Clinton football falls to Grand Rapids West Catholic in Division 6 semi
COLDWATER — Clinton dominated Grand Rapids West Catholic in time of possession Saturday in the Division 6 football semifinal.
Tim Kloska dominated the rest of the game as the Falcons ended the Redwolves wonderful season, 33-14.
“They dominated up front,” said head coach Casey Randolph. “Once (Kloska) got a crease he was gone. It really started with them controlling the line of scrimmage. Once he was gone, he’s the fastest one on the field. He was a load, but I think it was more of their domination up front.”
The Air Force commit went for 330 yards and five touchdowns to hand Clinton’s only loss of the season.
Impressive stats given Kloska and the West Catholic offense didn’t get on the field until the second quarter.
The Redwolves won the coin toss and recorded five first downs on the opening drive, getting down to the Falcons’ 4-yard line.
On the first play of the second quarter, Clinton faced fourth and goal, but the snap was fumbled and West Catholic took over on his own 7-yard line.
Following the Falcons touchdown on their opening drive, Clinton drove right back down to the West Catholic 16-yard line and was stopped on fourth-and-1.
“In championship football you’ve got to be able to punch it in,” Randolph said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunities you have and we had two phenomenal opportunities. They did enough to stop us and keep us out of the endzone. Hats off to them.”
Kloska then scored his second touchdown, a 67-yard burst on third-and-four, to make it 12-0. The Falcons led 12-0 going into the half and continued to add on, going into the fourth quarter up 26-0.
Senior Bradyn Lehman plunged in for a 3-yard touchdown to make it 26-6. After Kloska scored his fifth touchdown, the Redwolves drove down the field with sophomore Andy Fair finding a pair of seniors in Nate Smith for an 11-yard touchdown and Max Stitt for the 2-point conversion to make it 33-14.
Lehman, Smith and Stitt, along with fellow seniors Zak Shadley (who rushed for 96 yards), Brandon Felts, Jake Gilson, Trevor Lakatos, Freddy Wade and Zach Duford, helped lead Clinton to a Lenawee County Athletic Association title, third-straight district title and second regional title in three seasons.
“They were truly brothers,” Fair said. “I’m related to Shadley, I grew up with the Felts and been with them every step of the way, Bradyn Lehman is like a brother and I’ve grown close to him. Stitt was an awesome leader and great guy. I love him to death Nate Smith is one of those guys who never stops working he’s always positive.
“Trevor, Duford, Gilson and Wade, they just had the biggest heart. The class in total was amazing.”
While Clinton will be graduating some impactful seniors, the Redwolves are welcoming back a number of key contributors who will look to keep the program’s winning tradition in motion.
Athletes like Fair, Nik Shadley, Coy Perry, Cole Breitenwischer, Joey Preston and Jacob Felts are all returning after having strong seasons this year.
“My heart goes to those seniors because they left it all out there,” Randolph said. “I think they are better men because of their experience here with our program. Losing even one senior is a lot. You hope the ones behind them learn and grow as men and fill in and keep the program going.”
Fair was the last player off the field for the Redwolves as he was taking in the final moments of the season.
He’s surely counting down the days to lead Clinton back to the semifinal and going for a better outcome.
“This is going to be part of my fuel,” Fair said. “This hurts, it hurts.”