CLINTON — Playing their final game at Coan Field, Clinton's seniors feared the worst at halftime of their football game against Davenport West on Friday night.
The winless Falcons spent much of the first half running through and around the River Kings, and they took a 7-6 lead into the locker room.
"I was pretty concerned," Dustin Caldwell, one of the seniors, said.
"Our defense came out a little overconfident," junior Thomas Smith admitted.
With ranked teams awaiting the River Kings for the final two regular-season games, they desperately needed a fourth win to help their playoff chances.
Fortunately for the home fans and players, the River Kings got it together in the second half and defeated the Falcons 37-23 in a Mississippi Athletic Conference game. The win left the River Kings with a 4-3 record, with four wins usually guaranteeing an Iowa Class 4A team a berth in the postseason.
"I was not going to let them take our season out," Caldwell said.
Caldwell ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, Brady Ernst caught two touchdown passes from Eric Maddasion and Alex Caldwell added his second touchdown of the night to finish a second half that was more dominating than the scoreboard indicated.
"At halftime, we got it together," said Smith, who was among Clinton's tackle leaders and also batted down two passes. "Our seniors stepped it up, especially Alex and Dustin."
Maddasion said the River Kings shouldn't have been surprised by West, even after he hooked up with Alex Caldwell for a 24-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 52-yard drive on the Kings' first possession.
"I was definitely scared we might come out weak," Maddasion said. "They had just as good a reason to win as we had. In the first half, we were not sharp on both sides."