Dragon football shows off spring gains

Defense rules in intersquad performance

  • Trace Thacker- son looks for running room after a bootleg. - Ken Leinart

  • Josh Graham breaks through for a gain last Thursday against the Dragons’ “Black” squad. - Ken Leinart

  • Justin Webb makes his way through a lane provided by his offensive line during Thursday’s Clinton High Scool spring game. - Ken Leinart

  • Clinton Dragon Coach Randy McKamey - Ken Leinart

  • Dragons with some running room. - Ken Leinart

Thursday afternoon offered no flash or sizzle.

No music blaring on speakers, no cheer sections, no fireworks.

Clinton Head Coach Randy McKamey said it was going to be “low key.”

And it was — to an extent.

“We’re going to whistle you early,” he told his squad of Dragons before Thursday’s spring game. “We don’t want you driving anybody into the ground.

“But we’re going to let you play.”

It was football — the old fashion kind where you line up and see what’s what.

Players were “jawing,” talking smack talk, all with the desire to beat a teammate.

And yes, there were early whistles, but there was a lot of blocking and a whole lot of tackling because, not surprisingly, defense was dominate.

“Defense is usually easier,” McKamey said after the event. “Offense takes some time, but we saw good things.”

There was no lack of enthusiasm.

“They’re excited,” McKamey said of his team. “They worked hard this spring. But it (spring session) was more about teaching and making sure we all stayed healthy.”

The Dragons have a new defensive coordinator who was busy

teaching his charges throughout most of the game: Where to line up in certain situations, what to look for and how to react (especially on the end of the line), and how to read a play unfolding.

His name is Cory Boatman and he has some tools to work with.

The Dragons went through two weeks of spring drills before last Thursday’s showcase. McKamey said it took a little time for Boatman to get his scheme across.

“It was about the fourth day, something like that,” McKamey said. “Then it clicked for them.”

Trevor Linderman played in beast mode; Justin Webb ran like a soul possessed; and Josh Graham and Cole Cleo showed off moves like they were on a dance floor.

Playing two series each — given 10 plays to score from 70 yards — the White squad made the only score of the afternoon, a 60-plus scamper for its quarterback.

To finish the day’s events, the “younger guys” were given five plays each to score from the goal line.

The Dragons fielded about 50 kids Thursday afternoon. Another 20 or so current eighth graders are expected to join the team when summer sessions roll along.

The spring session served as, most importantly, a teaching tool for McKamey. In just his third year at the helm of the Dragons the expectations for his squad increase every year, and not all of those expectations deal directly with what is going to happen on Friday night.

After the contest, he spoke extensively about the responsibilities the players on a Clinton High School team will shoulder; about how with an expected heavy influx of freshman to the Dragons certain things will not be tolerated (bullying, intimidation of underclassmen, etc.).

“We are growing,” he said. “We are changing the culture here.”

Thursday’s spring game saw a lot of that change starting to bloom.