CLINTON — The Clinton River Kings' only win of the football season came in their first home contest, and they're hoping to end their home games in the same fashion with Senior Night today against Davenport North.
"It's always about focusing on the process, week in and week out," Coach Jon Wauford said. "Obviously we want the outcome and are trying to get the outcome that we want, but what we're trying to teach our young men is to be committed to a process."
The River Kings are coming off their sixth consecutive loss, the most recent coming from Davenport Central. The River Kings held the Blue Devils to one touchdown in the first half of last week's contest but then lost control in the second half.
"Our kids are competitive. Davenport Central is a very good football team, a talented team.," Wauford said. "I don't think we backed down from them. We competed hard, and our kids tried as hard as they could.
"When you have two teams out there and they're competing like that, often times you play 170 plays and a handful of them will make a difference in a ballgame. Unfortunately, all those plays went against us."
Clinton certainly has not had an easy schedule. Wauford said the kind of competition they'd been facing was the kind they wanted to see — good competition makes the River Kings better competitors.
"We've got a 1-6 team. Five of those losses are against teams that are 5-2 or better. We've played four teams that are 6-1. We've played four teams that are number one in their district. Three of those we played on the road," Wauford said, reflecting on the losses. "Our kids have been competitive in almost all of these games, and I expect to see them fired up and ready to go Friday night."
Friday night brings a 2-5 Davenport North team to Coan Field.
"We've got to do a great job defending the run. They've got a tailback with over 1,000 yards already on the season," Wauford said. His defense has struggled to defend the run attack, especially when it is out-sized. "We've got to protect the football on offense and avoid the crucial mistakes that are costing us points, costing us first downs and letting other teams' offense on the field."
With a team with a similar record coming onto the River Kings' turf, Friday night will be a chance for them to pick up their second W. Jess Chapman and Jordin Parker were two of the River Kings who had big games against Davenport Central, but Wauford says he hopes to see every player shine tonight — especially by eliminating mistakes.
"I hope all of them step up, that we're able to run the football and defend the run and that we don't turn it over."
Indians hit the road today
MEDIAPOLIS — The Camanche Indians are looking to bounce back from a tough loss last week with a road matchup against Mediapolis on Friday.
The Indians led Anamosa 8-0 for almost the entire game. With 5:30 left to play in the contest, a few big mistakes and a couple of calls that went Anamosa's way changed all that, and they recorded their sixth loss of the year.
"It was a real tough loss," Coach Dustin Coit said. "We have to move on and get ready to go for this week.
"We had a really good week of practice. Monday we went back and watched some film and showed our kids how close we are. We said we're going to get over the hump, we're getting close to getting there. We need to keep confident and show them the good things we're doing. Hopefully that transfers to Friday night."
Moving on to tonight's matchup, Coit and his team face a 3-4 team that has had some spotty play.
"They've got a really good running attack. Their starting quarterback tore his ACL early this season so they don't throw it a lot," Coit said, reflecting on the match-up. "They have some pretty solid backs in the backfield and a pretty good sized line, so we will throw some blitzes at them and force them to pass, which is our strength, defending the pass with our athletes."
Not only is defending the pass their strength, but so is receiving the pass when they have the ball. Coit has multiple athletes capable of making big pass plays along with quarterback Baylor Crigger.
"Eric Campie, Blake Hardison, Cam Soenksen, they're extremely athletic and can go up and get the ball," Coit said. "Our quarterback Baylor Crigger is 100 times better than last year. He's confident and able to put the ball in places he wasn't able to last year and make it a little easier for those receivers. They just keep getting better and the best part is we get them all back next year."
Rebels healthy after long few weeks
WILLIAMSBURG — The Northeast Rebels are focusing on their game and their plays rather than on the name of the team as they travel to take on No. 9 ranked Williamsburg.
"We've been paying a lot of attention to us. Williamsburg does what they do well, so we have to do what we do really well to compensate that," Coach Jerad Block said. "We've been worrying a lot about us and fine-tuning things. We're not going to try to add anything new this late in the season."
After a few weeks plagued with injuries, Block said his team is finally back healthy. It's been a long season for the Rebels, and after losing a close game to Camanche and then another to Mid-Prairie, they're ready to have everybody on the field.
"Everyone is finally healthy after the last four weeks, feels phenomenal," Block said. The Rebels haven't been in the win column since the first week of the season. "Finally being able to run what I want to run and not what we're limited to."
Not having much to lose, the game plan is just to go out and play football to the best of their ability.
"We are worried about the game," Block said. "Not the name."
Steamers confident in Week 8
STERLING, Ill. — The Fulton Steamers are looking toward the postseason as they gear up for a matchup against Sterling Newman on the road on tonight.
"Five-two, we will take it," Coach Patrick Lower said. "We understand we have some work to do, but we've put ourselves in a position to be in the playoffs and that's your goal anyways. All you have to do is get in, then you can see what you can do once you're there."
The Steamers are coming off a defiant win against Riverdale last week and are trying to keep their energy up as the long season winds down.
"All we're focusing on is getting better every day and coming in with a great attitude," Lower said. "Toward the end of the season we like to shorten practice here and there to get them out earlier because we want to keep them as fresh physically and mentally as possible."
As for Sterling Newman, the Comets have yet to lose a game are ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A AP poll. Five of those seven wins have been by 30 points or more, including a 54-0 win against Morrison.
"We like to run the ball, and they definitely like to run the ball. We throw the ball a little bit more than them, but it's going to be one of those games where it will be at the line of scrimmage," Lower said. "The one advantage we have is our size advantage. They're probably faster than we are, but we definitely have size so we're going to try to use that to our advantage."
Lower is also confident in the run game and wants to see his veteran group of players step up.
"We just have to have a great effort by everybody," Lower said. "Austin Schroeder is our main run threat with a little over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns; we expect him to run well. When they key in on him, Austin Rash has about 600 yards now and is having a good season. I like our game plan. We're going to do some things that hopefully cause them some problems. We're going to stay in it as long as we can and see what we can do."
Although he's expecting a dogfight, Lower, who has been at Fulton in some way for 19 seasons, says he isn't feeling pressure because of the success his team has already seen. Now, it's about staying healthy and peaking at the right time.
"If we win one out of these last two we're definitely in (the playoffs). Right now, we have enough playoff points to be in so we're fine that way, too," Lower said. "Any win now is just icing on the cake and improves seeding for the playoffs."
Morrison plays Stadium Showdown
CLINTON — The Morrison Mustangs are traveling across the river to take on a tough Rockridge team at Ashford University Stadium in the Stadium Showdown.
Morrison is coming off a 35-7 loss to Orion and take on a good Rockridge team. The Rockets have only one loss this season, losing by just one point to Sterling Newman.
The Mustangs sit at 3-3 and have recorded all of their losses consecutively in the past three weeks.