Monthly archive

November 2019

Gridiron Gurus: Week 14

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

APEX ACCOLADES: Meridian runners receive all-state recognition

in Cross Country

AUSTIN – After placing 10th as a team in Class 2A at the UIL State Cross Country Championships at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock Nov. 7, the Meridian Lady Jackets have received some prestigious accolades for their achievements.

Lady Jacket seniors Dakota Cassidy and Mallory Paruszewski were named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State Cross Country team, while Cassidy and senior Reese Errington were  named to TGCA’s Academic All-State Cross Country team.

In addition, the Texas High School Coaches Association named Errington to its Academic All-State Elite Team, while Cassidy, along with Meridian senior boys Cody Warren, De’Marius Parks and Zakary Dirkse received Honorable Mention recognition.

“Such a big huge congrats to our athletes for being named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Honorable Mention Academic All State Team for Cross Country,” Meridian cross country head coach Jill Kendall said.  “But especially to Reese Errington for being named to the Elite Team.”

To be nominated for Academic All-State, a student-athlete must be 1) in good standing with the team, 2) of good moral character, 3) a senior, and 4) have an overall grade point average of 92 or above, which includes courses from grades 9-11 and completed courses in grades 12.

When reviewing the nominations, the THSCA considers each student’s GPA, class rank, and SAT/ACT score. The student receive points base on each criteria, and the score determines which team that are placed on.

Led by Cassidy’s 20th place finish among the field of 151 runners with a time of 12:37.82 — her best time of the season, the Meridian girls placed 10th in the field of 16 teams at state. Other Lady Jacket runners were Paruszewski (87th),  junior Norah Lira (91st),  freshman Cambree White (112th), Errington (113th),  junior Faith Paruszewski (124th) and freshman Meryl Roberson (140th).

“This has been an amazing season, and these girls have worked super hard to have the successes that they accomplished,” Kendall said. “They won back-to-back district championships, finished third at Regionals and 10th at State. The seniors have definitely set the bar high for future Lady Jacket cross country runners.”

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Finally, frustration sets in for Jerry’s World of hopes

in Commentary/Pro/College

It’s hard to know what to prescribe for someone suffering from an acute case of Dallas Cowboy Football, or in other words, D.C.F. — Disappointment, Chagrin and Frustration.

And after displaying a remarkable immunity to the affliction, Dallas Cowboy owner and general manager Jerry Jones appears to be finally reaching a breaking point as his long-term exposure to the malady apparently has weakened his resistance with its debilitating effects.

Unable to get started early, an inability to tackle at times, questionable execution on offense, nonsensical special teams, and flat out poor coaching decisions cost the anemic Cowboys yet another chance to show they can not only compete but defeat the NFL’s best when Dallas stumbled and slipped to an ugly 13-9 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain and howling wind at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium.

“It is a significant setback for our team,” Jones told reporters after the game, according to the Dallas Morning-News. “We needed this win. We needed to win against an opponent like this. We haven’t had them and, consequently, we are very aware of that and so we dig a hole that we really got a challenge as we look at the rest of the schedule.

“We had opportunity here to do some things against a really outstanding organization, a really outstanding team in a rough situation. And we just didn’t get there. That’s disappointing, and I’m reflecting it. I don’t think there’s a game that a coaching staff couldn’t do better in. I just don’t like that we’ve got so many issues as I’m standing here.”

Ouch. It has to be painful to be Cowboy head coach Jason Garrett right now.  Clearly, Jones sounded more frustrated after the New England loss about his coaching staff than at any point of the Garrett era. And he was just getting started.

Rest assured, Jones won’t be firing Garrett any time during the 2019 season, so our collective suffering could be far from over. Jones appeared on 105.3 The Fan and fielded the point-blank question of whether or not he’s considering firing Garrett after blowing several opportunities to win the game.

“The answer is no, period,” Jones said.

There you have it, sports fans. But then again, no surprise. After all, what ails the Cowboys has not become terminal yet, even though Dallas has posted an 0-4 record against teams with a winning mark this season. In fact, it’s even conceivable the Cowboys could lose to the teams currently with a winning record remaining on their schedule — the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams — and still make the playoffs.

Remarkably, the Cowboys would not become the first team to pull off that feat. According to ESPN Stats & Information, there have been five teams in the Super Bowl era to make the postseason without beating a team with a winning record in the regular season: the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs (0-1), 2003 Seahawks (0-2), 1998 Arizona Cardinals (0-2), 1970 Cincinnati Bengals (0-2), 1969 Houston Oilers (0-3).

And even though Dallas has yet to beat a team with a winning record, the Cowboys remain favored in each of their final five games, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. Despite losing to the Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, Dallas’ chances of winning out look like this: Thursday vs. Buffalo — 78.6%; Dec. 5 at Chicago — 61.0%; Dec. 15 vs. Los Angeles Rams — 67.5%; Dec. 22 at Philadelphia — 52.8% and Dec. 29 vs. Washington — 94.0%.

Believe it or not, Dallas (6-5) remains alone at the top of the NFC East Division and continue to control their fate in the final five weeks of the season. But so far, the Cowboys have not passed any of their tests as another one awaits on Thanksgiving Day when the Buffalo Bills (8-3) visit AT&T Stadium for the traditional 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

So even though the prognosis still looks promising, why do long-suffering Dallas Cowboy fans everywhere feel like they’re staring straight into the abyss? Let me sum it up in three words.

Disappointment – sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hopes and expectations.

Chagrin – distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated.

Frustration – the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something, resulting in the prevention of progress , success, or fulfillment of something.

In other words, Dallas Cowboy Football.

TALE OF TWO HALVES: Gunter drops Clifton as 2nd-half rally falls short

in Football

Class 3A, DII Area Playoff: Gunter 27, Clifton 14

WAXAHACHIE – In a tale of two halves, the Clifton Cubs failed to take advantage of several second half opportunities as the Class 3A, Division II’s fourth-ranked Gunter Tigers held on to knock off the Cubs, 27-14, in an Area playoff showdown Friday night at Waxahachie’s Lumpkins Stadium.

While anything short of a state championship always ends in disappointment for any team playing in the postseason, the Cubs (8-4) were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

“We are obviously disappointed for the season to come to an end, but I am very proud of this group of young men,” said Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, who has led the Cubs to four consecutive district titles and six straight trips to the postseason since taking over at Clifton. “They have battled adversity all year and continued to fight and work to achieve their goals, and Friday night was no different.” 

Gunter (11-1) dominated the first half, scoring 20 unanswered second quarter points to take a commanding 27-7 lead into the locker room at intermission. The Tigers rolled up 250 first half yards, 201 on the ground while the Gunter defense shut down the Cub running game, allowing only 24 yards on 17 carries.

“We got ourselves in a hole in the first half, and I challenged them at halftime to show us what they are all about, and they did that,” Caniford said. “They never gave up and gave us a chance in the second half.  Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on the opportunities we got.

Clifton turned the table on the Tigers in the second half, outgaining Gunter in total yards, 221-46, but the Cubs were unable to capitalize. The Cubs began to mount a second-half comeback with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter, as senior quarterback Mason Brandenberger connected with senior wide receiver TJ Ferch for a 22-yard scoring strike.

Then the Clifton defense rose to the occasion to stop Gunter with a fumble recovery, but the Cubs could not capitalize. In fact, Clifton came up with two Tiger turnovers in the second half, but the Cubs gave it right back twice to nullify the opportunities. Despite three chances to make it a one-score game in the fourth quarter, Clifton could not put points on the board.

“You have to give Gunter a lot of credit,” Caniford said. “They have an outstanding football team and made the plays that they needed to make to win the game.”

As Clifton’s primary offensive weapon, Ferch finished with 10 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns, while Brandenberger completed 15 of33 passes for 246 yards despite suffering two interceptions.

Defensively, Ferch led the Cubs with 14 tackles and an interception, followed by senior Riley Perry with 12 tackles and a sack, senior Mason Ochoa with 11 tackles, sophomore Griffin Phillips with two sacks and senior Hayden Newton with a fumble recovery.

“I am extremely proud of this senior class for all that they have achieved in our program,” Caniford said.  “I know that they are disappointed, as we all are. But when they look back on their career at Clifton High School, they will see a lot of tremendous accomplishments that they can be proud of. 

“As I told them after the game, I am disappointed for them, but I am definitely not disappointed in them. They showed the character and fight that we all know they have on Friday night and left it all on the field.”

Photos by DAVID HARDING & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

TAKING ON THE BEST: Cubs face 4th-ranked Gunter in Class 3A, DII Area

in Football
HEART OF TEXAS GAME OF THE WEEK:

Class 3A, DII Area Playoff: CLIFTON CUBS (8-3) vs. GUNTER TIGERS (10-1)

WAXAHACHIE – In the midst of achieving an unprecedented run of success during the course of the last six seasons, the Class 3A, Division II’s Clifton Cubs want to take it to the next level. To do so, the Cubs will have to beat one of the best teams the state has to offer once again.

After winning a bi-district playoff game for the sixth consecutive season last week, the Cubs face two obstacles tonight, winning an Area Playoff championship for the first time since 1993 and beating the fourth-ranked Gunter Tigers tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Waxahachie’s Lumpkins Stadium.

“Those are only obstacles to achieving our goals if we allow them to be obstacles,” Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford said. “We need to be confident in our ability to perform, and approach the game the same way we have approached every game.”

In the regular season finale, the Cubs (8-3) knocked off state-ranked Rogers, 27-21, to claim a share of their fourth straight District 8-3A, DII title. To live to play another day, Clifton will have to do the same to the Gunter Tigers (10-1), who enter the game riding a nine-game winning streak, during which time the Tigers have outscored opponents, 403-61.

Only two other playoff teams challenged Gunter on its way to the District 5-3A, DII title this season, third place Holliday, 20-7, and runner-up Wichita Falls City View, 31-27, and both teams have advanced to the Area playoff round. Deploying a flex bone option offensive attack and a split scheme on defense, Gunter crushed Tolar, 53-7, in its Bi-District playoff game.

“Gunter is very similar to Rogers in their offensive and defensive schemes,” Caniford said. “Offensively, we need to be patient and sustain drives. They will play a lot of three deep zone and try to not to give up the big plays. We need to be disciplined enough to take what they give us. 

“The key for our success offensively is pretty simple, win the line of scrimmage, don’t have negative plays and protect the football. If we do those things, we will have an opportunity to have success on offense. 

“Defensively, they make you play assignment football with their option game. Everyone has to do their job and trust that the others will do theirs. Where they get people in a bind is when guys try to do too much and try to do someone else’s job.”

For the second straight week in the playoffs, Clifton plays a team it has never faced on the football field, and the two teams lack any common teams for comparison. But that’s nothing new for the Cubs. And to win an Area Championship, they will have to go where no Clifton football team has gone in a long time.

“The most important thing we need to do to win this game is to have confidence in ourselves,” Caniford said. “We have earned the right to be here just as they have. And whoever performs tonight at 7:30 p.m. will advance. Our guys need to believe in themselves and trust each other. If we do that, then it will be a fun night for the Cubs.”

Photos courtesy of CLIFTON CUB FOOTBALL

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON GURUS: Week 13

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Handing down the hunting heritage to our children

in Commentary/Hunting & Fishing

Nothing was moving, not a thing, except the rustling of fluttering leaves across the cold, hard ground, driven by the gusting and biting wind. The sun had just set along a cloudy, yet crimson horizon, and darkness slowly began to descend upon us as the hope of the hunt began to dis­solve.
But then, in the blink of an eye, it was there – a whitetail deer.


His heart quickened as he felt the call of the wild pulse through his veins for the first time, taking his breath away for a moment. His hands shook ever so slightly, more from the excitement of the moment than from the cold wind cutting through his camouflaged jacket.


White puffs of air came out of his mouth in short bursts as he took aim, lining up the crosshairs of his scope on the prey he had hunted for with such diligence, waited for with such patience.


Ah, there is nothing quite like handing down the heritage of the hunt to our youth. No one questions the great abundant resources of natural wildlife and beauty in Texas. But even in the Lone Star state where hunting and fishing ranks as one of our greatest heritages, many still ask the question that leaves most of us looking at our inquisitor with great befuddlement.


Even in Texas, many still question why we hunt. And interestingly, often the things we know best in the deepest reaches of our souls can be the hardest things to explain in words.


Consquently, although we are sometimes insolated from the threat in rural Bosque County, the privilege of passing on the tradition to our sons remains in jeopardy, because hunting and the right to bear arms remains under siege and the subject of debate the world over.


Why?


Because we, as hunting advocates, are unable or unwilling to effectively explain the complicated, deeply-rooted concept to the “modernized and civilized” malcontents. Many hunters would rather be left alone to hunt than to bother trying to explain to a sneering society that no longer implicitly understands.


But while we turn our backs on them, they won’t turn their backs on us. They will not rest until they have our guns and take away the legacy we love. The hunters have become the hunted, and they intend to pursue us until we become extinct.


There was a time when hunting simply was a way of life for human beings around the globe. Dealing with life and death first hand was a matter of life and death.


But even from its most primitive roots, man has always been conflicted to some extent by his love of wild creatures and their boundless beauty, while coming to terms with the reality of bio­logical law and the desire to survive.
For generation after generation, the circle of life remained the same. Man hunted and gathered his nutritional needs while ab­sorbing the secrets of the natural world.


Men who hunted became the world’s first ecologists, philoso­phers and spiritual intellectuals, witnessing and understanding the universal laws first hand. They experienced the indivisibility of life in amazement as they watched flowers grow in abundance where they field dressed the game they killed.


The beauty of poetic symmetry.


No break in this cycle could appear without a cascading effect. Consequently, man has maintained and managed the circle of life throughout the history of the world. But somewhere along the way, modern man created the middle man. And civilized so­ciety now takes the food it eats for granted.


Ironically, most of those who so ardently turn their noses up at hunters thoughtlessly walk into the local grocery store and stack their carts with beef, pork, chicken and seafood without consid­ering the fact that they have essentially hired the butcher, the farmer and the fisherman to be their “hunters.”


But to use that fact as ammunition against those who want to take our heritage away would be missing the point. Just like the way pointing out the fact that very few of our challengers are aware of the direct impact hunters and numerous wildlife con­servation organizations interested in preserving America’s hunt­ing heritage have had on saving and protecting countless species in this country and abroad would be pointless.


At the end of the day, they’re just facts, and this is a very emo­tional issue. It’s time we all focus on the heart of the matter.


The most meaningful aspect of this great debate remains the hardest part to explain, especially to someone who does not have the heritage of the hunter flowing through his or her veins.


“The pursuit of deer has become much more than its origi­nal purpose, which was nothing more than a struggle for food, clothing and survival,” renown Texas wildlife photographer Mike Briggs said in his book, The Whitetail Chronicles. “In many cases, the fulfillment of these needs has now become secondary to the pursuit itself.


“The reason is simple for those who have experienced it, and difficult for those who have not, for embedded within this pur­suit lies a totally different level of consciousness, separate and apart from everything else we know.
“And this consciousness holds wonderful secrets and surprises just waiting to be discovered.”


Those of us who hunt experience the reality of the eternal cir­cle of life and death. As we mature as hunters, as well as human beings, we develop the understanding and reverence for the mys­tery that lies beneath the surface of the hunting experience and life itself.


Through this understanding and enlightenment, we realize how important it is that this heritage is never lost. The passion we possess for the experience must be passed on to our chil­dren.


Certainly, my late father, L.E. “Sonny” Voss, Jr., succeeded in passing on the passion for the tradition and heritage to me. My fondest childhood memories revolve around the experiences my father and I shared fishing and hunting. Beginning with fishing off the jetties along Padre Island, to being my father’s “bird dog” hunting for whitewing dove in the Rio Grande Valley, to trolling at the mouth of West Africa’s Cuanza River for trophy saltwater fish, to hunting in Mexico for “muy grande,” my father and I both understood all that went into making the experience special and meaningful.


In turn, I saw it as my responsibility to preserve our family heritage by passing it on to my three sons, Jacob (25), Zachary (23) and Derek (21). While they began fishing at a very young age, it became a right of passage for each of them as they prepared to hunt for their first whitetail deer.


At some point along the way, it became apparent to me that not only had they learned lessons about whitetail deer hunting, the expe­rience delivered lessons on life as well. Even if they didn’t realize it at the moment, they learned about the value of such things as self-discipline and endurance, determination and dedication, perse­verance and patience.


While each of us strive to instill the hunting heritage in our children, we must preserve the privilege properly. The future of hunting lies in the sound understanding and the continued pres­ence of the four Rs of hunter education – rights, respect, respon­sibility and reverence.


We must instill those four Rs in all who hunt as well as all those who have long since lost touch with the hunter that dwells within them. Our fathers who treasured our way of life did not fail us. Now, we must not fail to pass on the hunting traditions and opportu­nities to those who come after us.

And we must not back away from explaining to those who don’t know why we do.


From the day each of them were born, Jake, Zach and Derek have always shown a thrill and respect for the outdoors experience. And as young boys, they each developed a passion beyond their years for hunting and fishing without much encouragement from their father as if it were an hereditary trait.


Then again, maybe it is.


The youth lifted his cheek off the stock of the gun and looked at all that surrounded him in that instant, as if to savor the perfect moment in time. In that instant, he bathed in the beauty of the world’s wondrous creations while the significance of the circle of life seemed to wash over him and soak into his soul.


He then took a deep breath, steadied his aim, and slowly pulled the trigger.

OVERTIME TRIFECTA: Clifton slips by Edgewood in overtime thriller

in Football

Class 3A, DII Bi-District: Clifton 28, Edgewood 27 (OT)

WAXAHACHIE – In the end, the Clifton Cubs needed a big play from all three phases of the game to pull off an overtime victory against Edgewood in their Class 3A, Division II Bi-District playoff matchup Friday night at Waxahachie’s Lumpkin Stadium. Facing a do-or-die scenario, that’s exactly what the Cubs did.

Clifton senior running back Riley Perry opened overtime with an explosive 25-yard touchdown run, junior placekicker Jose Ramirez nailed the extra point, and the Cub defense swarmed Edgewood running back Kyle Keltner on the two-point conversion attempt to win the game, providing the Cubs with a thrilling 28-27 overtime win and Clifton’s sixth consecutive first round playoff victory.

“I’m proud of what our kids and coaches have been able to accomplish the last six years,” Clifton football head coach Chuck Caniford said. “For me, the mark of a great program is consistency, and we have been able to maintain that level of success over this time. We measure our success each year on the number of gold footballs we earn, and we’ve been able to earn quite a few over the last six years.”

After Clifton (8-3) quickly took the lead in overtime on Perry’s determined run and Ramirez’ clutch kick, Edgewood mounted a seven-play scoring drive using a power running game behind Keltner, who bulled in from three yards out for the score. But on the two-point conversion run, senior Joel Santillan and sophomore Jimmie Taylor plugged up the hole, senior Hayden Newton grabbed Keltner from behind, and Perry stepped up to deliver the finishing hit as the Cub defense swarmed to preserve the win.

“We found a way to make the big plays we needed in the most critical times,” Caniford said. “I think a key to this is that our guys never panicked. They maintained their composure and were confident that they would be able to get it done in the end. 

“We had some success with that same outside zone play in the second half, and we got some great blocks on the perimeter to spring Riley into the end zone.  Then defensively, Coach Mayfield had a great feel for what they were going to run on their two-point play, and our guys were ready for it. They stepped up and made the biggest stop of the game when we needed it the most.”

After being held to only 52 total yards in the first quarter and a half of the game, the Cub offense put together a scoring drive late in the second quarter and continued to move the ball in the second half. Senior quarterback Mason Brandenberger scrambled for 152 yards and a touchdown while passing for another, connecting with senior Weston Schasteen on a nine-yard scoring strike. Perry finished with 59 yards rushing and two scores.

“We didn’t play consistent enough throughout the game to put the game out of reach,” Caniford said. “But we were able to get some things going starting in the second quarter. And once we found our rhythm, I thought we played much better as the game progressed.” 

After Edgewood ran the ball effectively and hurt the Cubs with the pass a few times in the first half, the Clifton defense, slowed down the running game and shut down the passing attack. Perry led the Cubs with 13 tackles, followed by senior Mason Ochoa with 12, senior TJ Ferch with eight tackles and an interception, as well as sophomores Griffin Phillips and Taylor with seven each.

“I thought our coaches did a great job of making adjustments at halftime,” Caniford said. “And the kids did a great job of putting those adjustments to work in the second half.” 

With the win, Clifton advances to the Area Playoff round to face Class 3A, DII’s fourth-ranked Gunter (10-1), once again playing at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Waxahachie’s Lumpkins Stadium. The Cubs have not won an Area Championship since 1993.

“We have been able to maintain a consistent level of success, but we want to take it to the next level,” Caniford said. “In order to do that, we need to beat a team like Gunter in the playoffs. This is something that are kids have talked about since last December, and something that they have worked for since then.  I don’t anticipate having to get them up for this week at all.”

Photos by DAVID HARDING

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

LOOKING FOR MORE: Cubs take aim for 6th straight Bi-District win

in Football
HEART OF TEXAS GAME OF THE WEEK:

Class 3A, DII Bi-District: CLIFTON CUBS (7-3) vs. EDGEWOOD BULLDOGS (7-3)

WAXAHACHIE – After claiming a share of its fourth straight District 8-3A, Division II crown by knocking off the previously unbeaten and state-ranked Roger Eagles, the Clifton Cubs turn their attention to the playoffs. Having won a bi-district playoff game for five consecutive seasons, Clifton goes into the postseason not just happy to be there.

So when the Cubs (7-3) take on the Edgewood Bulldogs (7-3) in a Class 3A, DII Bi-District matchup today at 7:30 p.m. in Waxahachie’s Lumpkin Stadium, Clifton sees it as only the beginning of the next part of the season. And without winning, there is no tomorrow.

“When we got here six years ago, we talked about getting to the playoffs was an expectation and not a goal,” Caniford said. “Now, the expectation is to win in the playoffs. But we also understand that everyone we play from here on out has earned the right to be playing. So, we have to make sure that we focus on taking everything one week at a time. If we don’t take care of our business, there isn’t another week.

“Right now, we have one goal and that is to earn another week of football.”

And that’s exactly what the Cubs have been doing since Caniford arrived in Clifton in 2014. When he took over, the Cubs had not posted a winning record since 2005, they had not won a district title since 2002, they had not won a playoff game since 1994, and they had missed the postseason for eight consecutive seasons.

With Caniford at the helm, the Cubs have won a share of four straight district titles, qualified for the playoffs for six straight seasons, won five consecutive bi-district playoff matchups and posted four straight winning records.

Tonight, Clifton takes on an Edgewood squad that has lost two of its last four District 7-3A, DII games, but the Bulldogs eliminated Corsicana Mildred, 41-33, last Friday to secure third place.

“Edgewood has a good football team, and it starts up front for them,” Caniford said. “I’ve been impressed with their offensive and defensive lines on film. We are going to have to do a good job at the line of scrimmage to have success on both sides of the ball.

“They do a good job of trying to keep you off balance with their offense. So even though their schemes are different, it is very similar to playing Rogers. Everyone has to do their job and trust that the other guys on the field will do theirs. When you get in a bind is when you try to do things that aren’t your job.”

Interestingly, the two schools have never faced each other in football and sharing no common opponents this season, leaving a bit of mystery and the unknown to the matchup. But Caniford considers that par for the course in the postseason.

“I don’t think that really is a factor,” Caniford said. “We’ve both had an opportunity to see film on the other, and we had a chance to see them live during our open week. So I think we have a pretty good feel for what they are going to try to do.”

Part of being successful in the playoffs is being able to make effective adjustments throughout the game.  They are going to do things we haven’t seen and we are going to do things that they haven’t seen. 

Photos by DAVID HARDING

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON GURUS: Week 12

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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