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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Cloverdale roughed up at Cascade, succumbs 78-15

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cloverdale junior Wade Warren return a late kickoff 83-yard for game's final touchdown. [Order this photo]
CLAYTON -- To call Cloverdale's 2012 season a tough one would be an understatement. Entering Friday's conference game against Cascade, the Clovers were down 13 players from its Aug. 1 roster, eight of which were starters.

Things didn't improve against the Cadets.

Cloverdale suffered a 78-15 loss at the hands of Cascade, but more importantly, it saw more plays succumb to injuries during the loss. Although his team was on the wrong end of a high scoring contest, Cloverdale head coach John Butler was proud with how his kids played and the heart they showed by not giving up even though the game was well out of hand.

"The kids have bought into the type of football that I want them to play in Cloverdale," Butler said. "Unfortunately we don't have the bodies in terms of weight room experience, but the kids approach the game the right way.

"They play hard, they play fair and they play right and they do the best they can with what they're capable of doing physically. They don't stop. They simply do not stop. If we could get their bodies caught up with the emotional side of it, we'd be real, real good."

Following a Cloverdale three and out, Cascade went to its bag of tricks on its first play of the game.

Cascade quarterback Colin Smith dropped back and fired a pass to Zach Batts in the middle of the field. As Cloverdale defenders converged, Batts tossed the ball to a streaking Eric Bobadilla to complete a hook and lateral play that went for 40 yards and resulted in the game's first touchdown with 10:12 in the first quarter.

On the Clovers' next possession, Andrew Howard rushed the ball twice for a total of minus-two yards. Facing third and 12, senior signal caller Justin Wilson went to the line and at the last minute changed up the play after surveying the defense.

Wilson dropped back and connected with Wade Warren. Warren zigzagged his way through the Cascade defense until the only thing between him and the endzone was an open field. The play went from 83 yards and tied the game up at 7-all with 8:30 left in the first quarter.

Cascade added another touchdown and a field goal to take a 17-7 advantage just prior to the end of the first quarter, but those points would be the least of the Cloverdale's concern when the quarter ended.

With 12 seconds left in the opening quarter, Wilson connected with receiver Brody Pfaff for an eight-yard gain and a first down. But what should have been a good moment for the Clovers, turned out to be another in a long line of significant injuries this season.

Pfaff stayed down after a solid hit and was in obvious pain. After the trainers looked at him, he was carted off the field with what is being describe as a significant lower leg injury.

Over the course of the next two and a half quarters, Cascade scored 61 unanswered points to build a 78-7 lead in the fourth quarter. With its team up by a large margin, the Cadets continued to go to the air to add insult to injury.

Cloverdale had a bright spot late in the contest that showed that despite being down, they were not giving up.

With 4:20 left in the game, Warren took the kickoff and cozied up behind his lead blockers. Warren came to almost an complete stop as he watch his blockers do their job and then the opportunity presented itself, Warren was off to the races.

Warren cut right and found daylight along the Cascade side of the field. When the play was over, Warren trotted across the goal line to complete an 83-yard touchdown return. Backup quarterback Mark Osmialowski found the endzone to complete the two-point conversion for the final touchdown of the night.

Butler spoke after the game about the impact injuries has had on his squad and how it's affecting the players still in the trenches.

"It's tough. You have to be very careful with how you practice," Butler said. "We went from a 55-kid football team with a two platoon concept, conditioning to fit two platoons and literally within 14 days we're down to your basic 1A iron man football conditioning

"This week conditioning took a toll on them. We try to ride the line in terms of too much and not enough."

Just this week the Clovers lost Johnny Smith for Friday's game when the junior suffered a gash on his forehead and nose that required stitches.

"If there's such a thing as bad luck, it's landed on us. But the kids keep plugging away," Butler said.

Things won't get any easier for the Clovers either. With four games left, they will play each of the opposing county school as well as a tough Owen Valley team.

Butler said his team will take it one week at a time and game plan as if both teams are 0-0 because he knows the true test comes at the end of the season.

"We look at the whole regular season, from scrimmage to week nine, as a 10-week preseason," Butler said. "Because the kids know that one of the reasons I came here was because of our schedule. If we can compete in our conference, we feel our tournament will take care of itself.

"The kids remember that and when times get hard we remind them and they keep plugging away."

Cloverdale will host South Putnam Friday at 7 p.m. The game will also be the Clovers' homecoming.

Complete game stats will be available in Monday's edition of the Banner Graphic.

At Cascade

Cloverdale 7 0 0 8 -- 15

Cascade 7 20 34 7 -- 78