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
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