To Patterson linebacker Allister Jones, Friday night's regional playoff opener against Woodlawn was all about making defensive stops and building momentum.
That strategy played to perfection early on. The visiting Clippers did not allow the Warriors a first down in the first quarter while revving up their own running game and taking advantage of Woodlawn's mistakes.
The Clippers scored all of their points in the first 14 minutes of the game en route to a 37-0 victory in a Class 4A North regional semifinal.
"The momentum was just rolling to our side," said Jones, a senior. "Defensively, we set the tone. What we base our team on is defense. Coach was pushing all week in practice: 'This is all defense, all defense. They can't score.' "
Jones also made a contribution on offense, scoring the first touchdown of his career. When he ran eight yards off a shanked punt for a 29-0 lead with one second left in the first half, the third-seeded Clippers were well on their way to next weekend's North region championship. They will meet the winner of today's semifinal between top-seeded Urbana (8-2) and Thomas Johnson (6-4).
Patterson (9-2) scored all of its points in a 7:44 stretch that ended with Aaron Overton's 3-yard run and Deonta Winston's conversion run with 10:25 left in the second quarter.
Winston (141 yards on 15 carries) and Overton (41 yards on 12 carries) scored two touchdowns each. The 37-0 lead brought on a running clock in the second half.
For the Warriors (8-3), it was a night where very little went right, thanks in part to Patterson's defense, but also to six turnovers and a lot of trouble with the snaps early in the rain.
To start the second half, the Warriors appeared as if they would finally get moving when quarterback Melvin DaTwon hit Justin Johnson for a 28-yard gain, but two plays later Patterson's Jonathan Gause intercepted DaTwon and ran 65 yards to Woodlawn's 3-yard line. On the next play, Overton scored the final touchdown for a 37-0 lead.
The Warriors also threatened early in the second half with their best drive, marching 49 yards on 12 plays to Patterson's 22-yard line before safety Jazmon Harris picked off a DaTwon pass to end the threat.
Patterson coach Corey Johnson cited the defensive play of Jones, Jazmon Harris and nose tackle Derrell Harris as key factors in the win.
"Woodlawn had a great season this year," Johnson said. "We talked about the weather, and if it was nasty, we wanted to play a game of field position, keep the ball down on their end ... and they were throwing against the wind in the first quarter, and things seemed to break our way."
P 29 8 0 0 - 37 W 0 0 0 0 - 0
P-Winston 26 run (pass failed)
P-Overton 1 run (Winston run)
P-Winston 19 run (Overton kick)
P-A.Jones 8 punt return (kick blocked)
P-Overton 3 run (Winston run)