Clintonville falls to Fox Valley Lutheran in opener

Truckers show more promise after halftime

Greg Bates, Leader Correspondent

It was night-and-day performance from last season’s game.

A year ago, the Clintonville football team was embarrassed 75-0 at Fox Valley Lutheran, with the Foxes offense doing whatever it wanted to against the Truckers.

This year, it was a different story in the season opener for both squads.

Fox Valley scored on its first four drives, but Clintonville’s defense stepped up in the second half and forced two turnovers. Fox Valley, which played its home game at Kaukauna High School because its field was ripped up, went on to defeat Clintonville 41-7. But it was a great showing by the players in Tom Burkhalter’s first game as the Truckers coach Thursday.

“It was a heck of a lot closer than that score said,” Burkhalter said. “I’m very proud of my guys. They worked their tails. They made what I feel is the best quarterback in the conference work his tail off.”

“They’re a much better team this year,” Fox Valley coach Adam Frey said. “They’re much improved, their O-line plays great. They’ve got some nice players on offense and made some nice plays on defense. I thought they had a good scheme against us on both sides.”

Clintonville, which was outgained in yardage 477-158, had an improved effort after halftime. The Truckers forced a punt on the Foxes’ first drive and the next possession Isak Jaensch picked off a pass in Fox Valley territory.

After five straight runs by Bailey Tate, who finished with 86 rushing yards, sophomore Dylan Arnold took a handoff and knifed his way through the middle of the defense and raced 23 yards for a touchdown.

“We’ve got a big-play guy in Dylan,” Burkhalter said. “When he gets in the open, it’s tough to catch him.

“Bailey Tate is a football player. If you watch the film, he’s dragging four, five, six guys. And our O-line gained so much confidence in the second half.”

Clintonville linebacker Hunter Lohrengel scooped up a fumble on Fox Valley’s next possession. However, the offense couldn’t capitalize, stalling at the 8.

Fox Valley scored on all four of its first-half drives as quarterback Drew Reader flung the ball all over the field. Reader capped a 13-play drive on the Foxes’ first possession with a 7-yard touchdown run. Reader then threw touchdown passes in three consecutive series.

Reader finished his night 20-for-32 for 366 yards and four scores. Jakob Ulman caught 15 passes for 250 yards and three TDs.

Burkhalter is ready to have his players build off the success of the opening game as Clintonville travels to Freedom next Friday night.

“We focus on the positives and we clean up the negatives,” Burkhalter said. “And there really was a lot more positives than negatives in this game. I know our guys aren’t happy with a loss and I’m OK with them not being happy but they’ve got to be proud of the effort. Man, they gave everything they had and left it on this field. That’s all I can ask of them.”

Clintonville 0 0 7 0

Fox Valley Lutheran 8 20 0 13

First quarter

FVL: Reader 7-yard run (Reader run), 4:25.

Second quarter

FVL: Guenterberg 50-yard pass from Reader (pass failed), 11:51.

FVL: Ulman 18-yard pass from Reader (pass failed), 7:32.

FVL: Ulman 26-yard pass from Reader (pass failed), 0:26.

Third quarter

C: Arnold 23-yard run (Seefeldt kick), 2:11.

Fourth quarter

FVL: Ulman 66-yard pass from Reader (pass failed), 5:22.

FVL: Dobberstein 7-yard run (Krause kick), 0:12.