January 18, 2021

Turnovers put Indians in bad positions

DES MOINES – Clarke football fell to 1-4 on the season Friday after suffering a 42-14 loss to Saydel (2-3) on a night that saw eight Indian turnovers.

The Indians were coming off a 35-point performance, scoring its first points and gaining its first win of the year a week prior to the matchup with the Eagles. Offensively, Clarke struggled find any momentum, passing for five interceptions and fumbling the ball three times.

“If you have eight turnovers in a game, you don’t even deserve to win,” Clarke head coach Jerrod Gaskill said.

The first of three Zethann May interceptions came in the red zone, off a pre-snap read that should have gone to the far side of the field with a defender playing off Jayden Giza at receiver. May threw to an out route on the opposite side of the field with a defender playing tight coverage. The other two interceptions came with May scrambling in the pocket.

With a new offense incorporated this season, Gaskill said May is a senior, but he’s inexperienced in the offense, creating the struggles in the passing game.

“No one feels worse than he does,” Gaskill said. “He was so upset at himself.”

Lacking depth throughout the roster, specifically at skill positions and quarterback, the Indians struggled after May took a big hit on the third drive of the game, forcing him to exit early. May had already thrown for three interceptions in the game. He finished 4-for-10 passing with 39 yards before exiting the game.

“I don’t have a backup quarterback,” Gaskill said. “Putting a backup quarter back in and trying to do anything, we’re struggling. It’s unfortunate.”

With May exiting the game, starting receiver Kamis Bulis, who plays quarterback for the junior varsity team, took the reins of the offense. Gaskill said Bulis is a scrambling-first quarterback in a new system that requires more timing routes than previous years, but was happy with his ability to find success.

Clarke finished with 193 yards of total offense. Bulis accounted for 102 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for -20 yards on nine attempts. Tanner Fry was the leading receiver, catching four passes for 84 yards and one touchdown.

The Indians held things close through the first half, allowing a 27-yard passing touchdown in the first quarter. Saydel added a 13-yard rushing touchdown and recovered a fumble for another touchdown to lead 18-0 at halftime.

The Eagles added two touchdowns in the third quarter on a 21-yard rush and 20-yard pass to give Saydel a 30-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.

At 10:32 in the fourth quarter, Clarke drove down the field to add six points. Bulis connected with Jack Cooley on a six-yard pass. Saydel responded with a 13-yard rush for a touchdown, extending its lead to 26-6.

“We played pretty well defensively,” Gaskill said. “We just kept put (the defense) in bad positions.”

Bulis connected with Fry on the next drive from 25 yards out to mark the Indians’ final score. Saydel scored with 49 seconds left on a 20-yard pass.

Looking at this week’s matchup with Centerville (2-3), Gaskill said May’s ability to play will be determined throughout the week.