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Clintonville shut out in Freedom

Truckers drop to 0-2

By Erik Buchinger

Clintonville football was defeated by Freedom 35-0 on the road Friday night, as the Truckers dropped to 0-2 this season.

Truckers’ first-year head coach Tom Burkhalter said he was disappointed the way the team started the game but put blame on himself.

“We came out flat, and that’s on me,” Burkhalter said. “We’ll get better as we go. As a coaching staff, we’ll get better at this. We’re getting there as a team turning this around.”

Two games into his head coaching career, Burkhalter said he is excited to see how his team performs throughout the season.

“It’s a lot of fun. Our team wants to get better, and that’s more than half the battle,” Burkhalter said. “We’re learning how to compete, and I’m very excited for the athletes we have and the opportunity to compete in this awesome conference.”

Clintonville's Talon Streich chases down the runner and finishes with a tackle in the first half. Erik Buchinger photo

Freedom scored four touchdowns in the first half to take a 28-0 lead going into halftime before adding another touchdown in the fourth quarter to ahead 35-0 to start the running clock the remainder of the game.

“We’ve got to work on our O-line and D-line, and that helps every other level,” Burkhalter said.

Clintonville quarterback Sean Finger completed 10 of 17 passes for 44 yards with an interception that happened on the last play of the game.

Clintonville’s Gerald Wood led the Truckers in receiving with five catches for 35 yards.

Dylan Arnold ran the ball six times for 21 yards, Brock Smejkal had two rushes for 12 yards and Bailey Tate had 11 yards on eight carries.

“Bailey Tate runs hard,” Burkhalter said. “When there’s no hole, Bailey seems to still get 2-3 yards, and I don’t know how. He just works hard, and I don’t know if you’ll find a tougher runner.”

Burkhalter said he was happy with Hunter Allender’s performance on defense.

“We had a couple younger kids step up like Hunter Allender, who took a year off from football last year,” Burkhalter said. “He really played well and is an extinctive football player. I’m really excited about the way he takes in the game and learns.”

Burkhalter said his message to the team was to be ready to play.

“The message was we can’t come out flat. We’re not at that level, and we’re not good enough to do that yet,” Burkhalter said. “We need to make sure we’re ready and excited and ready for the next play even when we get hit in the mouth. We just need to get that pep in our step right away and know that we can do this, which we can.”

The Truckers will play their home opener on Friday next week at 7 p.m. against Denmark.

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