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Defense fuels Clarke victory over Saydel

DES MOINES — The Clarke Indian defense held Saydel to just 152 total yards in a 14-6 win here Aug. 31.

The Indians stand at 3-0 heading into Friday’s district opener at Albia, who is 2-0 after winning 7-0 at Centerville Aug. 31.

“I thought our defense played well,” head coach Michael Kline said. “Our d-line, especially Drew Wishon, got a great push up front allowing our linebackers to make a lot of tackles close to or behind the line of scrimmage.

“Our defensive coaches did a nice job of making adjustments. They ran some sweeps pretty successfully for about two or three times, and then we made some adjustments and shut that down.”

Wishon had been playing on both the offensive and defensive lines during Clarke’s first two victories, but played only on the defensive line in the win against Saydel.

“We tried some different stuff on o-line, so he got a chance to play just defense for us,” Kline said. “Sometimes he was getting double teamed and still driving blockers back into the backfield.”

The biggest play of the game, however, came on special teams late in the third quarter with Clarke leading 7-6.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Indians drove the ball down to the Eagle 30-yard line before going backwards on three straight plays, forcing the Indians to punt the ball.

Saydel responded by driving back to midfield before being forced to punt.

Sophomore Junior Morales came up with a big punt block, giving the Indians momentum and a short field to work with, setting up the final touchdown of the game.

Logan Weers punched the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard run to put Clarke up 14-6 after the extra point from Dylan Diveney.

Clarke opened the scoring in the game on a 4-yard touchdown run from Skyler Lane early in the second quarter, before Saydel quarterback Jake Sherman threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Freeman with about four minutes left in the first half.

“They threw it to (Freeman) and he broke about three or four tackles and ran it the rest of the way for a touchdown,” Kline said.

Kline said offensively, his team suffered some dropoff from the first two weeks of the season, most of which was because of penalties.

“Our gameplan, offensively, was to not change a whole lot, but defensively be a lot more stout against the run,” Kline said. “Offensively, I felt we had a dropoff this week. The dropoff was because of penalties — we kept shooting ourselves in the foot.

“We had a lot of penalties. I’d say probably close to 15 penalties against us in the game. We need to eliminate those big time.”

The Indians will need to eliminate those penalties in a hurry, with the district opener coming up Friday in Albia.

Albia features a balanced running attack and a dangerous wide receiver in Zach Hugen, who caught eight passes for 210 yards in Albia’s season opening 27-20 win over Fairfield.

“I’ve watched one of their games so far. They’re definitely a well-coached team,” Kline said. “I think the key to us making it a good game is going to be our defense showing up like they did last Friday. If they can keep us in the game, hopefully our offense can put up some more points.”

Action kicks off at 4:45 p.m. Friday with the freshman game, followed by varsity action.

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