The Clarke football team brought to a close its 2017 football campaign at the team’s banquet on Sunday.
The following players earned awards and distinction.
All-district academic: Coel Reece
Offensive MVP: Jon Bair
Most Improved Player: Jacob Smith
Defensive MVP: Riley Domina
2nd team all-district: Jon Bair (RB), Riley Domina (DB), Amani Fry (LB), Jacob Smith (DL)
Honorable mention all-district: Byron Rivera, Conner Deutsch, Taven Floyd, Dalton Stubbe, Nick McVey
One Tribe Award: Nick McVey
Seniors: Ryan Bolbolz, Byron Rivera, Nick McVey.
Coach Duane Matthess spoke with the OST after the final game about the 2017 season.
Injuries hampered an already young team, which forced many inexperienced Indians to step into starting varsity roles in 2017.
“We’ve obviously had to play some younger kids this year through the whole season,” Matthess said.
Matthess was more than pleased to see players step up time and again.
Mistakes plagued the young Indians early on, but Clarke cut down on mistakes in multiple facets of the game as the season wore on.
“You’ve seen a trend in the last half of the season that our turnovers have run down,” Matthess said. “Part of that is we’ve never really developed a solid passing attack. We did get better in that. That was an area that we saw improvement in. Our fumbles had gone down, our turnovers had gone down.”
Despite scoring only 6 points in the varsity finale against Eddyville-Blakesbug-Fremont, the Indians did put up a season-high 204 yards of offense.
The season came to an end in a 46-14 junior varsity win for the Indians over Martensdale-St. Marys. It was Clarke’s second JV win of the season, as the Indians also defeated Panorama.
The freshman team defeated Saydel to start the season, and benefited from getting in game action in freshman, JV and varsity games.
Young linemen saw extended action for the Indians, which leaves Matthess excited about what getting players in the weight room can do for the program.
If not competing in winter or spring sports, Matthess said he expects kids to be bettering themselves and encouraging teammates to work the weights.
Moving players around to different positions was a constant for the Indians, but the attitudes displayed in those situations were selfless.
“We’ve had to bounce people around all season,” Matthess said. “None of the kids have complained all season. None of the kids have expressed frustration. They’ve just done it.”
Individual stat leaders
Rushing: Job Bair 235 yards
Passing: Jon Bair 135 yards
Tackles: Riley Domina 68.5
Solo Sacks: Dalton Stubbe 3
Solo tackles for loss: Riley Domina 5
Interceptions: Coel Reece 1, Peyton Winship 1.
Fumble recoveries: Taven Floyd 2, Riley Domina 2.
Kickoff return yards: Bryon Rivera 248