Clear Creek Amana senior Drake MouginBy Richard C. Lewis
Your Prep Sport
TIFFIN – Add a new nugget of history to Clear Creek Amana football.
The Clippers got two key special-teams plays in the first half and rode a stifling defense that forced five turnovers to whack 3A No. 5 West Delaware, 30-14, in a Class 3A District 4 contest on Friday night at Clipper Field.
Clear Creek Amana, ranked tenth in 3A, has started 6-0 for the first time in school history and seized pole position in the district standings with just a third of the regular season remaining.
“Oh, man, it’s a weight off our shoulders,” said Clear Creek Amana coach Matt Hughes, sounding as relieved as much he was happy with the win. “It was a huge game, probably one of the biggest games in the history of Clear Creek Amana. You know, two undefeated teams, both 5-0, coming in here ranked in the top 10, I just couldn’t be more proud of our kids. They just did what we asked, just like they’ve done all season. Just a special group of kids.”
No one was more special on this night than Drake Mougin.
The senior linebacker blocked a punt with 46 seconds to go before halftime that gave CCA the ball at the West Delaware 5. Matt Brimeyer ran it in on the next play to give the Clippers a 16-7 lead and all the momentum heading into the break.Clear Creek Amana junior Cole White
“We just lined in our normal defense, and just tried to force off the punt,” Mougin said. “I was just fortunate enough to get there and get my hands on it in a crucial point of the game.”
Mougin recovered two fumbles as well.
His second recovery came late in the third quarter and was the back breaker.
Mougin clipped the arm of West Delaware quarterback Tanner Wessels, scooped up the loose ball and rambled 30 yards for a touchdown that gave Clear Creek a 30-7 lead.
“I think I caused the fumble when (Wessels) was going back. I think I hit his arm,” Mougin said. “And when I saw the ball on the ground and green grass, I just decided, ‘Why not try to turn this into something.’”
The game pitted West Delaware’s (5-1) potent attack against CCA’s stout defense.
The Hawks entered the contest ranked third in 3A in offense, highlighted by a rushing attack that averages 321 yards per game. CCA, meanwhile, sported a defensive unit that has held opponents to 4.4 points – third best in 3A – and 88 rushing yards per game.
Clearly, something had to give.
At first, it seemed as if the Clippers might be the ones to yield.
West Delaware took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 80-yard pass play. Receiver Mitchel Mangold outjumped a Clear Creek Amana defender at the CCA 35 yard line to haul in the pass from Wessels and went untouched from there.
But it was the only big play the Clippers would allow.
CCA limited West Delaware to 96 rushing yards and 317 total yards, 47 of which came on a touchdown drive with the game well in hand.
“This defense, the 11 in that group, there’s something special about them. They come out week in and week out,” said Hughes, in his fourth year as the Clippers’ coach. “They just lock in, they get better every week. I just can’t say enough about them.”
Defensive lineman Cole White says the unit has a bond.
“This defense is just something special,” White, a junior who leads the team in tackles for loss, said. “We’re a tight knit group. When we put our mind to it, with a great game plan that the coaches give us, we live up to the challenges that we’re faced with.”
Clear Creek trailed 7-3 in the second quarter when its first big break occurred. West Delaware fumbled a booming, 50-yard punt from Tyreke Williams, and Andrew Rohret recovered at the 13-yard line. Matt Brimeyer ran it on a 6-yard sweep to give CCA a 10-7 lead.
“That’s just how the ball sometimes bounces your way, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Hughes said of the special-teams plays. “We just had lady luck on our side.”
In addition to having a punt blocked, West Delaware lost three fumbles and Wessels threw two interceptions.
Clear Creek rushed for 194 yards on 60 carries. Five players toted the ball, with Brimeyer leading the way with 90 yards and two touchdowns.
CCA West Delaware
First downs 11 11
Rushes-Yards 60-194 37-96
Passing 56 221
Comp-Att-Int 2-3-0 13-23-2
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-3
Penalties-Yards 8-65 3-20
West Delaware 0 7 0 7 – 14
Clear Creek Amana 3 13 0 14 – 30
CCA – Tyreke Williams 46 FG
WD – Mitchel Mangold 80 pass from Tanner Wessels (Aaron Thole kick)
CCA – Matt Brimeyer 6 run (Williams kick)
CCA – Brimeyer 5 run (Kick failed)
CCA – Cade Gallagher 4 run (Williams kick)
CCA – Drake Mougin 30 fumble return (Williams kick)
WD – Tyler Kelley 5 pass from Wessels (Thole kick)
Rushing – CCA: Matt Brimeyer 18-90, Jared Eckrich 13-39, Cade Gallagher 8-41, Ashton Carpenter 17-24, Grant Riggan 1-1, Cory Siders 1-4, Team 2-(-5). WD: Caleb Kehrli 17-73, Tanner Wessels 18-26, Kabryn Cook 2-(-3).
Passing – CCA: Ashton Carpenter 2-3-0 56. WD: Tanner Wessels 13-23-2 221.
Receiving – CCA: Cory Siders 1-23, Tate Thomsen 1-33. WD: Kabryn Cook 2-118, Tyler Kelley 5-70, John Nagel 2-35; Mitchel Mangold 3-0, Caleb Kehrli 1-(-2).