Truckers fall to 0-2 early in the season
By Erik Buchinger
The Clintonville football team suffered a home loss in a 48-0 defeat to Freedom on Friday, Aug. 25.
Freedom’s Dakota Brockman returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, and the Irish continued to score on the Truckers for a 48-point halftime lead.
Clintonville’s co-head coach Jeff Brightwell said the team is moving in the right direction, following last week’s 75-0 season-opening loss to Fox Valley Lutheran.
“I think we took a big step forward,” Brightwell said. “Freedom is an outstanding program. We knew it was going to be tough coming in. The goal all week for the kids was to get better every play and respond.”
Freedom outgained Clintonville 308-25 in total yardage. Clintonville junior running back Bailey Tate carried the ball 17 times for 24 yards.
Clintonville’s senior quarterback Kyle Finger completed 2 of 13 passes for 14 yards with two interceptions. He said the whole team worked hard throughout.
“We battled hard. We did, but in the end, the scoreboard didn’t show how hard we played,” Finger said. “I know each and every player who played today really gave it 100 percent, but at the end of the day, we’re growing.”
Brightwell said Freedom’s athleticism was a big factor.
“They’ve got so much team speed that at the beginning of the game, it was a bit overwhelming,” Brightwell said. “As the game went on with more and more reps, I saw us growing throughout the process, so you can come out and build on that.”
The Truckers moved the ball better against Freedom than they did against Fox Valley Lutheran, according to Finger.
“We moved the ball this week offensively,” Finger said. “Up front, we need to be a little bit better. They’re playing hard. They’re playing their butts off, but it’s not showing I guess. It’ll turn around.”
Clintonville had a few first downs on its final drive into Freedom territory.
“By the time they put in their second and third strings, we were ready to keep moving forward because those are the guys we can compete with,” Finger said. “The more we keep getting our reps and be successful with them, the more success we can have overall.”
Brightwell said the Truckers will have opportunities to be competitive throughout the season.
“Where we’re at right now is not matched where [Freedom] is right now, but we stick together and stay positive and build,” Brightwell said. “I think there are some teams in this conference that if we continue to grow, we can challenge and keep it close, and who knows what happens in those games? You just have to keep together, keep your heads up and keep working.”
Brightwell said his message to the team was to continue to move forward.
“I talked to the kids and told them about climbing a mountain,” Brightwell said. “You take it one step at a time, and I think we took some of those steps against a pretty tough opponent tonight.”