PITMAN (N.J.) - The Clayton High School football team endured a challenging season heading into its annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against Pitman.
The Clippers came out victorious in an overtime thriller, 20-14, to conclude their season on a positive note on Thursday afternoon.
Clayton senior wide receiver Kameron Miller scored two touchdowns in a 20-14 win over Pitman on Thursday, November 24, 2022. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
The Panthers quickly shot out to a 14-0 lead with 10:00 left in the second quarter.
Clayton quarterback Ian Gannon responded with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Miller to inch closer.
Gannon connected with Miller again to knot the score at 14-14 with 23.4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
On Pitman's first overtime drive, an interception on fourth down handed the Clippers possession.
Any score for Clayton would win the game.
And Elijah Rivera didn't settle for anything less than six points.
The senior took the handoff and powered his way into the end zone.
The win proved meaningful for Clayton as the program had been on the heartbreaking end of losses against Middle Township and Glassboro.
"It feels good to finally be on this side of a thrilling game," Clayton coach John Chamberlin said. "We had been in a lot of tight games all year and we finally broke through and won one. It's really relieving."
Chamberlin also credited the fight and toughness of his players throughout the game.
"There were multiple times where we could've just gave up and let them run away with it," he said. "I'm proud of my guys for not just rolling over when things got hard."
Rivera's last play of his high school career also proved to be meaningful as he found his way into the end zone to upend his school's rival.
"After I got tripped up on the first one, I knew I had to punch it in on my next carry." Rivera said. "As soon as I crossed over the goal line I just started crying. It feels amazing to end off a rough season with a win over our rival."