Clarke fell 42-7 on its homecoming night here on Sept. 28 to Class 2A District 6 opponent Davis County.
The loss drops the Indians to 1-5 for the season and 0-2 in District 6. Davis County, meanwhile, improves to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in district play.
Clarke kicked an onside kick to open the game, and the kick didn’t travel the necessary 10 yards for the Indians to be able to recover it.
But, a Davis County player tried to scoop it up and score with the ball, but couldn’t corrall it, allowing Clarke to hop on the football.
After that, however, Davis County controlled the game with its ground game.
“We just didn’t stop their run game,” Clarke head coach Michael Kline said. “They ran the ball all over us in the first half. We did a much better job stopping it in the second half, which is why they only scored seven offensive points in the second half. But it was too little, too late for our defense.”
The Indians picked off Davis County quarterback Justin Utt three times. Dalton Sweeney had two interceptions and Gunner Sergeant-Elben had another.
“When they threw the ball, good things happened for us,” Kline said.
Once again, the downfall for the Clarke offense was consistency.
Kline said his team had success moving the ball, but often followed a good play with a play for negative yardage to put the offense behind the chains.
“We just weren’t consistent enough running the ball,” Kline said. “That’s kind of what it’s been from the beginning of the year.”
Kline said Dustan Van Loon ran the ball hard for the Indians. Van Loon finished with 27 yards rushing. Sweeney led the Indians with 38 rushing yards.
“I think that was their game plan, was they were going to stop Dalton and make someone else beat them,” Kline said. “We had some close calls on some deep balls, but we just couldn’t connect.”
Sweeney finished the game 5-of-13 passing for 85 yards and one touchdown to Drake Wedel.
Wedel finished the game with three catches for 41 yards and the three-yard score, Clarke’s only touchdown of the game. Gable Reece caught two passes for 44 yards.
“Gable had two catches and Drake did a nice job of catching and had a couple of nice runs after the catches to get some yards for us,” Kline said.
Once the game was out of reach for the Indians, Kline opted to give sophomore Rich Wilkins a try at quarterback.
Wilkins saw plenty of playing time last year after Sweeney went down with mononucleosis, but hadn’t had a chance to play quarterback at the varsity level yet this year.
“Late in the game, when it looked like we were going to have to throw the ball, we figured we’d give Rich a try,” Kline said. “He throws a nice ball. He showed that last year, and he hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time this year. We thought we’d put Rich in there and see what happens.”
Wilkins finished 3 of 11 for 20 yards, and was picked off three times.
Defensively, Gordon Witt finished with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Van Loon and Jake Leeps each recorded eight tackles. Sweeney, in addition to his two interceptions, finished with seven tackles.
Kline praised the play of defensive lineman Connor Spencer, who finished with three total tackles, including one solo tackle for a loss.
But, the straight ahead running attack of Davis County’s Spencer Bassett and Justin Utt, who combined for 249 rushing yards and five touchdowns, proved to be difficult for Clarke to stop.
And with a road contest at Bondurant-Farrar this Friday, that’s an area of the game Clarke will need to improve on in a hurry.
The Bluejays average 260 yards rushing per game.