BACK TO THE FUTURE

in Football

Clifton alum & first-year head coach Brent Finney hopes to lead Cubs back to the postseason promise land

CLIFTON – When the Class 3A, Division II Clifton Cubs take the football field for the first time this week, they will be doing so with a new head coach for the first time since 2014. But there will be nothing new about wearing the Clifton Cub kelly green for first-year head coach Brent Finney.

Looking to get back into the Class 3A, Division II playoffs for the first time since 2019, Finney will lead the Cubs as they embark on the 2022 Texas high school football season by hosting the Class 3A, DI West Trojans in a scrimmage Friday at 7:15 p.m. in Cub Stadium.

Entering his 27th year as a high school coach, Finney will get his first football head coaching and athletic director opportunity at his high school alma mater as he graduated from Clifton High School in 1991 before graduating from Tarleton in 1996.

“My wife is also a Clifton graduate, so we moved back home to raise our family here as well,” Finney said. “We have had two daughters graduate from CHS, and currently have a son in 11th grade and daughter in 8th.

“Clifton is a very important part of our lives and the lives of our families. This was a great opportunity to continue to serve the kids of our community and give back to the community that has done so much for us.”

Finney spent eight years at Cameron Yoe before coming back home to Clifton 18 years ago. And during the last eight seasons under former head coach Chuck Caniford, the Cubs advanced to the playoffs six times, winning three district championships.

But coming off back-to-back seasons without a postseason berth, the Cubs will be navigating a new District 13-3A, DII following the 2022-24 UIL realignment. Featuring a tough lineup of district opponents, the Cubs will be facing Buffalo, Elkhart, Florence, Lexington and Rogers in the six-team league.

“Our district will again be very competitive, but we believe we will be right in the playoff mix,” Finney said. “Many of our returners gained valuable experience last year as we had to play many younger guys last season.”

Certainly, the Cubs will get a gauge of where they stand against some of the best teams in the state by scrimmaging West Friday. After winning District 7-3A, DI with an undefeated record in 2021, the Trojans advanced to the regional finals. Entering the season as Class 3A, DI’s 10th-ranked squad, West hopes to build on its school record-setting effort last season.

“As with every small school, one of the most important issues for us will be establishing some depth,” Finney said. “Offensively, we will have a new quarterback. And defensively, we must replace many of our defensive backs.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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