The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

August 31, 2013

River Kings win football opener

CLINTON — CLINTON — They finally found a way to curtail Clinton's domination on its new field turf field Friday night.

Clinton headed into halftime with a 35-0 lead, having scored on five of its six possessions and limiting Davenport North's offense to negative 8 total yards, Friday night in the football season opener at Coan Field. Then, a lightning show forced an extended halftime, and it was anticlimactic in front of a greatly thinned-out crowd when the teams got back on the field for the second half.

Playing with a continuous clock because of the lopsided lead, the River Kings finished off a 41-0 victory needing just two extended possessions after the elongated halftime.

"A couple of penalties and a lightning delay, other than that ... ," coach Lee Camp said, dropping off from his assessment because he found little to complain about. "The kids were focused and came out crisp."

The River Kings marched from one end of the new turf to the other once the game got rolling after a pregame Hall of Fame ceremony. A 12-play drive took them from their own 20-yard line — after a touchback on the opening kick — to the opposite end zone. Alex Caldwell scored the first varsity touchdown on the new turf, completing the 4-minute, 34-second drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

"It was our first night on the turf and we were excited," said Caldwell, who led Clinton's offense with 153 yards rushing on 12 carries. "We had a very good performance. The offensive line did a hell of a job."

The River Kings finished with 429 yards of offense, all but 102 on the ground. Caldwell ripped off runs of 36 and 53 yards, while his twin brother Dustin picked up 84 yards on eight carries and backup Austin Peters added 77 yards on nine carries. All three backs scored one touchdown each.

"The line did a great job of getting down to the next level," Camp said. "We believe we can do it offensively going a little at a time, then big plays open."

Senior quarterback Eric Maddasion added 102 yards passing, completing 9 of 12 attempts, with three touchdown tosses, two to 6-foot-8 junior Brady Ernst.

"I've never had that much time to throw the ball," Maddasion said. "I can't say anything more about our offensive line."

Maddasion connected with Ernst on a corner route in the left end of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter to finish another 80-yard drive, this one in 12 plays.

Clinton broke it open — at least on the scoreboard — with three touchdowns in the final 2:28 of the first half.

Dustin Caldwell capped a seven-play, 74-yard drive with an 8-yard run to make it 21-0. Clinton got the ball back minutes later on its 25 after a North punt and needed just two plays to add another score. Alex Caldwell gained 53 yards on the first play, then Maddasion found Jake Espey alone on the right side. Espey made a nice move to get into the end zone for a 22-yard pass play with 48.1 seconds left in the half.

"Having a 6-8 receiver (Ernst) is a great threat, and no one was covering Espey, and I saw him down the seam," Maddasion said.

Clinton added another touchdown on the final play of the first half. A North fumble gave Clinton the ball at the 13-yard line with 4.7 seconds left, and Ernst hauled in a pass from Maddasion on the next play.

The offensive domination overshadowed Clinton's defensive effort, but there was nothing for the coaches to complain about from that perspective. The Wildcats ran just 12 plays in the first half, never getting close to a first down and losing a pair of fumbles.

"Our defensive line played hard and aggressive," junior defensive end Thomas Smith said. "We kept up the pressure the whole first half."

North, which is missing about half its team because of academic issues, had some success against the Kings after halftime, picking up three first downs, but the Wildcats couldn't get in the end zone. Clinton did, on a 4-yard run by Peters early in the fourth quarter, and it ran out the clock deep in North territory.

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