MARION - On the heels of a breakout season, two words greeted the Marion football team as it began preparation for 2017.
In the first season for Coach Tim Lovell, Marion dug out from a winless 2015 and won five of nine ... »
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Clear Creek Amana continued its strong start and remained unbeaten.
The question is whether it is the Clippers’ best start. Co-head coach Matt Hughes said it is better than any start in recent years and the best according to Iowa High School Athletic Association online records, dating back to 2006.
The Clippers improved to 3-0 with a 24-14 victory over Dubuque Wahlert in a Class 3A District 4 opener Friday night at Tiffin.
Hughes said he doesn’t know if another Clippers team has won its first three games.
“In our era, we never started 3-0,” Hughes said. “We’re happy to be there right now.”
CCA trailed early but exploded for 21 points in the second quarter, getting touchdown runs of 43 and 3 yards from Jared Eckrich and a 26-yard rushing score from Cade Gallagher.
The Clippers have been stingy on defense, surrendering a touch more than seven points a game. They shutout Independence in Week 2. Eckrich has tallied 10 tackles in each of the last two weeks. He leads CCA with 26 total, including 24 solo stops.
“I think it’s been a solid defense,” said Hughes, who added, “We preach all 11 guys to the ball. They try to take care of their responsibilities.”
Hughes said quarterback Ashton Carpenter has provided essential leadership and senior Cory Siders, the team leader in receiving yards (59) and interceptions (3), has added some big plays. Drake Brezina leads a varied rush attack with 284 yards and two TDs. The biggest boost might be from the guys up front.
“Our trench guys have taken it on their shoulders to be better players,” Hughes said. “That’s been key on both sides of the ball.”
Last year’s young team went 5-5, reaching the playoffs. They gained a lot of experience and Hughes was optimistic for this season based on the offseason effort.
“I knew if they put the work in we’d be pretty good,” Hughes said. “Kudos to our kids. … They put in the work.”
The Clippers are more focused on going 1-0 each week than a 4-0 start. They will try to extend their early-season streak at Maquoketa (0-3) next Friday. The Cardinals eliminated them in the postseason last season and even denied them a postseason spot a few years ago.
“It’s a big game for us,” Hughes said. “We’d like to turn the tables and have some success against them.”
BIG NIGHT FOR BELLE PLAINE
Belle Plaine remained unbeaten with a blowout win over Grand View Christian. The Plainesmen posted an 82-19 victory, moving to 3-0 overall.
“We were efficient,” Belle Plaine Coach Todd Bohlen said. “We were balanced so that was nice.”
Freshman Trevin Straight rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns to lead Belle Plaine, while all-district performer Joey Schwenn added 108 yards on the ground and two TDs. The Plainesmen ran for 466 yards.
Belle Plaine quarterback Garrett Straight threw for 136 yards with two TDs, completing four passes. None of his five attempts came after the second quarter. Brodie Bohlen had 104 receiving yards on three catches, including two scores.
“We’re a lot more versatile this year,” Bohlen said about the team’s balance with the run and pass. “We can spread the field (and) we can bring it in.”
Bohlen pulled the starters and fielded junior varsity lineups for the second half. They earned some vital game experience since no JV games have been played yet.
“It was crazy how fast points came up on the scoreboard,” said Bohlen, noting Grand View Christian was transitioning from 8-player to 11-player football this year. “We just told them (JV) to play like they are supposed to and just play hard.”
ANOTHER BIG NIGHT FOR LENOCH
West Branch running back Luke Lenoch rushed for 226 and four touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Jesup on Friday. He is the all-time leading rusher in Bears history, increasing his career total to 4,666. Lenoch beat the previous mark of 4,420 set by Cade Jones in 2012.
Lenoch also has 63 career rushing touchdowns, which is just three short of the record held by Jones.
Lenoch added 73 receiving yards. He has 482 rushing yards this season and 563 total offensive yards.
As a junior, Lenoch ran for 1,829 yards after a 2,105 performance as a sophomore. He ran for 250 and had 241 receiving yards as a freshman. Lenoch surpassed 5,000 career offensive yards and has 5,144 overall.
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