Central Decatur racked up 448 rushing yards, including 206 from Dalton Gilbert, on its way to a 58-22 victory over Clarke here Friday night.
Central Decatur improves to 3-1 for the season, while Clarke drops to 3-2.
“We wanted to stop Dalton Gilbert and make someone else on their team beat us,” Clarke head coach Michael Kline said. “And we were not able to accomplish that. Their guys up front did a pretty nice job of making holes, but I think the biggest thing was their running backs ran hard, and we failed to tackle them.”
Gilbert scored three touchdowns on the ground, including one from 45 yards out. Senior Bryson Durrow added 104 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground, including a 39-yarder, while also hauling in a 63-yard touchdown catch.
Junior Wyman Reed contributed 53 yards and one touchdown to the Cardinal rushing attack, while senior Tyler Williams added 48 yards and one touchdown.
“If we could have stopped them a little bit defensively, it would have been a good game,” Kline said. “A lot of times, we were in a good position to tackle them, we just didn’t make the tackle.”
Kline did see encouragement from the play of freshman Rich Wilkins, who made his second straight start at quarterback with starter Dalton Sweeney out with mononucleosis, and from young running backs Jeremy Jones and Junior Morales.
A week of practice as the starting quarterback made a world of difference for Wilkins, who had only found out hours before kickoff against Albia he would be thrust into the starting role.
“I thought he threw the ball with more confidence,” Kline said. “We worked on him having more of a sense of urgency and getting back deeper in his drop so he could step into the throw. He did throw four interceptions, but two of them were on fourth down, so it acted as a punt for us, so I thought he played a lot better game.”
Wilkins finished the game 7-of-19 passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns — a 34-yarder to Dylan Diveney and a 66-yarder to Logan Weers.
Kline moved Weers back to wide receiver, where he had experience playing prior to this year, opening up a spot at running back.
Freshman Jeremy Jones earned the starting nod, and carried the ball nine times for 10 yards before sophomore Junior Morales got a look at the position.
Morales finished the game with six carries for 68 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run.
“We moved Logan back to wide receiver, which he’d played in previous years. We really wanted another threat on the opposite side of Dylan,” Kline said. “So that gave (Jones and Morales) a shot to carry the ball quite a bit. Junior had quite a bit of success late in the game, so that was encouraging to see.
“We played both of them in the JV game (Monday) to see which one we want to go with on Friday. I think our future at running back is good, we just need to get them to hang onto the ball.”
Clarke returns to District 6 action on Friday at Davis County (3-1), with freshman action starting at 4:45 p.m. and varsity action to follow. Davis County’s only loss of the season came in a 17-7 ballgame at Albia on Friday.
“I think we’re going to have to play much better defensively and tackle well,” Kline said. “It’s going to take a complete game.”
Central Decatur travels to Van Meter for Class 1A District 7 action.