CLINTON – The Clinton High School football team took the field against a live opponent for the first time of the 2018 season in Friday night's scrimmage against Pleasant Valley.
The River Kings offense struggled to find their way in the opening three series, fumbling twice (one lost) and throwing an interception.
Clinton coach Jon Wauford said his team needs to be more protective of the football.
"That is a big concern for us," Wauford said. "We can not be a team that turns the ball over."
While no official scores or stats were kept, the scrimmage allowed coaches and fans alike to catch a glimpse of this year's new-look squad, featuring senior quarterback Kalvin Godette.
Godette showed his flashy potential in limited action, illustrated by a lengthy scramble on third down to preserve the team's only scoring drive in six possessions.
Godette, who sustained a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of last year's campaign, will undoubtedly be a crucial piece to the River King offense – a unit that graduated quarterback Brennen Lemke.
"He was a little rusty but he gives our kids confidence when he is out there, which is great," Wauford said. "His decision-making was OK but we need to get him game-ready and that is why we kept him out there longer than we may have in the past.
"It's been awhile since he played."
On the defensive side, Class 3A Clinton was troubled by Class 4A Pleasant Valley's sophisticated Wing-T offense, a scheme that Wauford said the team was ill prepared for heading into the scrimmage.
The Spartans relied on deceptive jet sweeps and read options to score three touchdowns in five possessions, including a two-play, 65 yard drive to open the contest.
"We spent zero time on the Wing T and what you saw is what you get when you don't prepare for an offense like that," Wauford said. "I thought our kids played hard and tackled fairly well but we have to get better."
Clinton will open the regular season with a non-District bout next Friday at Dubuque Wahlert.
What does Wauford think the team needs to work on during the last week of preparation leading into meaningful competition?
"We have to get better," Wauford said. "We are in a situation where we are going to spend more time focusing on us rather than the other team... we have to block and tackle better and execute the offense and defense better."