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Fourth quarter rally leads Class 3A, DII Clifton Cubs to big road win over Class 2A, DI Bosqueville, travel to face Class 3A, DI McGregor Bulldogs Friday

Granted, most coaches like fast starts. But make no mistake about it, no matter how well you begin a game, it’s how you finish it that counts.

Scoring 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the Class 3A, Division II Clifton Cubs rallied for a come-from-behind 33-14 road win over the Class 2A, DI Bosqueville Bulldogs last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. Despite falling behind on the opening possession of the game, the Cubs battled through three quarters before running away with the win in the fourth.

“We knew this would be a tough game,” Clifton head coach Brent Finney said. “Like we told the kids, Bosqueville is a lot better than their record shows. Since the first game of the season, we have really been focusing on starting fast and not getting behind early. We were able to do that Friday night again and keep the game close going into the fourth.”

After basically playing a stalemate through three quarters, the Cubs trailed 14-13 before making several game breaking plays in the fourth quarter. Senior fullback Riley Finney broke tackles on his way to the go-ahead touchdown with 5:24 left in the game, then it became all Clifton.

On Bosqueville’s next possession, Finney stripped the ball from a Bulldog runner and senior running back Parker Tunnell capitalized on the turnover for another score to give Clifton a comfortable 26-14 lead.

“We are just really proud of the effort and never quit attitude our kids showed,” Finney said. “Especially after coming out in the second half and taking the lead, just to have them get back in front with a point lead.”

Looking for a three-game winning streak this week, the Cubs (2-1) will play the second of three straight road games, this time visiting the McGregor Bulldogs (1-2), coming off the surprising 21-17 victory over Class 4A, DII Gatesville.

After posting a 1-9 season in 2022, the Bulldogs entered the season picked to finish last in District 11-3A, DI behind top-ranked Franklin, sixth-ranked Lorena and 14th-ranked Cameron Yoe. McGregor opened the season with back-to-back losses to Class 4A, DII Hillsboro, 28-15, and Groesbeck, 35-7.

“McGregor is another really good test for our football team,” Finney said. “They have played some really good teams and play in one of the toughest districts in the state of Texas. McGregor has a really dynamic running back and some big linemen.”

Against Bosqueville (0-3), the Cubs controlled the ball on the ground with 259 yards rushing averaging 7.0 yards per carry, and struck for the big touchdown play through the air. While both Finney and Tunnell scored two touchdowns apiece, Tunnell led the Cubs with 165 yards rushing, followed by Finney with 68 yards on just six carries.

But Clifton proved efficient through the air as well with junior quarterback Joaquin De La Hoya connecting with senior Andres Devora for a 26-yard scoring strike. De La Hoya completed three of five passes for 39 yards, while Devora finished with two catches for 36.

“We were able to move the ball effectively on the ground, and pick up some really big plays in the fourth quarter,” Finney said. “Tunnell ran the ball hard all night. And Devora made a great catch on the touchdown from De La Hoya. We were able to cut out our turnovers.”

Although the Cub defense struggled to slow down the Bosqueville offense at times, they came up with some big stops and Finney’s strip fumble in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-changer. Finney led the Clifton defense with 10 tackles, followed by senior Ervin Rodriguez with six and senior Royer Lopez with five, while junior Landon Knox led the Cubs with two sacks.

“We got a little spark after the strip by Finney, and then were able to pull away,” Finney said. “The defensive front was able to get some good pressure later in the game. It was a lot of fun in that fourth quarter.”


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