Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Clear Creek Amana football appears to have adjusted its offensive philosophy.
A year after flinging the ball all over the field with an offense that was slightly more pass than run, the Clippers have employed a bruising run attack this year to suit its personnel.
It is what good coaches with versatile players do.
“Over the summer, all we did was we got bigger, we got stronger, we got faster,” CCA junior tailback Sam Pettinger said after running for 73 yards and two scores as the Clippers blanked Marion, 26-0, in the season-opening prep football game for both teams Friday night at Clear Creek Amana High School. “We really focused on being the more physical football team. Running our feet, hitting low. We really focused on just being the physical team that we know we can be.”
CCA (1-0) announced its physical intentions from the outset behind Pettinger, an improved offensive line and a senior quarterback in Jackson Schmidt that is not afraid to stick his nose in the scrum.
The Clippers took the opening kickoff and promptly marched 75 in yards in nine plays, which included eight rush attempts.
A six-yard Pettinger plunge gave CCA a 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.
“Our guys have really committed to the weight room in the summer and then just committed to being a more physical football team and wanting to have that different mentality,” second-year CCA Coach Matt Haddy said. “At times last year, games that we lost against teams like Xavier or Pella, we got pushed around. Even Marion last year pushed us around. They pretty much ran the football at will when they needed to. So, I think our kids bought into that. We have got to be a different type of football team if we are going to compete with those type of schools. And that is where we want to be.”
At quarterback, Schmidt was incredibly efficient for the Clippers.
The senior ran the ball 17 times for 80 yards, including an 11-yard score in the second quarter. Through the air, Schmidt effectively picked his spots.
He completed seven of eight attempts for 127 yards and tossed a stunning 25-yard touchdown to senior Reece Hoffman on 4th down and 14 yards to go that extended the CCA lead to 26-0 less than four minutes into the second half.
“I think our O-line has improved by millions,” Schmidt said. “I love my guys up front. I have trust in all of them. They create those gaps. They create those holes and we just pound it down their mouths.”
On defense, the improvement was startling.
One year after allowing 35 points to Marion, CCA shut out an opponent for the first time since routing Clinton, 43-0, in 2019.
New CCA defensive coordinator Ted Haag brought collegiate coaching experience (Arkansas State, Simpson) to the Clippers’ staff and the results were immediate.
“He has been phenomenal,” Haddy said. “He has instilled a ton of confidence into our defensive players. You can see that. They play with a little bit of an edge.”
The CCA defense limited Marion (0-1) to just 179 total yards as University of Iowa commit Alex Mota mustered just 42 combined yards receiving and rushing.
Six-foot-four sophomore linebacker/tight end Brody Clubb recorded a sack, while senior defensive back Asher Roehler recovered a fumble for the Clippers.
“We knew they were coming out like blood in the water,” said Clubb, who posted two receptions for 57 yards on offense. “We beat them by one. They had us all game last year, too, and we came back so we know we have got some strong offense this year, some big O-linemen. Our defense had to stop them and that is what we did. That big zero up on that scoreboard. … Our defense came together and we played Clipper football.”
CCA never punted, but was penalized seven times for 60 yards and failed to convert two extra-point attempts and a field goal try.
The Clippers’ new physical mindset will undoubtedly be put to the test again next Friday when it travels to Independence, a team that ran for 259 yards in last year’s 28-14 Mustangs’ victory.
“Momentum is a huge thing,” Pettinger said. “If we keep doing what we are doing and we keep running the ball as hard as we can and we keep throwing smoke and mirrors in there, we can accomplish anything. We can be a good, physical team.”
First Downs 9 17
Rushes-yards 23-111 46-214
Comp-Att-Int 10-18-0 8-10-0
Passing yards 68 132
Total yards 179 346
Punts-avg. 1-30 0-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 5-45 7-60
Marion 0 0 0 0—0
Clear Creek Amana 7 13 6 0—26
CCA – Sam Pettinger 6 run (Max Carlson kick)
CCA – Jackson Schmidt 11 run (Max Carlson kick)
CCA – Sam Pettinger 1 run (kick failed)
CCA – Reece Hoffman 25 pass from Jackson Schmidt (kick blocked)
RUSHING – Marion: Kai Glade 9-39, Kaleb Diers 9-30, Alex Mota 1-15, Trey Franck 1-10, Tucker Lansdown 3-17. Clear Creek Amana: Sam Pettinger 18-73, Jackson Schmidt 17-80, Reece Hoffman 4-44, Cale Berry 5-14, Eli Mallicoat 2-3.
PASSING – Marion: Kaleb Diers 10-18-0 68. Clear Creek Amana: Jackson Schmidt 7-8-0 127, Cale Berry 1-2-0 5.
RECEIVING – Marion: Alex Mota 2-27, Trey Franck 3-15, Kai Glade 2-3, Elliott Dyrland 1-9, Kaiden Griffith 2-14. Clear Creek Amana: Andrew Schlemme 2-24, Reece Hoffman 2-33, Brody Clubb 2-57, Sam Pettinger 1-14, Eli Mallicoat 1-4.