But a five-minute flurry of big plays for Clintwood and missed opportunities for Appalachia left the Green Wave with a 21-0 second-quarter lead and clear sailing to a 41-16 win.
“We got a couple turnovers there early and I thought we had some momentum and we couldn’t do nothing with it,” Appalachia coach Roger Austin said. “They capitalized on everything — everywhere we wasn’t, they were.”
Clintwood coach Rick Mullins said he thought the scoring outburst in the second quarter rescued his team from what was developing into a dangerous situation.
The Green Wave lost a fumble in the Red Zone and had an all-around hard time executing in the first 12 minutes.
“In the first quarter, they kept the ball which is exactly what they wanted,” Mullins said. “A game like that is to their advantage.
“But we’ve got some people that, if they get a crack, they can go.”
Alec Osborne was the first to go, breaking off a 47-yard touchdown run with 10:16 to go in the second quarter.
After Chris Robinson cashed in a 12-yard scoring run, Osborne took it to the house again from 60 yards out to give Clintwood a three-touchdown advantage with 5:28 left before halftime.
The Green Wave never looked back from there.
While Clintwood was breaking off huge chunks of yardage — the Green Wave averaged 13.3 yards per carry in the first half — Appalachia was unable to get much of anything going during the first two quarters.
Despite catching some breaks in the first period, a sluggish offensive attack kept the Bulldogs from capitalizing.
Averaging just 2.3 yards per carry in the first half, Appalachia only recorded two first downs before halftime and was unable to keep the football away from Clintwood.
“If we could have moved the ball and moved the chains a couple of times, we might have been able to do something with it,” Austin said. “But when it breaks down, it all breaks down.”
Clintwood poured on three more touchdowns in the third quarter, extending the lead to 41-0 before easing off the throttle in the final period.
All told, the Green Wave rolled up 417 yards on the ground.
Robinson had eight carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns for Clintwood (7-4). Osborne added 121 yards on six carries with two scores and Devin Elswick chipped in 100 yards on eight carries.
Morgan Ireson and Brett Leedy each had a rushing touchdown for Appalachia (6-5). Leedy had 104 yards on the ground, while Ireson had 108, putting him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.