CLINTON — The Clinton football team faces a significant stretch.

The River Kings have steamrolled their way to a 2-0 record this season, but the next three games should provide tougher tests. They play Burlington, Bettendorf and Davenport Assumption, the latter two of which represent the top vote-getters in the Mississippi Athletic Conference preseason media poll.

“Sometimes kids get caught listening to hype, and the coaches have to bring them back down to earth,” Clinton coach Lee Camp said. “We have a ways to go."

The next few games should also answer the question: What does Clinton’s 2-0 start mean?

Will the 2009 season mirror last year, when the River Kings won their first two games but then went 2-6? Or will the hot start continue to burn?

The upcoming schedule should reveal the answer.

“I think those first few games got us ready for the tougher games coming up down the stretch,” defensive lineman Sean Mulholland said. “I think we’re starting to click, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

A win over Burlington this week would give Clinton its first 3-0 start since 1988.

To achieve that feat, the River Kings feel they must knot loose ends in their performances. They spotted several mistake-laden stretches in Friday’s 33-0 win over Davenport West and said those miscues cannot continue if they hope to contend for a MAC title.

“I think we left (Friday’s) game feeling a little empty,” linebacker Ryan Cassidy said. “I think we took the better part of two quarters off. We can’t have that again.

“I really think we have to step up the intensity at practice. We didn’t have the greatest week of practice, and I think we played how we practiced. (This) week we’re going to have to come out a lot more intense.”

Last season, the River Kings followed a 2-0 start with losses in four of their next five games.

They’re working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“I think the main thing is playing as a team,” quarterback Jake Mangler said. “I think if we stick together and play a complete game together, we’ll be all right.”

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