CEDAR RAPIDS — Having Clinton elect to receive the opening kickoff might have been the best thing to happen to Cedar Rapids Xavier on Wednesday night to open the high school football playoffs — besides recording its sixth shutout in nine wins this season, anyway.
Helped by an early Clinton miscue, Xavier’s defense stopped the River Kings in their tracks on the opening possession in the first-round Class 4A game at Saints Field. That turned into the story of the first half for the fourth-ranked Saints, who scored on their first five possessions en route to the 45-0 victory.
”We knew coming in we couldn’t make mistakes,” Clinton coach Lee Camp said. “We had to play real good because we’ve struggled with teams with that much size and strength, and that was the case tonight, especially when we were making some mistakes to give them that short field.”
Xavier (9-1) set the tone right away.
Xavier’s opening kickoff went for a touchback, then its defense took over.
After the Saints were penalized 5 yards for being offside before Clinton ever ran a play, the Saints marched the Kings backward.
They tackled Dustin Caldwell (10 carries, 16 yards) for a 2-yard loss on first down, then were helped by a Clinton miscommunication on second down. Quarterback Eric Maddasion unexpectedly got the center snap as he was looking away, and even though Clinton recovered, it went for 6-yard loss. An incomplete pass on third down forced a Clinton punt, which took a favorable Xavier bounce and set up the Saints at the Clinton 32-yard line.
”A miscommunication, things happen, not too big of a deal,” Maddasion said. “We knew coming in that we were going to have to do a lot, if not everything, correct to put up a good fight versus Xavier. We had a few miscommunications, but those things happen. We got off to a rough start.”