The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 13, 2012

Kings can't escape early hole

CLINTON — Clinton did not get the start it wanted Friday night against Mississippi Athletic Conference-leading Pleasant Valley.

It took the Spartans (8-0) just 13 seconds to take the lead as Pleasant Valley junior Nick Slavens returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown.

“To get the opening kickoff and crack it like that kind of set the tone in the first half,” Clinton coach Lee Camp said. “I thought we maybe dropped our head a little bit.”

That letdown cost the River Kings (2-6) as Pleasant Valley took a 28-0 halftime lead en route to a 35-0 victory.

“I was really proud of our kids,” Camp said. “We came out and hit hard. We were really aggressive in the second half and played a lot better, more confident.”

After being a major weakness early in the season, the River Kings defense has continued to improve.

Heading into the game, one focus for the Clinton defense was limiting the running of Pleasant Valley quarterback Brady Letney.

Camp said he thought his team did a pretty good job of that. Letney — who averaged more than 100 yards rushing a game and 8.5 yards a carry — was held to 52 yards on nine carries.

“We’ve been getting better,” Camp said. “I think with the surge up front, our linemen are doing a good job. Our backers are rolling. We are doing some good things defensively.”

Letney did pass for a season-high 130 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown strike to AJ Smith, which put the Spartans ahead 28-0 with less than a minute left in the first half.

“They threw the ball well and caught it,” Camp said. “They had a couple of nice plays, but for the most part, they had to earn it. The defense did some things really well.”

On the opposite side, Clinton’s offense — which was a strength early in the season — was shut out for the first time this season and gained only 116 yards.

“We struggled,” Camp said. “A couple of times, we shot ourselves in the foot with a penalty or a mental mistakes. They were adjusting and really coming off the edge. We’ve got to make sure we pick people up. We’re trying to crack with receivers. We were moving some people around. It was giving us a bad angle and we tried to adjust it.”

Part of the adjustment was going into the Wildcat formation, run by twins Dustin and Alex Caldwell.

It worked for a while and Dustin Caldwell was Clinton’s leading rusher, but the River Kings could not sustain it.

“Like most Wildcats, it was temporary, not a fix for the whole time,” Camp said. “Our kids played hard. We did some things well. We just didn’t get it in the end zone when we needed to.”

Another positive for Clinton was its kickoff returns. Dustin Caldwell returned one 50 yards to Pleasant Valley’s 45. Alex Caldwell also had a return of more than 30 yards.

“I thought our kickoff return team did a really fine job,” Camp said. “We’ve gotten our people on theirs and created a seam. Those two guys, they’ll stick it in there pretty hard. Really what it comes down to a lot of times is they’re the not fastest kids on the field. They run hard and they’ve had some great returns. Ryan Driscoll and the couple kids right in front of them do a really nice job of creating a wedge.”

Pleasant Valley’s win combined with a North Scott 47-42 victory over Muscatine, gave the Spartans the outright MAC title.

The River Kings need a win next Friday against Bettendorf. With a win over the 5-3 Bulldogs, Clinton has a chance at a playoff berth. A loss and the season is over.

“I was impressed with the kids that they came out and played hard in the second half,” Camp said. “That’s leading up to now a one-game season. If you win, you move on. You can see their heads pick up when you put it that way. We’ve got to go out and do this. We told them if you’re close, you’ve got to get healthy and get back. We need everybody to buy in.”

Text Only
Sports
  • David Johnson Clinton grad, NDSU picked to lead MVC

     David Johnson, the former Clinton High standout now entering his senior season at the University of Northern Iowa, was named to the preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team that was announced Tuesday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomas Smith Clinton's Smith to join Leathernecks

    Coming off a junior year in which he missed part of the football season because of injury, Clinton’s Thomas Smith figured he’d have to impress college recruiters with a big senior season for the River Kings.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • L'Kings offensive drought continues

    Shutout for the second time in two nights Saturday in a 2-0 loss to South Bend, the Clinton LumberKings' offense was limited again Sunday, managing just one run in a 4-1 Midwest League baseball loss to the Silver Hawks at Ashford University Field.

    July 28, 2014

  • 7-28-14 1B-Photo, Hall of Fame Thomas, Maddux enter Hall of Fame COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats.Thomas, pitchers T

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jones leaves UNO program

    Jalen Jones is done with basketball — for now, anyway.
    The 6-foot-5 Clinton High grad who had committed to play for Nebraska-Omaha, has left the program, and according to his Facebook page, has enrolled at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
    The enrollment office at the community college confirmed that Jones was registered for classes this fall at Kirkwood. Kirkwood coach Bryan Petersen, a Clinton High graduate, declined to comment and gave no indication that Jones would play basketball for the Eagles this winter.
    "College basketball isn't for everybody," Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said. "A little time away might do him some good."
    Jones came home to Clinton after spending just a few days with the Mavericks, and enrolled to Kirkwood shortly thereafter.
    Jones, the Herald's Player of the Year, averaged 19 points a game for the River Kings in his senior season and finished with the second-most rebounds with 160.
    He shot 41 percent on the floor and 28 percent from 3-point territory. He committed to Omaha before last season started in October.

    July 26, 2014

  • Hawkeyes to offer student tickets to public

    Iowa athletic director Gary Barta says the Hawkeyes will make any unsold student football tickets available to the general public as well on Aug. 1.

    July 25, 2014

  • PHOTOS: Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners

    Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners - Majors, Minors, Pee Wee

    July 25, 2014

  • Testimony ends in trial LOS ANGELES (AP) — Testimony ended Wednesday in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling’s estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers in a proposed $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.Shelly Sterling, who had testified

    July 25, 2014

  • Whitecaps take away Clinton offense CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings (13-19, 43-57) mustered only five hits as the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps (20-12, 61-41) shut down the hometown club at Ashford University Field.Whitecaps’ starter Jonathon Crawford (6-2) allowed only four men t

    July 25, 2014

High School Sports