The Clarksburg Coyotes took another step toward a spot in the 4A West playoffs with a very wet and rainy Friday night 21-7 victory over the Einstein Titans in the Canyon in Clarksburg.
Friday’s victory puts the Coyotes at 6-3 on the season. But if Coach Plante and his ‘Yotes are going to make the playoffs, they will have to beat a powerful 8-1 Paint Branch team next week and get some help from the Montgomery Blair Blazers.
However, to even think about a post-season, the Coyotes had to take care of business last week, and battle the 4-4 Titans and the weather as the Canyon was soaked in rain for most of the game. Clarksburg took advantage of two Einstein turnovers to get the ball in the end zone.
After a scoreless first quarter, Clarksburg recovered a fumble on the first play of the second quarter to take over with great field position on the Titan 25-yard-line. The Coyotes were on the board less than a minute later thanks to a rushing touchdown and good point-after-attempt. The teams would trade possessions as weather and field conditions got worse. Clarksburg would take a 7-0 lead into halftime.
The Coyotes would add to their lead early in the third, with a pick-six — pass interception return for a touchdown with 10:53 left in the third quarter. Clarksburg capitalized on two turnovers to take a 14-0 lead.
The teams would trade turnovers, but neither would be able to put any points on the board as the weather continued to deteriorate.
With 7:14 remaining in the game, Einstein’s ran a quarterback keeper into the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7.
The Coyotes get the ball back, and despite the heavy rain, quarterback Joey Perkins would connect on a couple of passes to move Clarksburg inside the Titans’ 20-yard line. Perkins would tuck the ball and run to the end zone to extend the lead to 21-7 with 3:01 left in the game. The QB keeper secured the Coyotes sixth victory of the season and kept their post-season hope alive.
If the Coyotes are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, they will need beat Paint Branch next week in the Canyon. The Panthers are 8-1 and have already earned the top seed in the 4A North division, and are coming off of a 28-6 beating of Blake last week. The Coyotes will also need help from a team they defeated two weeks ago. Clarksburg will need the Blair Blazers to beat Richard Montgomery. The 6-3 Blazers will host the 6-3 Rockets next week. Clarksburg beat Blair 41-17 back on Oct. 19.
The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs. Clarksburg is currently in fifth place in the 4A North behind, Quince Orchard (8-1, 98.00 pts), Churchill (8-1, 89.00 pts), Northwest (7-2, 85.00 pts), Richard Montgomery (6-3, 70.00 pts). A Clarksburg (6-3, 60 pts.) win and an RM loss would move the Coyotes into fourth place.
The good news for the Coyotes is that the Blair Blazers will also be playing for their playoff lives in next week against Richard Montgomery. The Blazers are currently 6-3 with 68.00 points and in fourth place in the 4A North. Right behind them in fifth place in Sherwood at 6-3 and 65.00 points. Sherwood will play 4-5 Whitman on Friday. A Sherwood win and Blair loss eliminates the Blazers from the playoff picture. The Blazers, like the Coyotes, are in a must-win game next week.
The Coyotes will host Paint Branch in the Canyon beginning at 6:30 pm on Friday.
Top: The Coyotes' Casey Mckinney (6) returns the opening kick fduring Friday's game against Einstein at Clarksburg.
Next: The Coyotes' defense takes down Einstein's Zakiy Ward (4) during Friday's game at Clarksburg.
Photos by Kim Grimes for Germantown Pulse
EDITORS NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the last year that Clarksburg had made the playoffs. It was corrected after it was published.