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Second half sinks Clarke

The Clarke Indians built a 21-6 lead, before seeing that lead shrink to 21-19 at halftime over Saydel here on Friday.

And then Saydel took over in the second half, as the Eagles went on to hand the Indians their second straight loss in a 47-26 game.

“Overall, I thought we played more disciplined than the first two weeks, we just didn’t play a complete game,” Clarke head coach Michael Kline said. “We played well the first half, and did not play well in the second half.”

In building the early lead, Clarke took advantage of several Saydel turnovers.

The Eagles fumbled on the first play of the game, and Clarke took advantage with a touchdown. After the kickoff, Saydel fumbled on the third play, which led to another Clarke touchdown.

But Saydel took advantage of a Clarke turnover and penalties to get right back into the game.

Eagle quarterback Clayton Sommers proved difficult to stop, putting up 226 yards rushing on 20 carries with two touchdowns. He only complete 2-of-7 passes, but both completions went for touchdowns.

“Their quarterback, they ran a dive play and we did a great job of tackling the dive man, and then he’d pull it and run behind,” Kline said. “We did not do a good job of tackling the quarterback. He’s a quick kid, shifty, but we didn’t make enough plays in the second half.”

The Indians dealt with bad field position the entire third quarter, but still had an opportunity to drive down the field with 8:00 left in the fourth quarter, trailing just 32-27.

But, Saydel picked off a Dalton Sweeney pass on the first play of the drive, and took control of the ball at the Clarke 10-yard line. Saydel eventually punched the ball into the end zone and later added another insurance touchdown.

The Indians picked up 237 yards on the ground in the game, led by Sweeney’s 119 yards.

But Clarke only accounted for 43 yards through the air on three completions.

“Dalton Sweeney had a good game,” Kline said. “He did a great job for us running the ball. We just need to figure out whether it’s throwing or catching, we need to figure out how to have a threat throwing the ball so we can continue to run well.”

Junior Morales added 63 yards on the ground, while Dustan Van Loon picked up 37 and Dayne Ruth finished with 20 yards rushing.

Defensively, the Indians were led by junior Gordon Witt’s 10 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Sweeney added eight tackles and Gable Reece finished with seven.

“Gordon Witt played hard,” Kline said. “He led the team in tackles. He also recovered two fumbles. One of them, he literally just ripped the ball out of the kid’s hands.”

Clarke, now 1-2 for the season, opens Class 2A District 6 play Friday at home against Class 2A No. 4-ranked Albia (2-0).

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us,” Kline said. “No one expects anything out of us in this game. They don’t expect us to come out and beat Albia, but having them on our home field, that’s why you play the game. Weirder things have happened in sports. Hopefully we can improve on things we’re working on in practice this week and have a good show.”

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