CLINTON — Clinton football coach Zachary Jones said before the season began he wanted to make sure his players had fun, and the Warriors did just that in their season opener on Saturday.
The Warriors defeated the Adirondack 34-6 in non-league play at Stadium Field.
A scoreless first quarter put both defenses to the test. It stayed that way until early in the second quarter as senior Clinton quarterback Tanner Deveans, a four-year starter, scored the first of four touchdowns on the afternoon with a 9-yard keeper up the middle. The extra point off the foot of senior Joshua Wilcox put the Warriors up 7-0.
Adirondack answered right back on the next possession. Marching down the field on an eight-play drive. Once the Wildcats were in the Clinton red zone, Adirondack senior quarterback Lanse Allen rolled out to his left, taking the Clinton defense with him, only to spin and throw a lofty 16-yard play-action pass off his back foot into the waiting hands of Wildcats wide receiver Alex Gaylord. All by himself in the opposite flat, at the goal line, Gaylord strolled into the end zone for Adirondack’s only touchdown of the day. An unsuccessful two-point conversion kept the score 7-6 Clinton.
Clinton started the ensuing possession deep in its own territory, but Warriors running back junior Aiden Walter, who had 12 carries for 52 yards on the day, chewed up the field, and the clock, slicing through the Wildcats defense like a man among boys.
With just under 12 seconds on the clock in the half and Clinton on the Adirondack 20-yard line, Deveans dropped back to pass, rolling out to his right, firing a frozen rope to receiver junior Kole Davignon.
Gaylord, playing tight defense, tipped the pass, but it fell into Davignon’s hands just as the Warrior receiver crossed the goal line for Clinton’s second touchdown of the half, 14-6.
Jones said he was pleased with his team’s first half.
“We started the half really well, we ended the half really well,” he said. “Not everything of course. We are going to fix some stuff, stay on our blocks a little bit longer, but they are giving us exactly what we thought we’d see. Now we just need to capitalize.”
And capitalize they did.
The rest of the afternoon was all the Warriors, and as the skies over Clinton clouded up, so did the hopes of the visiting Wildcats.
The initials “T.D.” not only stand for touchdown, but also, Tanner Deveans, and on this day the two were synonymous.
Deveans went on to score in the third quarter for a third time on a 13-yard run. Wilcox’s kick made the score to 21-6.
And a little bit later the Warriors got some help from Clinton junior Carter Hindering who from deep in Clinton territory took the handoff and scampered around the left side of the line of scrimmage for an 81-yard gain all the way to the house to put another six-points on the board. A failed kick kept the score 27-6.
In the final period Deveans again on the keeper ran a 55-yard sweep around the weak side to daylight putting the game forever out of reach for the boys from Booneville.
Deveans finished the day 3-for-7 for 46 yards passing and a touchdown. He also had 16 carries for 203 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Hindering had three touches for a total of 88 yards.
Senior Zach Ellingson had one carry for 23 yards and Davignon caught one pass for 20 yards and the touchdown. “You know, we really came out in the second half,” Jones said. “I had a lot of trust in my guys. Tanner ran the offense, we made some good half-time adjustments. The coaches knew what we had to change to get things done, we rolled with it, we attacked the perimeter and we were able to put a couple in the end zone.”
Adirondack coach Rob Hennessey said his team is a work in progress. “We had to see where our start point was today,” Hennessey said. “Obviously we have to get a little bit further than we thought, so we have a lot work ahead of us.” Adirondack visits Westmoreland/Oriskany next Saturday at 1 p.m.
For Clinton, it was a great way to start the season.
“We needed to start this way, I think it was necessary and I think we deserve it,” Deveans said.
“We been in the weight room all summer and coach put out a statement out there and we were all on board with it. We are going to turn Clinton football around, we are going to create a culture here, and today is step one.”
Clinton travels to Little Falls next Saturday to play the Mounties in s Class C South game set to start at 1 p.m.