Clear Creek Amana senior Tate ThomsenBy Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – It has already been a season of firsts for the Clear Creek Amana football team.
The Clippers posted the first 6-0 start in program history and jumped into the Class 3A rankings with a win over West Delaware two weeks ago.
This week it will be another first for Clear Creek Amana that could determine the rest of the season for the Clippers.
Clear Creek Amana (6-1) will attempt to bounce back from a loss for the first time this season when it faces Davenport Assumption (5-2) at Brady Street Stadium in Davenport on Thursday after having its six-game, season opening win streak snapped with a 15-14 overtime loss at Marion last week.
“Sometimes it’s good to lose like that just to realize we are not as good as we think we are,” Clear Creek Amana senior Tate Thomsen said. “We just have to battle back and go 1-0 every week and we know we can do it.”
The loss to Marion ended what had been a dream start to the season for the Clippers and knocked Clear Creek Amana out of the top 10.
It also threw a wrench into the Class 3A, District standings where four teams, Clear Creek Amana, Marion, West Delaware and Davenport Assumption all sit at 4-1.
What the loss didn’t do was change the feeling head coach Matt Hughes has about his team.
“My confidence in this team has not wavered at all,” Hughes said. “I just think don’t think we came out ready to play. Every year you see it in all levels where you come out and it’s just not there. I think they learned their lesson, I think they have rededicate and re-motivated themselves and we’ve come out and gotten better every day so far so I’m excited to see what we come out on Thursday and do.”
During its 6-0 start to the season Clear Creek Amana made a habit of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, outgaining opponents by an average of 265 to 90 on the ground.
In the loss to Marion last week Clear Creek Amana rushed for a season-low 156 yards while failing to crack 200 total yards and 20 points for the first time this season.
Clear Creek Amana will get a test from a Davenport Assumption offense that is averaging 267 yards per game on the ground.
Senior running back Justus Burke leads the Assumption rushing attack with 921 yards and 11 touchdowns while junior quarterback Jace Levy has added 665 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
“They have great backs and they have a great quarterback as with all games if you have a team that can control the trenches on both sides of the ball you are going to have the advantage,” Hughes said. “That is really where we have to go out and focus is trying to control both the defensive line and the offensive line and playing good physical Clipper football.”
The strength for Clear Creek Amana has been its defense, specifically stopping the run, so the Clippers don’t expect to change much in a game that could determine their playoff fate.
Clear Creek Amana held Marion to 69 yards on the ground last week and is giving up just 87 rushing yards per game and has allowed four rushing scores all season.
“We know they are a very good team, they can do everything,” Thomsen said of Assumption. “We just have to keep our mindset the same, our defense is going to be strong and put points up on the board this time.”
Clear Creek Amana has had success against the Knights in the past.
The Clippers shut out Assumption 27-0 back in 2014 and lost 37-14 a year ago at Brady Street Stadium but rushed for a season-high 392 yards.
Clear Creek Amana will try to continue that success against an Assumption defense that is allowing 229 rushing yards per game this season.
“It’s a big game coming up Thursday so we just have to flush what happened on Friday,” Thomsen said. “It’s a new game, a new week.”
Hughes is hoping the experience of playing at Assumption last year on a Thursday night helps as Clear Creek Amana attempts to bounce back from its first loss of the season on a short week.
“The whole week schedule is a little bit different, we usually give our kids Sunday off and we had to practice that night,” Hughes said. “These kids have a good mentality, they are very focused and they know what they need to do. They have been preparing to do what we need to do on Thursday night.”