Clintondale football loaded in backfield

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 13, 2019

 Clinton Township Clintondale’s Jerry Whitehead looks to break outside during a Sept. 6 game against Warren Fitzgerald. Dragons coach Dave Schindler likes the focus of the team’s offensive attack to be on the run game.

Clinton Township Clintondale’s Jerry Whitehead looks to break outside during a Sept. 6 game against Warren Fitzgerald. Dragons coach Dave Schindler likes the focus of the team’s offensive attack to be on the run game.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — For ages, “run the ball” and “stop the run” have been the staples of football teams at every level.

That has changed for some, as squads move more toward the passing game and the running back has become a bit devalued.

That isn’t the case inside the Clinton Township Clintondale football program.

Longtime Dragons football coach Dave Schindler makes it a point to focus on running the ball and stopping the run. On the offensive side, Clintondale utilizes a bevy of running backs with a strategy of wearing down opposing defenses.

This season is no different. Through two games, the Dragons have rushed for more than 300 yards per game.

“We always have guys who can hit the hole and break a big play,” Schindler said following a Sept. 6 game against Warren Fitzgerald — a 38-36 Fitzgerald win. “You use the run game to beat up defenses. We want the opposing team to be breathing pretty hard late in games.”

This season, Clintondale (1-1 at press time) has five players who share the load.

Senior quarterback Darrell Walker pilots the offense. Sophomore running back Jerry Whitehead, junior back Markail Owens-Lacey and senior back Elijah Muhammad, along with sophomore backup quarterback Eddie Higgenbotham, give Clintondale a strong backfield.

Whitehead leads the team with three touchdowns.

“They’re tough to match up against when they get a few of those guys going,” Warren Fitzgerald coach Gary Skop said after the Sept. 6 matchup. “They’ll be tough the rest of the way.”

Clintondale hopes to rebound from last year’s 3-6 campaign — a season that saw the Dragons record their lowest win total since 2005. Since 1999, Clintondale has never missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

“It’s early, so we’re going to keep working,” Schindler said. “We’ve still got a lot to work on and a lot of areas we can improve in. We’re just going to keep working hard.”

Clintondale’s next game is against Center Line High at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home.

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