Clarke football experienced what it will take to advance to the next tier of talent, losing to Southeast Valley 54-0 in Friday’s season opener.
From the opening kickoff, the Jaguars took the fight to Clarke, scoring within the first five plays of the game. Swing passes to the outside and a rush up the middle gave Southeast Valley an 8-0 lead at 9:23 in the first quarter.
The Indians’ offense was handed the ball quickly after the Jaguars scored but put themselves nearly 20 yards from a first down after an illegal formation and a false start on the first two offensive plays. A punt, with another penalty before the snap, gave Southeast Valley good field position to start its second drive.
“We had a lot of mental mistakes, and that’s a coaching thing,” Clarke head coach Jerrod Gaskill said. “We didn’t have enough guys on certain offensive plays or special teams. We had guys in double motion, so us as coaches need to be really crisp in practice because Interstate 35 (next week) is no joke.”
A 34-yard pass and rush up the middle from Lathe Muench added six more points on the board for Southeast Valley. A two-point conversion made the score 16-0 at 6:05 in the first quarter.
Clarke’s offense – switching from the single-wing run a year ago to the Wing-T this season – struggled to find any production, going three-and-out for the second-straight possession.
The Indians totaled 22 yards of offense on the night, with a chunk coming on the final drive after switching Kamis Bulis to quarterback while Southeast Valley had the reserves in the game.
“We haven’t passed in three years,” Gaskill said. “The timing is key, so teaching our receivers routes. This is the first time in three years that they’ve done it. It’s growing pains. If you don’t have a run game to go with those growing pains, this is the result you get. We’ve got some work to do.”
Southeast Valley’s defense, led by four-start Iowa commit Aaron Graves, was physical off the line, getting a strong push and giving Clarke’s starting quarterback Zethann May little time in the pocket.
Both the offensive and defensive lines exploded off the ball for Southeast Valley. Offensively, the group was able to push back Clarke’s defensive line, creating holes for running backs up the middle and on the outside by pulling guards. The Jaguars’ defensive line used stunts to confuse Clarke’s offensive line, getting the in backfield to stop the Indians’ rushing attack.
“They were way more physical than us, hands down,” Gaskill said. “I felt our line is our strength, and we’re pretty darn good. They just came out full fire force against us, and we just didn’t really know what to expect tonight. I think that goes back to our practice. Our (first-teamers) are a step above our (second-teamers), so we don’t really get good looks. This was our first test. We’ve obviously got some work to do.”
Clarke’s own three-star junior lineman Spruceton Buddenhagen against Graves was a matchup Gaskill circled entering the game. Graves recorded three tackles, two solo tackles Friday.
Gaskill said he felt Buddenhagen held his own against the 6-5 260-pound junior rusher, but the offense only managed a few drives with production.
May was able to connect on short passes at the end of the first quarter, converting a fourth-and-2. That was all the Indians mustered though in the first half.
Clarke trailed 22-0 after the first quarter. The Jaguars’ offense stayed attacking, running the ball outside and inside the tackles. Muench scored two more times in the second quarter on rushes up the middle to give Southeast Valley a 36-0 lead going into halftime.
Muench rushed for 100 yards on nine carries and scored four touchdowns. Hunter Sorenson scored two touchdowns on two carries for 21 yards.
Southeast Valley’s offense finished with 343 total yards. The Jaguars carried the ball 29 times for 204 yards while Kolson Kruse was 8-for-8 passing for 139 yards.
Trailing by more than 35 points at the half, the clock rolled continuously in the second half.
Southeast Valley continued to run the ball, keeping the clock moving as the offense drove down the field. Muench and Sorenson remained effective in the second half as Clarke’s defensive line, which plays both ways, was wearing down.
Gaskill said he didn’t think the separation between the teams was going to be 56 points, but now the coaches and team understand what it’s going to take to bring the physicality and intensity Southeast Valley brought to the remainder of the Indians’ games.
“That’s the key, getting guys motivated,” Gaskill said. “These guys are 15, 16, 17-year-old kids. Getting these guys motivated and say, ‘let’s flush this one down the toilet, and let’s move on to next week.’ I’m a big believer in ‘you learn more from your losses than from your wins.’ We’ll go into film, realize where we made mistakes. We’ve got to do a better job coaching them up this week and get ready for a really good Interstate 35 team.”
UP NEXT – Clarke (0-1) takes to the road, facing Interstate 35 (1-0) in Truro at 7 p.m.
SEV 22 14 12 6 - 54
CL 0 0 0 0 - 0
SEV — Kolson Kruse 1 rush (Lathe Muench two-point conversion), 9:23.
SEV – Kolson Kruse 2 rush (Lathe Muench two-point conversion), 6:05.
SEV – Lathe Muench 15 rush (two-point conversion no good), 2:27.
SEV – Lathe Muench 19 rush (Dalton Crouse pass from Kolson Kruse two-point conversion), 6:06.
SEV – Lathe Muench 6 rush (two-point conversion no good), 0:37.
SEV – Hunter Sorenson 19 rush (Tre Fisher kick)), 9:01.
SEV – Lathe Muench 14 rush, 3:53.
SEV – Hunter Sorenson 3 rush (Tre Fisher missed kick), 10:35.
Rushing: SEV - Kolson Kruse 10-32, Lathe Muench 9-100, Andrew Miller 3-27, Drew Corell 3-5, Carl Berglund 3-19, Hunter Sorenson 2-24. CL - Jacob Jamison 5-7, Tanner Fry 5-(-8), Zethann May 2-(-5), Kamis Bulis 2-10, Osten Blevins 1(-3), Ely Crawford 1(-3).
Passing: SEV - Kolson Kruse 8-8 for 139 yards. CL - Zethann May 7-21 for 26 yards.
Receiving: SEV -Carl Berglund 4-53, Colton Brant 2-46, Kaleb Scott 1-34, Sam Hanson 1-6.. CL - Tanner Fry 3-12, Osten Blevins 2-9, Jacob Jamison 1-(-1).
Tackles (solo-assists): SEV - Hunter Sorenson 4-2, Caden Larson 3-1.5 Carson Lambert 3-1, Justin Loseke 3-0.5, Parker Garcia 1-2, Aaron Graves 2-1, Everett Lahr 2-0.5, Tre Fisher 2-0, Kolson Kruse 1-0.5, Kaleb Scott 1-0.5, Sam Hanson 1-0.5, Zack Miller 1-0, Jonah Siebert 1-0, Colby Wile 1-0, Harley Bryson 0-0.5. CL - N/A.
Tackles for loss: SEV - Hunter Sorenson 2, Caden Larson 1, Sam Hanson 1, Colby Wilke 1, Parker Garcia 1, Kaleb Scott 0.5.