Clover Park hangs on with last minute stop

Brandon Pritchett spent most of the game against Fife helping his team build a lead on offense, but in the end it was his defensive work that saved the win for Clover Park. With under 20 seconds remaining and the Trojans inside the Warriors’ 10-yard line looking for the winning score, Pritchett sacked quarterback Andrew Waltner and caused a fumble that his team recovered, preserving a 28-25 win for Clover Park in the league opener for both teams on Sept. 14.

“The last few years they’ve gotten us,” said Clover Park head coach Jon Randall, noting the intensity of the series since he took over in 2003. “They’re just good, hard-nosed and they’re well-coached. They’re going to come at you. You know that you’re going to be in a fight. I’m just proud of our kids, man.”

After a 71-yard return on the game’s opening kickoff by Fife’s Dylan Fisher, the Warriors stopped the Trojans on fourth down on their own nine-yard line and proceeded to march 91 yards in 12 plays, capped by Pritchett’s nine-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0. It was the start of a big game for Pritchett, who finished with 22 carries for 110 yards and two scores.

“We’ve only got seven offensive linemen right now,” Randall said. “Those guys rotate in, and they took care of business. Brandon stuck it up in there, but it’s (because of) the linemen. The line is making those holes and making it go.”

After an onside kick recovery, quarterback Keila Pritchard hit Brady Daly for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Warriors up 14-0 with just under five minutes left in the first quarter. The Trojans got a key score just before the half, launching an 11-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by Waltner’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Austin Lamarr with just over 30 seconds remaining.

The Warriors went up 22-7 on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Pritchard to Daly early in the third, but the Trojans answered right back with a three-yard touchdown run from Dominic Dutra to cut it to 22-13.

“I do like our fight, I like our grit, I like that we played tough in the second half,” said Fife head coach Kent Nevin. “It was things like that that show that we have character.”

Pritchett responded again for Clover Park when he broke free for a 39-yard score to make it 28-13 just three plays later. Waltner then hit tight end Kaleb McGary for a 40-yard touchdown on the Trojans’ next possession to cut it to 28-19, but the senior quarterback threw interceptions on Fife’s next two drives to stall the momentum.

After Fife recovered a fumble on the next drive, Waltner rebounded to hit McGary for a 10-yard score to make it 28-25 with just over six minutes remaining. The Trojans then stopped the Warriors on fourth down on the next drive and drove 66 yards in 10 plays, but were thwarted by Pritchett’s sack in the end.

Waltner led the Trojans by going 24-for-34 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, and Lamarr had four catches for 118 yards. Pritchard was 7-for-14 for 153 yards and two touchdowns for Clover Park.

“This is huge for our boys,” Randall said. “We’ve conditioned them hard, they’re working hard and now they’re getting a little bit of the payback. When you get that taste, then the hard work doesn’t seem so bad.”

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