Jack Harris

Clear Fork senior wide receiver Jack Harris keeps his feet inbounds Friday night to score on a 7-yard TD pass with :01 left on the clock to beat Lexington, 29-27. (Photo by Jeff Hoffer/Special to Richland Source)

BELLVILLE -- Clear Fork defensive coordinator Mike Carroll channeled his inner "Gary Beal" during a halftime speech Friday night.

Simply put, the words (and likely the tone) mattered.

The Colts (3-5) roared back from a 24-0 deficit against Lexington at the Colt Corral to claim a thrilling, 29-27, cross-county rivalry win against the Minutemen.

The winning score in the regular-season, non-league game came on a 7-yard pass from senior QB Brady Tedrow to senior wide receiver Jack Harris with just one second left on the clock.

Beal was Carroll's head coach when he played at Clear Fork in the mid 1970s and his speech helped light a fire under current head coach Dave Carroll's team in the second half against their old Johnny Appleseed Conference opponent.

"Myself and many of the players think my brother's 'Coach Gary Beal speech' at halftime made the difference," Dave Carroll said.

"We had some great performances by several kids, especially Brady Tedrow at QB and Jack Harris at receiver. Also, our defense played much better in the second half," he said.

"Lexington outplayed us and outcoached us in the first half. What a credit to their staff and players on how they came into this game. The ball definitely bounced our way in the second half," Carroll said.

Lexington (1-7) built its big halftime edge on a 5-yard run by Corbin Green less than two minutes into the game.  A.J. Young added a 23-yard field goal with 3:28 left in the first quarter to make it 10-0.

Junior quarterback Cole Pauley connected on an 81-yard TD pass to Braden Forup to extend the lead to 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Pauley scored what would the final Lexington TD on an 8-yard run with 52 seconds left before halftime.

Cue Coach Gary Beal's halftime speech.

Tedrow, Clear Fork's senior QB, simply took over in the final 24 minutes, scoring on runs of 3, 2 and 17 yards, the final coming with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 24-22.

Lexington fought back and extended the lead to 27-22 when Young added a 22-yard FG with 1:45 remaining.

That kick set the stage for the game-winning drive, which Clear Fork began from its own 44-yard line.

"Our offensive line and 'H" back provided protection for Brady and he hit some key passes," Carroll said.

Tedrow finished with 110 yards on 27 carries and the three TDs. He also connected on five of 12 passes for 53 yards and the game-winning score to Harris.

Ashton Lyon had four catches for 42 yards. Harris had two receptions for 19 yards and one score.

Pauley completed eight of 17 passes for 141 yards and the one TD.  Karson Berry rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries.

Lexington actually outgained Clear Fork, rushing for 146 yards on 33 carries and completing nine of 18 passes for 151, finishing with 297 yards of total offense.

Clear Fork ran the ball 43 times for 178 yards and completed eight of 18 passes for 68 yards, finishing with 246 yards of offense.

Both Lexington and Clear Fork, eliminated from the playoffs last week, will likely play again during a regular season wrecked by COVID-19.

Carroll, whose team has won three of its last four after an 0-4 start, said his team is playing its best football of the season.

"Most definitely," he said, "minus the first half of last night."

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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