Rice’s 4 TD passes lift Tigers past Pineville in opener

Published 6:16 pm Monday, August 21, 2023


Contributing Writer

MANCHESTER — The Clay County Tigers and the Pineville Mountain Lions opened the 2023 season in style as the Tigers won an offensive shootout with the Lions 58-34 in Manchester on Friday night.

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Both teams combined for over 90 points and 800 yards of total offense as Clay senior quarterback Tate Rice and Pineville freshman signal caller Deakon Partin had big nights throwing the ball.

CCHS (1-0) got the fireworks going early on a seven-play 55-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass from Rice to Tyson Wagers from 30 yards away. The two-point conversion pass from Rice to Wagers was good, making the score Clay 8-0.

After the Tiger defense held PHS to a three and out, Clay marched down the field again on ab70-yard drive that culminated in a second Rice to Wagers pass from 15 yards out. The extra point failed and Clay’s lead grew to 14-0.

The Lions (0-1) dented the scoreboard on their next drive, marching 53 yards on five plays. Partin threw the first touchdown pass of his career on a 43-yard strike to sophomore running back Landon Robbins to cut the Tigers’ lead to 14-6.

Clay opened the second quarter with another scoring drive of 65 yards and Rice’s third scoring pass to Wagers from 11 yards away. The two-point run by Lucas Allen was good and the Tiger lead grew to 22-6.

After a Lion punt, The Tigers quickly scored again on a 57-yard drive, this time on a 9-yard scoring jaunt by Rice. The conversion failed, and the Clay lead moved to 28-6.

The Tigers capitalized on a Partin interception and quickly drive 35 yards on three plays with Rice throwing his fourth scoring pass to Wagers from five yards out to balloon the Tiger lead to 34-6 at the half.

Pineville got its offense moving to open the second half, marching 58 yards on seven plays with Partin hitting wideout Sawyer Thompson from 27 yards away for the score. The conversion from Partin to Robbins was good and the Lions cut the lead to 34-14.

The Tigers answered with their own score, covering 47 yards on five plays with Rice doing the scoring honors from 28 yards out. The conversion run from Allen was good again as the Tigers’ lead grew to 42-14.

Much like a tennis match, the Lions went back down the field and hit paydirt on their longest drive of the night of 63 yards and 12 plays with the dagger being a 6-yard scoring strike from Partin to senior receiver Wyatt Caldwell. The conversion failed and PHS cut the lead to 42-20.

Clay hit the half-century park on the ensuing possession, traveling 63 yards on four plays with Wagers run from 18 yards away. The two-point run from Rice made the score 50-20 to close the third frame.

The Tigers closed their scoring early in the fourth quarter as Rice threw his fifth scoring pass of the night, this one a 17 yards pass to Jayden Woods making the score 58-20.

The Lions threw the home run ball and it was answered with a 74-yard strike from Partin to Thompson. Partin’s conversion run was good and

the Lions cut the lead to 58-28.

Sophomore Jacob Goodin came up with a fumble recovery on the Clay 40 and the Lions made the Tigers pay for their miscue on a fifth Partin touchdown pass to junior Kaiden Robbins from 38 yards away, closing the scoring.

Pineville coach Allen Harris was encouraged by his young team’s will to fight back after the Tigers’ big early lead.

“First, hats off to a great Clay County team. They have an excellent squad. I was really pleased to see our guys respond to adversity and never quit playing the game. Deacon and his receivers had a big night. The defense played much better in the second half, and several of our young guys got valuable game experience. We will take what we learned tonight and prepare for a very good Rockcastle County squad next week.”

The Lions will continue on the road next Friday, going to Mount Vernon to play the Rockets. Rockcastle is 1-0 after defeating Anderson County 53-15 Friday night.


Clay County 58, Pineville 34

Pineville 6-0-14-14 — 34

Clay County 14-20-16-8 — 58

C — Wagers 30 pass from Rice (Wagers conversion)

C — Wagers 15 pass from Rice (conversion failed)

P — L. Robbins 43 pass from Partin (conversion failed)

C — Wagers 11 pass from Rice (Allen run)

C — Rice 9 run (conversion failed)

C — Wagers 5 pass from Rice (conversion failed)

P —Thompson 27 pass from Partin (L Robbins conversion)

C — Rice 28 run (Allen run)

P — Caldwell 6 pass from Partin (conversion failed)

C — Wagers 18 run (Rice run)

C — Woods 17 pass from Rice (Carr run)

P — Thompson 74 pass from Partin (Partin run)

P — K. Robbins 38 pass from Partin (run failed)

P — K. Robbins 38 pass from Partin (run failed)