Clarksville fumbled its second snap of the Class 2A, Sectional 39 semifinal game Friday and the scramble to recover the ball ended up with Triton Central at the one-yard line.
One play and three seconds later, the host Tigers were off to the races with its first of five first-half touchdowns that led to a 42-7 rout of the Generals (3-8).
Triton Central (7-4) will host Paoli (7-2), a 28-14 winner over Providence Friday in the other semifinal game, on Nov. 5 at Mendenhall Field in Fairland.
“It’s been a lot of fun the last couple of weeks. The kids have worked hard to get to this point,” said Triton Central coach Tim Able. “Now we have to take it one day at a time because Paoli will be a chore. They are good and they will want it bad since we’ve beaten them the last two years at their place.”
Clarksville arrived at Triton Central with an offense built around the state’s leading rusher, junior Robert Lamar. With 2,055 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, the green-clad defense faced a stiff challenge – one it proved up for as rain fell steadily all night long.
“He is good. He is a patient runner, he lets things happen and he is smooth,” said Able. “I felt that was our best run defense overall.”
Lamar never got in gear in the first half and touched the ball just five times ahead of his Generals falling behind 21-0.
Triton Central quarterback Jace Stuckey plunged into the end zone from one yard out to make it 7-0.
Clarksville failed to get a first down on its second possession after Lamar was stuffed on a fourth-and-four attempt from its own 26 to set up the Tigers once again.
Two plays later, Triton Central running back Ray Crawford raced into the end zone for a 14-0 advantage.
Clarksville quarterback Caleb Cummings lost control of the ball on the first play of the third offensive series and the ball shot forward out of the line of scrimmage several yards allowing Triton Central’s Levi Dewey to recover.
Five running plays followed – as did Stuckey’s second touchdown of the night.
Crawford added an 11-yard scoring run early in the second quarter and Stuckey closed out the first-half scoring by throwing an 18-yard touchdown strike to Brad Schultz to make it 35-0.
With a running clock in the second half and Triton Central turning to its junior varsity to close out the game, Lamar moved the first-down marker more often but failed to reach the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
Midway through the third quarter, Jaquan Blake scampered into the end zone from 26 yards out to push the lead to 42-0.
A worn-down Lamar scored with 5:32 left in the game to cap off a 34-carry night where he amassed 163 yards. But the rest of the Generals added just 16 yards of offense.
Crawford led the Tigers with 106 yards rushing on 15 carries. Blake had 34 yards on three carries. Stuckey completed just 1-of-5 passes on a night when it was tough to grip the wet football.
Able improved to 79-31 in nine seasons at Triton Central where the program has played for a sectional title every year. Paoli denied Able his first sectional title in Fairland with a 21-14 win in 2013.
“That first year, I felt bad because those (TC) kids had three coaches in four years,” said Able. “We had Paoli 14-0 and driving on them and fumbled. They came back and beat us 21-14. That was a hard one.”
The Tigers have ended the Rams’ season the last two years with a 35-12 win in 2020 and a 41-8 win in 2019 – both at Paoli.
Triton Central will attempt to win its third-straight sectional title.