Clear Creek Amana senior Jared EckrichBy Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – The win-loss column shows Clear Creek Amana has come a long way under head coaches Matt and Ronnie Hughes.
From back-to-back 4-5 seasons in 2012 and 2013 to a 12-8 mark and consecutive playoff appearances the last two years it is clear the Clippers have made progress.
A 2-0 start this season, the first in the Hughes era, is another larege display of the program’s growth.
What is perhaps an even more telling sign of how far the Clippers have come is the 2-0 start to the season hasn’t come as a surprise.
“I think we all knew that we had it in us,” Clear Creek Amana senior Jared Eckrich said of the 2-0 start. “I don’t think it’s been a surprise or anything.”
A year ago Clear Creek Amana lost three straight games to open the season before winning five of its final six regular season contests.
Clear Creek Amana will try to reverse that start this season when it hosts Dubuque Wahlert (1-1) in the Class 3A, District 4 opener for both teams on Friday at Clipper Field.
“We’ve struggled early in the past but this year we’ve been pretty good,” Eckrich said. “We know we can get better from here, we still have some struggles but we can polish and shine that up.”
Clear Creek Amana hasn’t just won two games to open the season, it has dominated a pair of opponents on its way to a 2-0 start.
The Clippers have outscored their first two opponents 49-8, a late touchdown in a week-one win over Mount Pleasant the only thing standing in the way of back-to-back season-opening shutouts.
Clear Creek Amana is coming off a 26-0 blanking of Independence, the first shutout for the Clippers since a 27-0 win over Davenport Assumption on Oct. 10 2014.
“I knew that we had a really good defense, we have depth that we haven’t had in the past,” Matt Hughes said. “They have just been tremendous the first couple of weeks.”
Things will get slightly tougher for Clear Creek Amana in its district opener Friday against the Golden Eagles.
Wahlert is coming off a 7-0 win over cross-town rival Dubuque Senior in which it held the Rams to 137 yards of offense.
Clear Creek Amana will be operating on offense for the first time without senior running back Drake Brezina who was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the win over Independence.
Eckrich and junior Matt Brimeyer are expected to share the burden of replacing Brezina who rushed for 285 yards in the first two games this season.
Brimeyer had a 22-yard touchdown run last week after Brezina left with his injury.
“It’s a tough thing losing a great kid like Drake but we have a lot of backs that we can go with,” Hughes said. “Guys like Jared and Matt can play for anyone.”
The change at running back won’t switch the philosophy for Clear Creek Amana which has relied on a stout defense and power run game during its 2-0 start.
The Clippers are allowing just 110 yards per game this season and holding opponents to 76 yards per game on the ground.
Just like the 2-0 start the defensive dominance hasn’t surprised anyone at Clear Creek Amana.
“I think it’s really just a mentality,” Clear Creek Amana senior Cory Siders said. “We believed that if we came together as a team we could stop anybody.”