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Coming off home opening loss to Bosqueville, Class 3A Clifton Cubs look to get back on winning track at home against McGregor

CLIFTON – Never shying away from challenging non-district competition, the Class 3A, Division II Clifton Cubs continued their gauntlet run through tough opponents last week in preparation for District 13-3A, DII play.

Playing a perennial powerhouse, the Cubs went toe-to-toe with Class 2A, DI Bosqueville, but the Bulldogs hung on in a hard-fought game for a 21-7 victory over Clifton Friday night in Cub Stadium. Despite trailing 19-0 with 7:23 left in the game, the Cub offense showed some spark late to score with the passing game and make it interesting in the fourth quarter.

“Our kids are never going to quit,” Clifton’s first-year head coach Brent Finney said. “We are so proud of their effort, they played hard until the last snap.”

Senior quarterback Trent Guinn connected with junior wide receiver Andres Devora for two big plays through the air, the last one a 27-yard scoring strike to make it a two-score game with 5:34 remaining. But for the most part, the Bulldogs bottled up the Clifton running game, limiting the Cubs to only 101 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry.

Led by Brooks Nunn, Tre Neal and John Youen, the Bulldogs (1-2) corralled junior fullback Riley Finney, who fought his way to a tough 44 yards on 16 carries, while junior running back Parker Tunnell totaled 55 yards on 10 totes, most of which came on a 22-yard run.

“We did some good things offensively, but were never really able to string them together and get any consistency,” Finney said. “Bosqueville did a good job of crowding the line of scrimmage and making things tough up front. And we had a couple fumbled snaps and untimely penalties that kept us behind the chains.”

Facing a balanced attack from Bosqueville led by Newt Schornack passing for 183 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score, the Cub defense did a solid job of containing the Bulldogs to keep Clifton in the game until the offense got on track. Finney led Clifton (1-2) with 12 tackles, followed by seniors Carter Tunnell and Peyten Urbanovsky with nine takedowns each, along with senior Makail Brandenberger’s eight tackles, a sack and an interception.

“Defensively, we played one of our better games,” Finney said. “The defense came up big keeping us in the game all night with a huge goal line stand and overall very solid play.”

While the Cub defense and special teams came up with a handful of potentially game-changing plays, Clifton failed to capitalize to make any one of them the turning point of the game.

“There were lots of pivotal plays in the game,” Finney said. “Of course, getting a touchdown called back and not scoring was tough. Our kids executed the onside kick perfectly, then we were stopped on downs and not able to capitalize. But the main difference in this game was that we were not able to consistently move the ball and get our defense off the field.”

This week in the second of three straight home games, the Cubs will play host to the Class 3A, DI McGregor Bulldogs (0-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cub Stadium. McGregor lost its third consecutive game of the season Friday night, falling to Class 4A, DII Gatesville, 27-20. The Bulldogs opened the season with a 45-22 road loss to Class 4A, DII Hillsboro before dropping their home opener to Class 3A, DI Groesbeck, 28-14.

“Like always, McGregor has a good football team,” Finney said. “They have very talented skill players and very large linemen on both sides of the ball. We will have to play well in all phases of the game.”


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