Clayton has a streak it would like to end tonight. Suffice it to say, the Yellowjackets have their work cut out.
Clayton hosts three-time defending champion Fort Sumner in today’s 7 p.m. Class 1A state championship game. The Yellowjackets bring a 10-1 record into the contest, but their only loss was a 35-0 at Fort Sumner on Sept. 5.
The Yellowjackets have lost in six consecutive appearances in title games dating to 1974. Fort Sumner beat Clayton 14-3 two years ago in the 1A final.
The Foxes (10-1) have dominated 1A all season. The Foxes, whose only loss was a 7-6 decision to Class 2A semifinalist Santa Rosa, had beaten the other five 1A playoff teams by an average score of 52-3 during the regular season, then last week crushed McCurdy 60-0 in the semifinals.
All of that would seem to make it hard for the Foxes to stay focused.
“That’s been really tough, but not this week,” first-year coach Matt Moyer said. “We try to game-plan for the ‘what if?’ situation.”
Except for the Fort Sumner game, Clayton has scored at least 20 points in every game this season.
Fort Sumner has given up only 41 points all season — the Foxes have scored more than that in seven games — and Moyer noted that the only meaningful score against his squad was in the Santa Rosa loss.
Against Clayton, Moyer said the Foxes must contain the Yellowjackets’ running game and be aware of pitch plays that result in deep passes.
“Our game plan is to try to shut down their run,” Moyer said. “Offensively, our focus has been to try to the things we do. We want to try to play mistake-free.”
Moyer said the team has felt some pressure trying to defend its title, but has tried to shift the focus to the task at hand.
Fort Sumner goes in relatively healthy, Moyer said. Senior guard-defensive end Pacen Marez is hopeful of playing after missing time with a shoulder injury, while senior running back-safety Anthony Griffin should be ready despite about with the flu.