As the high school football season shifts into Week 3 action, area teams are looking to turn the corner and shore up their detriments before the schedule turns the page to District and postseason-implicating meetings.
Sure, it is only the first week of September, but hose valuable, make-or-break contests will be here before we know it.
The primary four local teams (Clinton, Fulton, Camanche and Northeast) sport a combined 2-6 record, as none of the programs are without a loss but a pair are still searching for a win.
Clinton River Kings (1-1)
There is no better place to start than the hometown Clinton High School football team, which rebounded from a lopsided loss to Epworth in the season opener with a commanding 34-9 victory over conference foe Davenport West.
River Kings coach Jon Wauford suggested at the weekly KROS River City Valley Sports Review show that it would be difficult for a team to perform more of a 360-degree turnaround than his bunch.
“This may have been the biggest jump I have seen a team make from Week 1 to Week 2,” Wauford said. “I was awfully proud of the way they buckled down and went to work when faced with what was an embarrassing loss in Week 1.”
Clinton wasted no time getting started last week, as quarterback Kalvin Godette found Ulysses Patterson for a 60-yard touchdown on the team’s first play from scrimmage.
“We felt good about that play going in,” Wauford said. “The pass protection was outstanding, it was a great route from Ulysses and a great ball... it was a really nice way to start the game.”
Clinton will welcome Burlington (1-1) into Coan Field Friday night, a team whose offense leans heavily on the state’s leading rusher Taven Harris.
“We can not let them break off the long runs and need to keep them in front of us,” Wauford said.
Clinton and Burlington are scheduled for a 7:15 start Friday night at Coan Field.
Fulton Steamers (0-2)
The Steamers are back in town.
After a pair of defeats on the road, Fulton will play host to Bureau Valley Friday night with hopes of continuing a seven-game winning streak over the Storm.
Especially following a 33-16 loss to Monmouth-Roseville, a team who averages over 300 pounds on both the offensive and defensive lines – a fact not lost on Fulton coach Patrick Lower, who compared their size to that of Division II football players.
“We really don’t see teams that ‘gearthy’ up front,” Lower said. “It will be good for us to look across the line and see kids that look like us... we have had success against Bureau Valley, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
After striking first with a safety, Fulton had the opportunity to enter halftime trailing just 7-2 but Monmouth-Roseville managed a late second half touchdown to garner momentum into the home locker room and perhaps out of the visiting side.
Lower said the offense struggled to find a rhythm.
“We couldn’t get things going offensively,” Lower said. “We would get a couple first downs but then have a breakdown. When opportunities present themselves, we have to take advantage and we didn’t do that.”
Fulton and Bureau Valley are slated to kick off at 7:15 p.m. Friday night at Fulton High School.
Camanche Indians (1-1)
After notching their first home win in four years with a season-opening win over Northeast, the Indians failed to ignite a winning streak in Week 2, falling 51-12 to Bellevue.
The game’s result was grim from the start, as Camanche coach Dustin Coit said a stomach bug made its way through the team, affecting as many as a dozen players and coaches.
“On Friday morning, I found out some of our players had stomach issues,” Coit said. “We played with them in the first half, 21-12, but the second half got away from us.”
Adding insult to injury, Coit announced that Cameron Soenksen is out for the remainder of the season with a broken arm, serving as a crucial blow to both sides of the ball.
“He was going down for a tackle and his arm ran into a leg, it was kind of a fluke thing,” Coit said. “It is a tough loss because he is a good athlete and we ran a lot of offensive players through him and he plays safety on defense.”
Camanche will take on North Cedar in Week 3 action, who enters the contest with an 0-2 clip. Coit says he is optimistic about his team’s chances in the River Valley Conference battle.
“I think we are a little more athletic than they are so we are going to look to get the ball in space and hope we can make some plays,” Coit said.
Camanche and North Cedar are set to begin at 7:15 Friday night at Camanche High School.
Northeast Rebels (0-1)
The Northeast High School football team fell to Wilton by 42 points last week, but coach Jerad Block says there is more than what initially meets the eye.
“There was a few breakdowns in responsibilities but we saw improvement and we got better as a football team,” Block said. “It was closer than it really shows… I know I sound like a lunatic saying a 50-8 game was close.”
Northeast will play its first home game of the season in Week 3 after consecutive road trips to open the campaign. The Rebels will welcome in Wapello (1-1), a team Block said employs a traditional offensive scheme.
“They are as close to a traditional I-formation team that you are going to see in 2018,” Block said. “They are going to just try and move you. They have a really talented halfback, he will run through you while not doing anything fancy but lowering the shoulder.”
Northeast and Wapello will kick off at 7:15 Friday night at Northeast High School.