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Clifton looking for its first win, hosting Little River-Academy

CLIFTON — After returning to normal from the COVID-19 shutdown simply by playing football last week, the Clifton Cubs want to reinstate another aspect to the game this week they have come to expect over the last six season — winning.

Playing in their first game at home this season, the Cubs will take on yet another opponent not on their original schedule when they host Class 3A, Division I Little River-Academy at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cub Stadium.

“We were looking for someone who would challenge our team and help us get better as we prepare for the district race,” Clifton football head coach Chuck Caniford said. “Academy has some outstanding skill players and team speed, and those are the type of players that we will see in district and in the playoffs.”

Despite holding a 14-6 lead going into the fourth quarter in the season opener, the Cubs could not hold off the bigger and deeper Class 4A, DII Sanger as the Indians rallied for a 25-14 victory at Aledo’s Bearcat Stadium. With the Cubs sporting the “new look” offensive approach using a grinding ground game, three turnovers proved to be the difference.

“We did a lot of good things on offense last week,” Caniford said. “We just need to do a better job of avoiding drive killers and negative plays. We did a pretty good job run blocking, but we need to improve our pass protection to give our quarterback time to make plays in the passing game and not put us in a position that creates turnovers.”

Like Sanger, Little River-Academy went through a rough season in 2019, but the Bumblebees have nine offensive and six defensive starters back and opened the season with a 20-15 win on the road against Rogers.

“They have a lot of talent at the skill positions and some key returners up front on both sides of the ball,” Caniford said. “They appear to be playing with a lot of confidence in their schemes. 

“We just need to focus on doing our job on every play and not get caught up in the scoreboard.  We were in a good position to win the game last week. But we got caught up looking at the score, focusing on winning instead of just doing the things that put us in that position.” 


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