The Governors faced off against the Boys & Girls Kangaroos this past Saturday in what was another disappointing outing for Clinton on the gridiron.
The Kangaroos were victorious, pulling out a 14-6 road win at Clinton.
Clinton surrendered 14 unanswered points in the game as their lone touchdown of the day came at the end of their very first drive. That was courtesy of a 40-yard run from junior running back Jaron Johnson, who combined for 157 yards OF total offense in the loss.
“That first drive, it was wonderful,” Johnson said. “My lineman set up a perfect hole for me and I found it. I hit the hole, and it was nothing but green grass.”
On the Boys & Girls side of things, both of the Kangaroos’ touchdowns were scored on running plays with the eventual game-winner coming late in the third quarter on a 3-yard run by Keson Edwards and a converted two-point try for a 14-6 Kangaroos lead.
Despite their early-game success, the rest of the contest saw less celebration from the Clinton sideline.
“After (our) score, I feel like we got too excited,” Johnson said. “We thought it was going to be like that for the rest of the game.”
John Applebee, the Governors’ first-year head coach, noted this type of loss has become all too common this season.
“It’s getting to be a thing to lose close games for us,” he said. “We’re just trying to do our best to keep fighting.”
“We didn’t execute how we were supposed to,” Johnson said. “That was our downfall.”
Clinton quarterback Brian Ortiz also was critical of the Governors’ latest loss.
“We don’t finish,” Ortiz said. “We started but didn’t finish, that’s all. We slowed down as a team, our offense started slacking. We have to come back together as a group and get ready for next week.”
Applebee said he’ll look to stay positive going forward despite Clinton’s 0-6 record.
“Football comes down to the simplest things, tackling and making plays, that’s it,” Applebee said. “We gotta stay up, keep the enthusiasm. We have to expect to win every week. We have nothing to lose right now. We aren’t making the playoffs, so we’ll just go out and see what we can do each week.”
Johnson had thoughts similar to Applebee’s and vowed to do what he can in practice this week to remedy Clinton’s struggles.
“It’s a team sport, we have to all play together to bring out the ‘W,’” Johnson said. “I’m definitely going to bring up the intensity myself, put leadership into it, and get everybody going.”
Clinton showed glimpses of hope as they tried to piece together their first victory, but it was a number of penalties that kept setting them back.
We “can’t complain about the refs, but there were a lot of penalties today and that’s unacceptable,” Applebee said.
For the 27-year-old, Applebee’s first season as the Governors’ head coach has been a disappointing one.
“It’s been a rough year as far as wins and loses, without a doubt,” he said. “The kids are buying into what we’re doing. They’re practicing hard, they’re doing the right things. We hope that down the road it really pays off.”
Although the team has yet to win a game, there are a lot of promising athletes dotting the Clinton roster, with Ortiz among them.
Jailen Nias, the team’s original starting quarterback, is sidelined with an arm injury, which forced Ortiz to step up and control the offense. Despite the obvious setback, Ortiz has a strong arm and is more than capable of turning a broken play into something special.
Ortiz and Johnson will get their next shot at securing their first win when the Governors travel to Staten Island on Saturday to take on a 4-2 New Dorp team that is coming off an impressive 22-0 shutout victory over New Utrecht.
Kickoff is set for noon.