Clear Creek Amana senior Jared EckrichBy Susan Harman
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Matt Hughes spoke from his heart after his Clear Creek Amana team dismantled Central DeWitt 42-6 Friday night.
“These kids deserve to be in the playoffs,” Hughes said. “And I hope all the stars align for them because they’ve worked so hard to get where they’re at. A 7-2 season is an amazing season, and if that’s not good enough to make the state playoffs I don’t know what is.”
This team will go down as one of the best teams the school has fielded.
It just won’t go down as a playoff team.
The Clippers finished 7-2 overall and 5-2 in District 4 play but missed out on an at-large bid in Class 3A.
“Our kids came out tonight and they kept coming and kept coming and played their hearts out,” Hughes said. “I was really happy with the overall performance of our team.”
The Clippers made their case against the Sabers (1-6, 2-7) by dominating the game offensively and defensively. They piled up 378 rushing yards. Senior Jared Eckrich ran for 157 yards and junior Matt Brimeyer for 136.
“We just practiced our butts off this week,” Eckrich said. “Everybody was on point in practice after those two losses.”
“All the credit goes to the line,” Brimeyer said. “They do their job every day. They work hard.”
While the offensive line (Carter Hertel, Max Moore, Ethan Taylor, Riley Burks and Will Swenka) dominated the line of scrimmage it had to be proud of the way both Eckrich and Brimeyer ran, often carrying tacklers for as much as five or 10 extra yards.
“We just run until the whistle blows,” Brimeyer said. “If you never give up, nothing will turn into something every time.”
“Well, on one of them Ethan was actually dragging me. He was pushing. I wasn’t actually moving my feet,” Eckrich said. “It helps when you have a 250-pound guy pushing you.”
The defense held the triple-option attack of the Sabers to one touchdown on an 80-yard run by Nicholas Smith. The Sabers managed one other sizable drive but were unable to come away with points.
To add insult to injury, after the stop the Clippers took over on their own 5 and drove 95 yards for a touchdown of their own.
“Everybody did their jobs tonight and that’s what we focused on,” Eckrich said of handling the option attack. “It’s responsibility football. Everybody has their guy and we did it.”
Junior quarterback Dylan Sheely performed admirably in relief of Ashton Carpenter, who was injured last week. He only threw four passes but one was a 32-yard touchdown to Tate Thomsen on a slant.
Evening without a playoff berth this is a season that won’t be soon forgotten. The Clippers proved a lot to their opponents and to themselves.
“We can come out and work hard. We can compete with anybody,” Brimeyer said. “They push us to be our best, to give 110 percent every day.”
Taylor, a senior, was eloquent in describing what the team has meant to him.
“It’s just phenomenal. I’m blown away. I love every minute of it,” he said. “It’s a family. My home life isn’t the best, so it’s great to come out here and have other guys support me. My mom has stage 4 cancer so when I get into a rough patch I have a lot of guys around me. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s a family.”
Central DeWitt 0 0 6 0 – 6
Clear Creek Amana 21 7 14 0 – 42
CCA – Jared Eckrich 1 run (snap failed no kick)
CCA – Matt Brimeyer 15 run (Brimeyer run)
CCA – Dylan Sheely 14 run (Tyreke Williams kick)
CCA – Tate Thomsen 32 pass from Sheely (Williams kick)
CD – Nicholas Smith 80 run (pass failed)
CCA – Eckrich 20 run (Williams kick)
CCA – Eckrich 4 run (Williams kick)
First downs 13 23
Rushing-yards 35-208 55-378
Comp-att-int 6-9-0 1-4-0
Passing-yards 64 32
Punts-avg. 4-35.75 1-56
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 1-5
Rushing – CD: Nicholas Smith 16-139, Drew McNamara 9-43, Samuel O’Connor 8-14, Kyle Irwin 2-12; CCA: Jared Eckrich 21-157, Matt Brimeyer 16-136, Dylan Sheely 3-33, Cade Gallagher 5-28, Travis McConnell 2-16, Grant Riggan 4-14, Cory Siders 2-5, Tyreke Williams 1-(-2), team 1-(-9).
Passing – CD: Drew McNamara 6-9-0-64; CCA: Dylan Sheely 1-4-0-32.
Receiving – CD: Kyle Irwin 3-46, Blake Chapman 2-16, Nicholas Smith 1-14; CCA: Tate Thomsen 1-32.