Clear Creek Amana senior Ashton CarpenterBy Richard C. Lewis
TIFFIN – In the season opener last week, Clear Creek Amana’s Ashton Carpenter completed just three passes in nine attempts, for 22 yards.
By that measure, he put on an aerial display on Friday night.
The senior quarterback tossed a 16-yard touchdown on his first attempt, and the Clear Creek defense picked off five passes – including a 70-yard interception return for a score – to stake the Clippers past Independence, 26-0, in a Class 3A non-district contest.
Carpenter finished 11 of 15 for 91 yards and the one score.
“I think the difference was in practice, we just focused on getting it down,” Carpenter said. “And just not rushing things, taking our time. Last week, we kind of struggled with our backs blocking and stuff, so we got the backs blocking this week, and our line, the blocking was a just a lot better. All credit goes to them.”
Meanwhile, the Clippers’ secondary wreaked havoc on Independence’s passing game. Three different defenders registered picks, led by Cory Siders, who had three.
His second came early in the fourth quarter when he jumped a route on the right side at the Clear Creek 30-yard line and took it the rest of the way to give the Clippers a 19-0 lead.
“I was just waiting, saw the number two receiver, saw the quarterback look, and took full advantage of it,” Siders said. “I thought I’d take it to the house.
“It felt good until about 20 yards out, when I started cramping,” the senior added to laughter from his teammates.
The Clippers also recovered a fumble, forcing six Mustang turnovers for the game.
“Our defense, just like last week, capitalized on a lot of opportunities,” said Clear Creek Amana coach Matt Hughes. “We were a little loose on defense (early) and gave up some yardage, but whenever it counted, they came up big.”
Clear Creek scored its first points on a 16-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Carpenter to Kobey Schlotman.
It was the first varsity catch for the senior wideout.
“I tried my best to get open, ran a hard route, got off the ball quick, and Ashton threw me a dime,” a modest Schlotman said.
Carpenter completed his first seven passes of the game, before misfiring with an interception.
Hughes did not seem surprised by his quarterback’s turnaround from the previous game.
“We believe in our passing game,” said Hughes, in his fourth year as the Clippers’ coach.
“We really believe in him and his ability when he has time to throw. We wanted to give him a chance to loosen up the defense, and he did. He did a great job of putting the ball in the right spots.”
Carpenter’s throwing took the pressure off the running game, which stagnated after leading rusher Drake Brezina left the game early in the third quarter with a knee injury. Brezina, who gained 199 yards in week 1, did not return. Hughes said his status is uncertain.
“We’re going to get an MRI and see where he’s at,” the Clippers coach said. “We’ll take it in stride. You know, it’s always the next man in philosophy on our team, and if he’s out for a little bit, we’ve got to depend on some other guys to step up and take his spot.”
Independence hung around early, advancing as far as the Clippers’ 21 in the first quarter before quarterback Kenyon Hosch threw an interception on a fourth down play.
Hosch was 12 of 27 for 79 yards with the five picks.
Clear Creek extended its lead to 13-0 on a 22-yard TD run by Matt Brimeyer with more than four minutes to go before the half. Independence had plenty of possessions to get back in the game, but four second-half turnovers stymied those efforts.
Clear Creek Amana Independence
First downs 9 12
Rushes-Yards 41-164 41-124
Passing 91 79
Comp-Att-Int 11-15-1 14-30-5
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-70 6-35
Independence 0 0 0 0 – 0
Clear Creek Amana 7 6 0 13 – 26
CCA – Kobey Schlotman 9 pass from Ashton Carpenter (Tyreke Williams kick)
CCA – Matt Brimeyer 22 run (Kick failed)
CCA – Cory Siders 70 Interception return (Kick failed)
CCA – Cade Gallagher 3 run (Williams kick)