A Clinton County rivalry matchup on Friday held plenty of moments for each fan base to cheer about as Clinton Prairie knocked off Frankfort, 54-30.
In a game that found both teams combining for 11 touchdowns, Clinton Prairie’s offense held the edge after they rushed for 435 yards including 231 from the Gophers’ Jaycob Wilson.
For Clinton Prairie head coach Kurt Schlicher, the Gophers’ success in their run game was a culmination of offseason work combined with skill players that can find the holes in an opposing defense at the most opportune time.
“We worked hard all summer in putting in our under center so to speak offense and we haven’t used it in a couple of weeks so we kind of held it back specifically for Frankfort so we had an element of surprise for them,” Schlicher said. “We have several players that are skilled with running the football.”
“Our job right now is to make sure that we’re using all those kids in terms of trying to get everybody a touch.”
After recovering an onside kick on the game’s opening kickoff, Clinton Prairie set the tone almost immediately with a 30-yard rush and score from Wilson.
On the Hot Dog’s first drive of the game, Frankfort turned the ball over on downs after a failed fake punt gave the ball back to Clinton Prairie on the 50-yard line. From that point forward, the Gophers utilized the same rushing attack that had brought them success early on before Steven Dunford found Cayden Davis for a 30-yard reception and score.
Davis ended his night with 124 yards rushing, 32 yards receiving and two scores.
While Frankfort showed that they could hang with Clinton Prairie offensively, it was their inability to finish defensive plays that doomed the Hot Dogs said head coach James Byers.
“Defensively, we were in the right spot a lot of times but we just gotta finish the tackle. The story of the night was getting there and running our feet through and hanging on for tackles. Their kid, 34 did an outstanding job of running the ball all night and we did not do an outstanding job of tackling him,” he said.
A rush and broken tackle in the red zone by Frankfort’s Jakob Burns put the Hot Dogs on the scoreboard for the first time of the night before Wilson and the Gophers matched the score on the ensuing drive.
Burns rushed for 123 yards and two scores while Doug Wood threw for 230 yards and two TDs on 51 percent completion in the Hot Dogs loss.
As Prairie goes into week three with an unblemished record and another county rivalry matchup on the bill against Clinton Central, Schlicher has many positive takeaways regarding his team, none more impressive than their resiliency.
“The most impressive thing for us right now is we have fought through some injuries,” Schlicher said. “We’ve been running the ball really without our starting tailback. … It’s been our ability to adapt, we’ve had to move some kids around.”
“It just speaks to their level of talent that they’re able to do those things. Really overall, we’ve shown that we do have some toughness.”
That toughness shone through on Friday when each time Frankfort found momentum with a scoring drive, the Gophers matched with a TD of their own as they ultimately ran away with a 24 point victory.
Clinton Prairie will host Clinton Central (0-2) on Friday while Frankfort travels to No. 4 in Class 3A Tri-West (1-1) for a Sagamore Conference matchup.