Preview of Dwight's football game with Clifton
A heartbreaking loss in the Sangamon Valley Conference opener last week makes facing this week’s opponent even more difficult for Dwight. The Trojans will at least be home as they take on Clifton at Oughton Field Friday night.
What makes this difficult for Dwight is knowing this is a crucial when looking at the rest of the schedule. Depending on what all the goals were for DTHS when the season started, one that is typical for all programs is making the postseason.
If the Trojans want to seriously entertain any playoff hopes, a win over Clifton will be critical. But beating the 1-2 Comets is not going to be as easy as one might guess.
Clifton is coming off a 44-7 win over Westville, the same team DTHS defeated the week before.
Dwight is coming off a tough loss at Seneca. What this means to the Trojans is going to work with a more determined effort.
“We are changing the way we go about practice,” DTHS head coach Luke Standiford said. “As a coaching staff, we have let too many things slip through the cracks. We told the kids that this week would be the hardest practice they’ll have all year.
“We lost last Friday because we didn’t do the little things right on both ends of the ball. We didn’t pursue to the football and we weren’t sustaining our blocks. Both of those key elements will be enforced a lot throughout this week and the rest of the season.”
It will come to no surprise to those that Clifton can throw the ball. The Comets have been a perennial playoff program because Brian Spooner’s teams can spread the ball around, particularly through the air.
“Clifton has a great quarterback and several really good receivers to throw to,” Standiford said. “They are well coached and they do not make very many mistakes.
“Our defense will need to do a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback and covering the receivers.”
Dwight will need to get its offense in gear, which means Logan Graham and Carson Crouch need to be effective running the ball. In order for this to happen, the line play needs to be solid.
But running the ball isn’t always easy against Clifton.
“They are good at stopping the run and their secondary is filled with really good athletes that can cover the field,” Standiford said. “They have a lot of speed, which is something we don’t have.
“I think our size is what separates our offense from their defense. If we can handle their speed, we will be successful moving the football.”
Turnovers and penalties are typically key in a game like this. Dwight will enter the contest with some kids banged up a bit, but there aren’t any serious injuries.