On the road at Van Meter, the Clarke Indians faced off against the three-time Class 1A state champion Bulldogs for the first time this year as Van Meter moved into Class 2A. With a tough opening, Clarke managed just 10 points in the contest, bringing their season to 2-3.
Van Meter’s Ben Gordon started the game off with a 95-yard opening kick return for a touchdown with a missed point after by Katie Lindsay. Clarke took over at their own 30, but only made it as far as the 35-yard line before punting the ball away to have Van Meter start back at their 6-yard line. The Indians were able to hold the Bulldogs off, forcing them to punt on lack of downs.
Clarke picked back up at the 43, making their way the 17 yards down to Van Meter’s 20-yard line. As Clarke’s Jack Cooley struggled against pressure from the defense, Oscar Castro came in to try for a field goal kick, but the kick was batted down and returned by Van Meter before being brought down by Castro on a tackle.
With Van Meter at Clarke’s 45, Van Meter’s quarterback Austin Baumhover handed the ball off to Gordon who ran in for another touchdown, and a subsequent kick by Lindsay brought the score to 13-0.
A kick from Van Meter made its way through the uprights, starting Clarke at their own 20-yard line. On a second and 10, Cooley was sacked and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Van Meter who made quick work of putting another seven points on the board.
Clarke started out with another touchback, and searched for a first down but came up short, turning the ball back over to Van Meter at Clarke’s 27 with two minutes to go in the quarter. Van Meter’s Caleb Moore took a snap from Baumhover and made it through Clarke defense for another touchdown. An extra point after brought the game to 27-0.
The first quarter ended with Cooley being sacked near the 25 on 2 and 6.
Starting the second quarter at 3rd down and 5, Clarke was unable to gain yards and Castro punted the ball away to Van Meter’s 25, fielded by Moore who brought it across midfield to be taken down at the 45. The Bulldogs made their way back to Clarke’s end zone for another seven points.
Clarke began their longest drive of the game, methodically working their way back down the field, picking up yardage with passes from Cooley to Drake Moore, Cole White, Ashton Giza and running the ball himself. On a first and 10 with just over three minutes on the clock, Cooley looked to pass to Brock Watson, for the ball to be batted up and picked by Van Meter’s Andon Watson, who was tackled by Brock Nall at the Van Meter three-yard line.
The Indians were again able to hold the Bulldogs back and forced them to punt on lack of downs, with a high kick down to Clarke’s 42. The Indians looked to the end zone, but flags and incompletes found them short. A field goal kick by Castro was good, earning the Indians their first three points of the contest.
With less than ten seconds on the play clock, Clarke’s Rafeal Avalos kicked to Van Meter, with the ball fileded by C. Moore, who ran it back for a touchdown. An extra point moved Van Meter ahead to 41-3, with the clock to run coming back from halftime.
Clarke began the third quarter on another touchback, slowly working their way play by play back down the field, trying for a pass from Cooley to Giza on 4 and 8, with the pass incomplete. Van Meter began at their 46, with Gordon making another touchdown on two plays.**
B. Watson received the kick for Clarke at the 25, breaking tackles before being taken down. Flags on the play, however, backed the Indians up, loosing the yardage gained by B. Watson. After a series of plays and flags slowly gaining the Indians yards, the quarter ran out with Clarke going into the fourth quarter on 4 and 16.
Unable to get a first down, Castro punted the ball. Clarke defense was able to stop the Van Meter offense from advancement, and Van Meter was forced to punt. Clarke took back over at their 25, and on a 2nd and 10, Cooley’s pass to B. Watson found its mark, with B. Watson running in for a 65-yard touchdown. A kick by Castro found the final score of 48-10 on the scoreboard.
With just over a minute left on the clock, Van Meter quarterback Henry Lounsbury took two knees to end the game.
Clarke will play at Clarinda (3-2) Friday.
Van Meter 48, Clarke 10
Points by quarter
Jack Cooley - 21/33–1 for 227 yds
Cooley - 13–32
Ashton Giza - 1–3
Brock Waston - 2–7
Drake Moore - 6–12
Team - 22–54
Giza - 2–13–0–0
Oscar Castro - 1–5–0–0
Jesus Vega - 1–11–0–0
Shay Mathews - 2–6–0–0
Watson - 2–116–1–65
Brock Nall - 4–35–0–0
Moore - 1–4–0–0
Cole White - 5–37–0–0
Team - 21–227–1–65
DEFENSE (total-solo-sacks-for loss)
Castro - 1.5–1–0–0
Vega - 2.0–2–0–0
Nash Bishop - 1.0–1–0–0
Nall - 2.0–1–1.0–1.0
Moore - 6.5–6–1.0–1.0
Cole Binning - 1.5–1–0–0
Shawn McAfee - 2.5–2–0–0
Lane O’Hair - 2.5–2–0–0
Issac Salazar - 2.0–2–0–1.0
White - 0.5–0–0–0
Team - 22.0–19–2.0–3.0
KICK RETURNS (returns-yds)
Mathews - 1–27
Watson - 3–66
Team - 4–93
PUNT RETURNS (returns)
Watson - 1
KICKING (kickoffs-touchback-yds-field goal attempts-longest-pt after-pts)
Castro - 0–0–0–1/2–25–1/1–1
Rafael Avalos - 3–1–140–0–0/0–0
Team - 3–1–140–1/2–25–1/1–1
Castro - 3–134