Allowing big plays cost Clinton dearly once again.
Davenport Assumption’s first two touchdown drives Thursday night at Brady Street Stadium were one play each.
The first, a 76-yard pass from Jake Gervase to Nick Schebler tied the game at 7. The next, a 31-yard run by James Hua, gave the Knights the lead for good as they beat Clinton 35-7 on Thursday night in Mississippi Athletic Conference football.
“Again giving up some big plays, that's what hurts us,” Clinton coach Lee Camp said. “Some slip-ups on defense gave them a quick score and put them back in the game. We kind of dropped our head a little bit.”
The game got off to a good start for the River Kings (1-4). The opening kickoff went out of bounds, giving Clinton the ball at the 35-yard line. Then the offense went out with junior Eric Maddasion under center. Senior Will Carr, the regular starting quarterback, did not play because of an injury.
“On that first drive, actually I was pretty nervous for the first few plays,” Maddasion said. “But the way we capitalized, I really thought it was going to be a good night for us. So did the rest of the guys.”
Clinton ran the ball the first three plays and picked up a first down. After two more runs, Maddasion hit Jason Banker for an 8-yard gain on a pass play and another first down. Then, Maddasion completed a 15-yard pass to Jaylen Broadenaux.
“I thought he settled down after the first couple of plays and did a really nice job,” Camp said. “He was a good leader out there.”
Clinton then faced a fourth-and-3 at Assumption’s 21. Ryan Driscoll ran the ball up the middle and then cut to the right for a 5-yard gain and another first down.
The River Kings got to third down again. This time, Maddasion found Dustin Caldwell for a 9-yard completion.
After a loss of 1 yard, Maddasion scored a touchdown on a draw from 4 yards, giving Clinton the early lead. The River Kings’ 17-play drive took 8:16 off the clock.
“We came out, took the opening drive and were really feeling positive,” Camp said.
“I was really surprised with how much time we took off the clock,” Maddasion said. “We got three third downs. We made a fourth down. We were playing good football, doing our reads.”
But Assumption (4-1) had an answer. A quick one. One play, 76 yards and a tie game.
“A little mistake on defense ruined the momentum,” Maddasion said.
After a couple of three-and-outs, Hua gave the Knights the lead. Clinton gained 7 yards on its next offensive play, a pitch left to Cody Collender. Then Maddasion rushed for 2 yards but lost the ball at the end of the play. Despite objections from the Clinton coaches that Maddasion was down, the referees ruled it a fumble, which Assumption recovered. Six plays later, Gervase found Max Owens open in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and a 21-7 Assumption lead.
“That was an emotional swing,” Camp said. “We dropped a little bit. We addressed that at halftime, 'You have to keep your head up and come back.' I thought they did come back in the second half and play a lot more aggressively, a lot sharper. We were on the offensive side a lot more, which gives your defense a chance to step up. We got a pick and some good things like that.”
After Clinton went three-and-out again, Jeremy Peters pinned Assumption at its own 6 with a 47-yard punt. But the Knights marched 94 yards on seven plays in 1:16 to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Assumption scored on its first possession of the second half to go ahead 35-7, but Clinton held the Knights scoreless over the final 22 minutes.
“The defense played a really, really good second half,” Maddasion said.
In the second half, Alex Caldwell intercepted a pass thrown by Gervase and Austin Houzenga recovered a Hua fumble. Clinton also held Gervase to 36 yards rushing, his lowest total of the season and only the second time he didn’t go over 100 yards.
Clinton’s offense had some success, reaching the red zone three times.
“In the second half, we battled back,” Camp said. “We got to the red zone three times and came away with nothing. We did some things well. It's just that we didn't do enough of them.”
Maddasion said he found out he would definitely be starting the day before the game.
“I didn't get much sleep,” he said.
“Eric has been doing a good job,” Camp said. “He's a competitive kid. We tell him, 'Keep your head up. Keep working. This is what you've been practicing for.' He got the chance. During the week — not just this week, but all the weeks — he gets a lot of reps.”
Carr said he tweaked something in his leg last week near the end of the game against Muscatine.
“I tried to stay off it at first,” Carr said. “I was expecting it to get better. When it wasn’t (getting better) immediately, that’s when I kind of started to worry. I’m on the mend now.”
Carr said he noticed a few things from sideline that he might not if he had been playing.
“It’s good to look at it as a learning experience, but it’s tough,” he said. “I’d much rather be out there.
“There’s some little things that we’re going to get changed for next week. We’ll come back and put this one behind us.”
The River Kings get an extra day of practice leading up to next Friday’s homecoming game against Burlington.
“With the short week we've had and now coming into a long week, we've got to focus on the good,” Camp said. “It's disappointing and we'll let it eat (Thursday). Then we're going to focus on the things we've done well and what we need to do better. We'll challenge them to come along and play a full game.”
Carr said he expected to be ready for the Grayhounds, and Maddasion is fine with handing the reins back over.
“It was a good experience,” Maddasion said. “But I think Will should be healthy for next week and we can get a homecoming win.”
DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION 35, CLINTON 7
Clinton 7 0 0 0 — 7
Assumption 7 21 7 0 — 35
C — Eric Maddasion 4 run (Jeremy Peters kick), 3:44
A — Nick Schebler 76 pass from Jake Gervase (Nate VanPelt-Dunham kick), 3:28
A — James Hua 31 run (VanPelt-Dunham kick), 10:21
A — Max Owens 5 pass from Gervase (VanPelt-Dunham kick), 7:44
A — Schebler 14 pass from Gervase (VanPelt-Dunham kick), 0:18
A — Schebler 22 run (VanPelt-Dunham kick), 10:03
Rushing — Clinton (46-109), Ryan Driscoll 19-46, Eric Maddasion 17-34, Cody Collender 3-17, Alex Caldwell 2-10, Jaylen Broadenaux 3-3, Dustin Caldwell 2-minus-1; Assumption (35-233), James Hua 14-127, Nick Schebler 5-64, Jake Gervase 9-36, Kahlil McMeans 3-12, Michael Neubaser 1-0, Myles Ollinger 1-0, Josh Metivier 1-minus-1, Jack Fitzgibbon 1-minus-5.
Passing — Clinton (8-13-0, 56 yards), Maddasion 8-13-0, 56 yards; Assumption (9-11-1, 168 yards), Gervase 9-11-1, 168 yards.
Receiving — Clinton, Tyler Thacker 1-22, Broadenaux 1-15, D. Caldwell 2-9, Jason Banker 1-8, Collender 1-7, Driscoll 1-5, A. Caldwell 1-minus-10; Assumption, Schebler 5-131, Hua 1-23, McMeans 1-9, Max Owens 1-5, Colin Gould 1-0.
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