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Class 3A, DII Clifton Cubs hold Class 3A, DI’s 15th-ranked West to stalemate in first scrimmage, visit 24th-ranked Whitney Thursday for final tune-up

Overcoming un-football-like temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees, the Class 3A, Division II Clifton Cubs held their own against Class 3A, DI’s 15th-ranked West on the road in their first scrimmage of the 2023 Texas high school football season at Trojan Stadium last Friday evening.

Running a scripted number of plays during each offensive possession, the Cub first team unit exchanged touchdowns with West, while the Clifton second team rallied to do the same against the Trojans.

“Overall, we were pleased with our first scrimmage,” Clifton’s second-year head coach Brent Finney said. “I thought we held up pretty well in the heat against a much larger team. West is a quality program and a well-coached group.”

This week, Clifton turns its attention to the second scrimmage and final tune-up for the regular season against Class 3A, DI’s 24th-ranked Whitney on Thursday with junior varsity starting at 6:45 p.m. followed by varsity at 7:45 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium. Interestingly, Whitney has been picked to finish third behind ninth-ranked Grandview and 15th-ranked West in District 7-3A, DI this season.

Wildcat junior quarterback Mason Sealy leads eight returning starters on the offensive side of the ball after passing for 2,453 yards and 35 touchdowns last season. Expected to be a force on both sides of the line of scrimmage this season, senior running back/linebacker David Haynes III tallied 160 tackles in 2022.

“Whitney will be another great test for us this week,” Finney said. “Whitney returns a lot of skill and speed for this season, so this will be a great look at a very fast, spread offense.”

Although the Cubs wing-T offensive attack moved the ball consistently against West, two big plays stole the show during the first scrimmage for both teams.

Clifton scored first after senior running back Parker Tunnell weaved through traffic for a 60-yard run to the West one-yard-line. Three plays later, junior quarterback Joaquin De La Hoya connected with senior wide receiver Andres Devora on a five-yard slant in the end zone for the touchdown.

The Trojans responded by methodically marching down the field as junior running back Connor Elston capped the drive with a six-yard scoring run.

Both Clifton and West’s second-team offenses exchanged scores as well as Clifton senior Levi Knox broke off a 70-yard touchdown run on the Cubs’ second possession after West’s backups scored on their opening possession.

“It was nice to see some explosive plays by the offense,” Finney said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty well. It was nice to see our defense respond after the first drive and keep West out of the end zone the rest of the scrimmage.

“I thought the defense played fast and rallied to the ball well. Obviously, we have to clean up the pre-snap penalties. We allowed them to keep their drive alive a couple times by jumping offsides.”

Tunnell led the Clifton ground attack with 84 yards rushing on five carries, Knox rushed three times for 71 yards, while junior Brody Baggett carried the ball twice for 40 yards.

“Offensively, we had a couple fumbled snaps and a lost fumble that we cannot afford to have, and we need to continue to improve on our pass protection,” Finney said. “But overall, we were very happy with our kids’ effort and execution.”


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