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December 16, 2017
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Terrance Armstard/News-Times Junction City's Hishmma Taylor tries to break free from the grasp of Clinton's Charleston Sowell during their clash in the 3A quarterfinals at David Carpenter Stadium on Friday night. The Dragons came away with a 50-43 victory, and will host Osceola next week with a berth in the state finals at stake.

Terrance Armstard/News-Times Junction City's Hishmma Taylor tries to break free from the grasp of Clinton's Charleston Sowell during their clash in the 3A quarterfinals at David Carpenter Stadium on Friday night. The Dragons came away with a 50-43 victory, and will host Osceola next week with a berth in the state finals at stake.

Dragons win thriller

Frazier’s touchdown in final seconds seals win

This article was published November 25, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Tony Burns

Sports Editor

JUNCTION CITY - Shuvasceiaye Frazier scored on a 1-yard run with nine seconds left on the clock Friday as Junction City outlasted Clinton in a 50-43 thriller. The Dragons improved to 12-0 and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3A state playoffs.

The Yellow Jackets ended their season with a 12-1 record.

Clinton trailed 36-13 midway in the third but mounted a comeback. Ethan Drake scored on a 20-yard end-around run with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter. Caleb Bowman ran for the 2-point conversion, which gave the Yellow Jackets a 43-42 lead.

After the kickoff, the Dragons took over at their own 35 with 2:10 left on the clock. And, star running back Hishmma Taylor was injured on Drake’s touchdown and was on the sideline.

Senior receiver Jalen Davis moved to the backfield and ran for eight yards. Frazier ran for two before Davis moved the chains with a 6-yard run. Davis ran up the middle for 11 to the 39.

The drive sputtered after a false start penalty. Davis ran for five before another false start flag moved the ball back to the 44. Frazier followed with the biggest run of the night, breaking loose for 33 yards to the 11. Davis ran for eight to the 3. Frazier carried to the 1-yard line before fighting his way into the end zone on the next play.

“My running back told me to get behind him. I did what he told me,” said Frazier.

The senior quarterback ran for the 2-point conversion, putting Junction City up 50-43 with nine seconds left.

After the kickoff, Clinton had the ball at its own 30 with six seconds remaining. A short pass turned into a lateral-fest with the final Yellow Jacket getting tackled at the Junction City 30 to finally end the game.

“Our guys just kept competing, kept fighting,” said Junction City coach Steven Jones. “Everytime the ball was snapped, we had guys going hard and just giving great effort. And, once again, we found a way to win.”

Frazier completed 8-of-12 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. He had 22 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

“Another week where he just takes over. He put the team on his back and just got us in the end zone,” said Jones. “He’s a great competitor. He’s been good for us all season.”

Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 59 yards and one touchdown. Davis had six receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 38 yards on five attempts.

All of Davis’ rushing attempts came on that final drive.

“He’s very capable of that. He’s done that a couple times this season, just being able to hop in there and be another explosive guy in the backfield for us,” said Jones. “Jalen did a great job on that last drive.”

Frazier admitted he was concerned with Taylor not being in the lineup on that final drive.

“I know I have to step up if he goes out,” said Frazier, who still felt confident when the drive began. “Everybody else was hyped. They told me to get behind them so I did what I did.”

Junction City mustered 490 total yards, including 289 on the ground.

Clinton’s offense was just as potent, piling up 455 total yards, including 276 on the ground. Quarterback Weston Amos rushed for 114 yards, completed 8-of-17 passes for 126 yards and caught a 53-yard pass for the Yellow Jackets.

“They threw everything at us,” said Jones. “They had a great gameplan. They executed their offense and made plays and continued to compete just like we did. I’m just glad we were able to come out on top.”

Believe it or not, the game was actually scoreless after one quarter.

The Dragons got on the board after an 83-yard drive, culminating with Frazier’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Taylor with 7:30 left in the second quarter. The try for two failed.

Clinton answered with a 49-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard run by Amos. Matt Gonzalez kicked the extra point for a 7-6 lead with 4:45 left in the second.

Junction City answered quickly two plays later when Frazier ran right and then lofted a jump pass just over a Clinton defender and into the arms of Davis, who sprinted 56 yards for the touchdown. Taylor ran for the conversion for a 14-7 lead with 3:59 left in the second.

After Clinton turned the ball over on downs, the Dragons drove 53 yards with Frazier finding paydirt on a 4-yard run. Frazier ran for the conversion and a 22-7 advantage with 52 seconds left in the half, which ended on an interception by Junction City’s Kevontae Haynes.

Clinton opened the third with an 11-play scoring drive, keyed by Dylan Hayford’s juggling, 17-yard reception off a tipped pass to convert a fourth-and-6. Caleb Bowman scored on an 8-yard run on the next play. The try for two failed, leaving Clinton in a 22-13 deficit with 7:40 left in the third.

The Dragons went right back down the field to answer with Taylor muscling into the end zone from six yards out. Frazier ran for the conversion and a 30-13 lead with 6:29 left in the third. Junction City stayed in business when Jakiron Cook recovered a Clinton fumble on the ensuing kickoff.

On the next play, the Dragons ran a reverse with the ball flipped back to Frazier, who found Jakobe Fisher for a 35-yard touchdown. The run failed, leaving the score at 36-13 with 6:12 left in the third.

Clinton needed to respond and did. On fourth-and-goal from the 7, Amos couldn’t find a receiver and scrambled, vaulting into the end zone for the score. The kick failed, leaving the margin at 36-19 with 1:47 left in the third.

The Yellow Jackets forced a punt and took over at their own 20. They didn’t stay there long, however, as Amos hooked up with Sky Davidson on a slant. Davidson broke a tackle and then raced 80 yards to the end zone. Amos ran for the conversion, cutting the deficit to 36-27 with one second left in the third.

Junction City’s 10-play drive ended on downs at the Clinton 42. The Yellow Jackets went to their bag of tricks as Drake came on a reverse and then passed to Amos for 53 yards to the Junction City 5. Bowman bulled into the end zone on the next play. Amos’ 2-point run cut the deficit to 36-35 with 7:06 left in the game.

The Dragons got their offense clicking again with a 61-yard drive, capped by Taylor’s 37-yard touchdown gallop straight up the gut. The run failed but Junction City led 42-35 with 5:06 remaining.

Clinton answered with a flag-riddled drive. After Drake ran for 15, the Yellow Jackets were flagged for a false start. Two plays later, the Dragons were hit with a pass interference penalty. On the next play, Clinton was called for a chop block. The Yellow Jackets got a 13-yard run from Davidson, who followed with a 2-yard run before Drake carried for seven and a first down. Two plays later, Drake scored from 20 yards out on an end around play. Bowman scored easily on the 2-point conversion, giving the Yellow Jackets a 43-42 lead with 2:17 left to play.

Even with Taylor out of the game, Jones said he was confident his team had time to run the ball into the end zone.

“The last couple of drives we were able to move the ball on the ground. We just tried to stay uptempo that last drive and keep it on the ground,” said Jones, whose Dragons host Osceola in the state semifinals next week.

“Excited to move on to the next week and focus on the semifinal game. It was a great atmosphere, great environment. Our fans showed up. We need them again next week.”

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