CHARITON – The Clarke Indians dropped their final contest of the season to the Chariton Chargers 49-20 Friday to complete the season with a 3-6 overall record.
An early pick-six put Clarke down in the first quarter, but the Indians put together a long drive to respond with a trip to the end zone to knot things up.
Chris Carson punched in the first score on a 38-yard TD run. He finished the game with 81 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Alejandro Davis had the other score for the Indians on a 9-yard run that crossed the goal line.
Amani Fry and Zane Hart were Clarke’s two leading tacklers with four tackles apiece in the loss.
Clarke continued to play shorthanded as Zethann May took over the quarterbacking duties for Riley Domina who was unavailable due to injury.
May ended up leaving the game with an injury as well, putting Carson under center.
“Unfortunately they’re a much bigger and physical team than we are across the board. Injuries really stood out at this point,” said Clarke head coach Duane Matthess.
“He (Carson) did very well for us and we were pleased with his performance and he was able to step in,” added Matthess. “He is a jack of all trades for us and we are fortunate to have him on the team.”
A season riddled with injuries leaves Clarke coaches and fans wondering what-if.
The Indians got plenty of quality contributions from younger players who will step into bigger roles next season, but if this year’s seniors could have stayed healthy the Indians could have potentially done even more damage.
“We were pretty much playing with next year’s team. All these guys are getting valuable reps at the varsity level,” Matthess said.
The Indians complete the season as nearly an unrecognizable team from a year ago and the senior class – consisting of Domina, Payton Winship, Reese Fancher, Amani Fry, Emanuel Mosely, Garrett Moore, Taven Floyd, Hart and Carlos Yanez – is one that will be remembered fondly by Matthess.
“These seniors are always going to hold a special place in my heart. What I’ve talked to them about, they’ve essentially excavated all the negativeness (as) to what has been said about our program in the past,” said Matthess. “They’ve really left the program in good hands for these juniors and sophomore to really kind of go from there. So that’s exciting. The best compliment that I can give these seniors is that they’ve left this jersey in a better place than before they got it.”
The Indians finish the year fourth in Class 2A in rushing yards with 2,382 and tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns with 30.
As far as next year is concerned for the head coach?
“I fully expect us to have an above .500 record next year,” said Matthess.