CLINTON — It just wasn’t East Bladen’s night.
The Eagles went into Clinton carrying a 5-0 mark with the hopes of putting the Dark Horses in their rear-view mirror. And they knew, to do it, they had to stop running back sensation Ryheem Skinner.
Skinner rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, leading Clinton to a 49-16 thrashing of East Bladen in a Four County Conference game moved to Saturday because of weather.
The Dark Horses scored on their first possession when Tyion Wright busted loose for 68-yard score to start a 150-yard, three touchdown rushing night.
But East Bladen answered quickly when Ethan Hines gathered in the ensuing kickoff at the Eagles’ 11 and raced 89 yards for a touchdown. Jesus Ramos booted the extra point to knot te game at 7-7.
Clinton wasted little time in responding, scoring once again on a Wright 10-yard touchdown run to take a 14-7 edge.
East Bladen took over and moved out to its 42, where the Eagles faced a fourth and 2. As is his custom, East Bladen coach Robby Priest chose to go for it — but the Eagles only got half of what was needed and turned the ball over.
Clinton took advantage quickly.
A pass to the end zone found the hands of a Clinton receiver, who hauled in the ball and held on for a touchdown. The PAT gave the Dark Horses a 21-7 lead with less than 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
Clinton extended that lead to 28-7 after a long drive found pay dirt late in the second quarter on a 12-yard run by Skinner. But East Bladen wasn’t packing things in for halftime just yet.
Taking a handoff at the Eagles’ 35, Hines zigged and zagged his way through the Clinton defense, found a clearing and was off to the races for a 65-yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed, but East Bladen was within 15 at 28-13.
The Dark Horses controlled the clock and the score in the second half — rolling to the end zone on their first possession of the third quarter to open a 35-15 lead.
Clinton added another score when its drive straddled the third and fourth quarters, getting a touchdown early in the final stanza to go up 42-13.
East Bladen kept fighting and Hines scored his third touchdown of the night — this one on a 6-yard burst with just under 8 minutes to play. The two-point try failed and the Eagles had pulled to within 42-19.
Clinton sealed the deal after the kickoff. On the first play from the Dark Horses’ 36, Skinner was wrapped up for a minimal gain — but somehow broke free and outraced the Eagles for a 64-yard touchdown. The extra point gave Clinton the 30-point win.
Hines, who accounted for all three of East Bladen’s scores, rushed for 178 yards and added the 89-yard kickoff return.
The Eagles were without Hines’ brother Eian, who tweaked an ankle in East Bladen’sprevious game against Midway. East Bladen now 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference, will host Pender County on Friday, Clinton, 4-1 and 2-0, travels to Midway.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.