DEWITT – An overthrow to a wide-open receiver in the end zone. A pair of drops on likely scores. A field goal attempt that clanked off the cross-bar and fell to the grass as the second quarter expired.
It was that kind of night for the Clinton High School football team.
Easton Necker rushed for nearly 250 yards and scored four times and the Central DeWitt defense forced three turnovers – and held Clinton on fourth down five times – as the Sabers ran away with a 34-14 victory in the battle of Clinton County.
Trailing 7-0, Clinton wideout Ethan Wilkens stood alone in the end zone on the last play of the first quarter, but Kalvin Godette overthrew the senior on a fourth down attempt.
But Godette lofted a pair of fine-looking tosses to Ulysses Patterson and Patrick Mulholland, who both let the ball escape their fingertips after getting behind the DeWitt secondary.
"It was a big game... we had chances to make plays tonight and did not get it done," River Kings coach Jon Wauford said.
Necker scored three times in the first half to lead DeWitt to a 20-0 lead at the intermission.
Necker entered the contest with a Class 3A-leading 1,153 yards. He piled on 244 more Friday night and added four touchdowns to shoulder the Sabers' offense.
Sabers coach Ryan Streets was impressed with his running back.
"Another great effort from him [Necker] tonight," Streets said. "He hadn't got as many touches in the last couple games but tonight was a ground game and it worked out for us."
At 6-2, 190 pounds, Necker readily shed River Kings defenders, often barreling his way through the line of scrimmage and into the second and third levels of the Clinton defense.
"He is a good, hard runner and we had trouble handling him up the middle and when you do that against a power option team, it spells trouble for you," Wauford said.
The River Kings did not struggle to enter DeWitt territory, as the unit marched on their opponent's side of the field six different times but only came away with a pair of scores, as Godette scampered for a 24-yard touchdown and found Mulholland for a 5-yard score.
Streets said his team was fortunate to contain Godette, who lost his footing several times on the wet grass.
"We got lucky because Clinton's offense is very good and we think Godette is the best quarterback in the district," Streets said. "He can really cut and run and we are just thankful to not see him on turf... we want to see him on the wet and muddy grass where he couldn't go anywhere."
With the victory, DeWitt moves to 5-3 overall in Streets' first season with the program and 2-2 in district competition. Clinton dips to 3-5 and 0-4 in the league.
DeWitt also clinched its first over-.500 record since 2012, which Streets hopes bolsters future roster turnout.
"It just means we are going in the right direction," Streets said. "We want to end up with more players than we started with... we want kids to see that we are having fun and are winning and want to be a part of it."
Clinton will host Iowa City Liberty in the season's final game next week while DeWitt will welcome in Clear Creek-Amana.