter came to an end at 7-0 as Athens Academy settled down and
started battling Clinch County tooth and nail. Both teams traded punts, and the
quarter ended with Clinch County on the Athens Academy 32 yard line facing 3rd
The Athens Academy defense stood firm again and forced Clinch County to give the
ball up on downs.
The good fortune didn't last long though as Athens Academy turned the ball over
on a fumble, but the defense picked up the offense again by stopping Clinch
County on downs after a fake punt.
Athens Academy got the break they needed when a botched handoff turned into a
Clinch County fumble that Jeff Turner pounced on for the Spartans at the Clinch
County 25 yardline with 3:39 left in the half.
Turner wasn't finished as he caught a Scott Dalton 12 yard pass for a touchdown
with 1:07 left in the half to bring Athens Academy to a deadlocked 7-7.
Senior Tailback Justin Gainey had a nice return on the ensuing kickoff to get
the Panthers to midfield, but it looked as if the Clinch drive was going to
stall before a questionable late hit call against Athens Academy gave Clinch the
ball at the Athens Academy 22 with three second left on the clock.
Much to the dismay of the Athens Academy crowd, kicker Joe Varnedoe knocked a 39
yard field goal through the uprights to send Clinch County to the Locker room
with a 10-7 lead.
First Half Scoring Highlights*:
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