GREEN COVE SPRINGS– Clay High’s offense blitzed the first four plays of their district contest with Palatka on Friday to score first and continued the onslaught to a 35-0 halftime lead in the …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS– Clay High’s offense blitzed the first four plays of their district contest with Palatka on Friday to score first and continued the onslaught to a 35-0 halftime lead in the Blue Devils 42-0 win over Palatka High in a game that had some playoff implications within the region 1-5A lineup. Baker County, with their win over Ridgeview, took control of the top spot in the district with Clay and Menendez both earning possible playoff berths with Friday wins; Menendez over Orange Park.
On the opening drive, Clay tailback Aundre Carter (8 carries/92 yards, two touchdowns on the night) ran the ball only four times and combined with a Spencer Lesage reception (his only for the night for 10-yards) to get the Devils on the board 7-0.
Palatka would be ineffective on offense on their first possession and Clay, starting at their own 25, would call Carter’s number once for a 15-yard gain, then find wide receiver Ajay Belanger (two receptions for 70 yards, one touchdown) streaking down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown reception with 4:09 left in the first quarter. Fogarty’s second kick scored the game 14-0.
Clay safety Jordan Copeland come up with Palatka fumble that put Clay back to work with Carter and running back Christian Swilley added into the mix. Swilley would finish up with nine carries for 80 yards and one touchdown. Keeping Palatka knocked back on their heels, Clay punched them once again with another Ajay Belanger pass to get the ball down to the 12-yard line. Carter assumed his position in the office and went straight to work. Three plays later, Carter went over the top to score again. With the good point after, Palatka didn’t know what hit them as they found themselves down 21-0 in the first quarter.
“We are now in position to start the playoffs,” said Hoekstra. “We took care of the ball tonight, we took the ball away three times and look at the score. Now we have to go play a defending two-time state champ (University Christian) just to make the playoff tournament.”
On the next play, Clay wide receiver Ty Whitaker was wide open hauling the mail down the center of the field for a lightning fast 47 yard scoring strike from quarterback Caleb Eason, who finished with just four passes needed for 127 yards and two scores.
Clay got the ball right back on a pooch kick on the kickoff that Tyler Lewis recovered.
“I went right between the two blockers, saw the ball come out and knew I had to get that ball,” said Lewis. “Man- it felt really good to get that ball and hear everyone screaming and help turn everything. It felt really good.”
With a running clock in the third quarter, Clay got a final score from Swilley.