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|10/9/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
Sabers ground out homecoming win over Clippers
|With teammates Logan Sheppard (11) and Drew Schroeder (54) ready to take on any challengers, Central junior Ryan Burke sprints down the sideline after picking up a fumble in the first quarter of the Sabers’ homecoming game with Clear Creek-Amana. Burke scored on the play, the first of five-straight Central touchdowns as the Sabers rolled the Clippers 42-14. Photos by Ross Eberhart|
The fireworks provided a nice show in the air, but it was what the Central football team accomplished on the ground that really sent the purple-and-gold clad fans home happy during Friday's homecoming clash with Clear Creek-Amana.
The Sabers scored rushing touchdowns on five-straight offensive possessions and amassed over 300 yards on the ground for the fourth time this season in a 42-14 rout over the Clippers that evened the team's district record at 2-2.
"If there is one part of our offensive philosophy that we like to hang our cap on it's running the ball," Central head coach Mike Miller said. "I think we really got back to the basics. We needed to regain that confidence after Solon and I think we did that."
The Sabers showcased their full running arsenal in the game. No Central ball carrier reached 100 yards, but three Sabers finished with more than 50 yards and nine finished with at least 10. Additionally, Central's five touchdowns on the ground each came from a different player.
"That's really what makes this offense special," Miller said of the Sabers' versatility. "There is not just one back for a defense to key on, we have a bunch of athletic backs that really make it go."
Despite the final result, the game got off to an inauspicious start for the Sabers, who saw their first drive end in just five plays, as a pass by quarterback Jesse Brackey was deflected into the air and into the waiting arms of Clipper defensive back Andrew Beckler.
It did not take long, though, for the momentum to come flying back to the Sabers.
In fact, Clear Creek-Amana's ensuing drive actually proved to be shorter than Central's.
After picking up a first down in three plays, the Clippers attempted a run outside with Jonathan Nzombo carrying the ball. The running back found space, but was soon corralled by the Central secondary and brought to the turf.
The ball was knocked free in the process and picked up by junior Ryan Burke, who was escorted by his teammates down the sideline for a 56-yard fumble return. Keegan Lass added the extra point and it was 7-0.
"We were confident that the defense was going to be able to respond and they did just that," Miller said. "I think it was a huge momentum swing for us because any time you score on defense it brings up the excitement."
The very next Clear Creek-Amana possession ended with a three-and-out and quickly the Central offense was back on the field.
This time, the Sabers stuck solely to the ground and began to gash the Clipper defense.
Three-straight runs (two by Tyler Stillmunkes and one by Jake Feldpausch) each produced first downs and Central picked up another first when Feldpausch galloped 12 yards on a third-and-one.
That Feldpausch run moved the ball to the Clear Creek-Amana two-yard line and Central punched it in a play later with Stillmunkes covering the final two yards. Lass' point after try split the uprights and the Sabers had two scores in the span of less than three minutes.
The Clippers threatened to answer with their next drive and had a first-and-10 at the Central 33.
The Saber defense, though, stood firm. Clear Creek-Amana running back Tanner Bandy was stopped for one yard on first down and a second-down pass to the end zone was broken up by Emmitt Enyeart. A third-and-nine run by Bandy, meanwhile, was stuffed behind the line by junior Justin Schwennen, and the Clippers were forced to punt.
Taking over on its own 13-yard line, Central went right back to work. Brackey got the Sabers out of the shadow of their own end zone with a 22-yard completion to Jake Kagemann and one play later Central was on the Clippers' side of midfield as Feldpausch rumbled 24 yards.
The Sabers were not done. Three of the team's next four runs went for first downs and Brackey came up with his second completion of the drive with a 12-yard pass to Feldpausch.
Just like in the Sabers' previous drive, Feldpausch was stopped just short of the goal line and Central scored a play later. This time junior Mason Cousins took an inside handoff from Brackey and bulled his way one-yard for a touchdown. Lass added the extra point and it was 21-0.
Clear Creek-Amana picked up one first down on its ensuing drive before giving the ball back to the Sabers when Enyeart made a leaping interception of a Nile Rourke pass.
Central made the turnover hurt with another scoring drive.
Junior James Grell came up with two big runs early (consecutive gains of 15 and 12 yards, the former coming on a third-and-one) and Brackey fired a pass that was grabbed by Enyeart for another 15 yards. A facemask on the play doubled the damage and the Sabers suddenly had the ball at the Clear Creek-Amana 12 yard line.
Three plays later, Central was in the end zone one final time in the first half as Brackey kept the ball on an option run and stretched over the goal line for a five-yard score. Lass made his fourth point-after and Central went into the halftime up 28-0.
The Clippers received the ball first in the second half and opened the third quarter with a nice drive. The possession, though, ended in a familiar fashion as the football was knocked free and then secured by Burke, who had his second fumble recovery of the game.
That caused the frustrations to boil over for Clear Creek-Amana and the Clippers were whistled for a facemask and two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the Sabers' ensuing drive.
Central, though, kept its cool and the result was another touchdown as Feldpausch took a handoff and bounded 13 yards for a score.
With the game in hand and the clock now continuously running, the Sabers used the majority of the second half as an opportunity to get multiple players game experience.
Clear Creek-Amana took advantage of Central's continually changing defense with a touchdown on its next drive, but the Sabers had a quick answer.
It came from junior Ryan Olson who finished a short four-play drive with a 35-yard run up the sideline for a touchdown. Lass added one final extra point and it was 42-7.
The Central defense came up with a big stop on its next trip to the field, stonewalling Clear Creek-Amana on a fourth-and-one, but the Clippers were able to score one additional time with just under three minutes remaining in the game.
Feldpausch led the Sabers' rushing attack, piling up 96 yards on just seven carries - an average of over 13 yards. Stillmunkes added 61 yards with Olson coming up with 55 on two carries. All three runners had touchdowns with Cousins (28 yards) and Brackey (22 yards) also picking up rushing scores.
The early interception proved to be Brackey's lone incompletion as the senior completed his next three passes for 49 yards. Enyeart, Kagemann and Feldpausch each caught a pass.
Kagemann added a team-best seven tackles on the defensive end with six of them being solo stops. Drew Schroeder added six tackles (four solo) and so did Burke, who had the two fumble recoveries and the defensive touchdown. James Grell and Garrett Jacobs both had five tackles in the game with Schwennen adding four.
The Sabers finish off the non-district portion of their schedule this Friday with a road contest against Western Dubuque.
The Bobcats have alternated wins and losses through the first six games of the season and are coming off their biggest win of the season - a 42-7 rout on the road against Oelwein.
"They are kind of traditional in that they run the Wing-T, but they also have an excellent quarterback" Miller said. "The thing with the Wing-T is that you have to be disciplined on defense every play. Its an offense where only one person not doing his job can lead to a big play."
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