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Winnebago stops Amboy in Jr. Tackle title game

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 9th, 2012

Amboy running back Robby Goatcher avoids a tackle while picking up some yards against Winnebago. (News photo by Jason Hickman)

WINNEBAGO - The eighth grade football team from Amboy hit the road on Oct. 6 to play in its final game of the season for a chance to bring home first place in the I-5 Conference, but the Clippers suffered a 29-0 loss to Winnebago.

A year removed from a third place finish as seventh graders, this year's eighth graders finished the regular season with a record of 7-1, and faced undefeated Winnebago (8-0) in the final game.

Cold and windy conditions didn't seem to faze the young Clippers early as they started their opening drive at the 43-yard line and found themselves inside the 'Bago red zone seven plays later, but Winnebago's defense stiffened and held Amboy on a fourth and long at the 15-yard line to end the threat.

Little did the loyal Clipper fans know that would be the best drive of the night for Amboy as Winnebago took control from that point as it built up a double-digit first-half lead on its way to the shutout victory.

Finishing off that opening drive with a score would have changed some of the momentum in the game, but Amboy coach Ed Stewart said it is hard to tell if it would have changed the game's outcome.

"I think it would have been a big confidence builder," said Stewart. "Winnebago had so much team speed that I don't know if it would have changed much about the game though. They were a very good team."

Amboy, which averaged just over 25 points a game and giving up just over 10, found times difficult with the young Indians on both sides of the ball.

"We moved the ball a little bit against them, but at some point they shut us down," said Stewart. "We were just not used to playing a team with that much speed. They also could run and throw the ball, which make them hard to match up against defensively."

The young Indians moved the ball into Amboy territory after the turnover on downs with a solid running attack, and broke free from 32 yards out for their first score of the game and a quick 8-0 advantage.

Following a Clipper punt, Winnebago took its third play from scrimmage 84 yards for a second score and increased the lead to 16-0 early in the second.

The Indians recovered on on-side kick on the ensuing kick-off, and they turned that into their third score of the half on a 17-yard pass to put them up 22-0.

Amboy followed with another solid drive, starting at the 38-yard line and moving the ball into Indian territory on six plays, but the drive came up short as the Indians went into the break leading 22-0.

The Clipper defense gave up a few big plays to open the second half, but stood strong on a fourth down just past midfield to give the ball back to the offense.

Amboy, once again, had a solid start moving into Indian territory on seven plays, but just couldn't sustain the drive as it turned the ball back over to the Indians.

The teams traded fumbles before Winnebago scored from 28 yards out to account for the final score.

Despite the loss in the final game, the young Clippers walked off the field with their heads held high after bringing home second place.

"The kids had a great season," said Stewart. "After finishing in third place last year they made the goal of getting to the championship this season. They did that. They did a very good job this season and should be proud of what they accomplished."

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