It was a happy Homecoming for the Clear Lake Lions. Friday night they topped Crestwood (1-2), 45-7, in their final non-conference match-up of the early season. The win lifted the Lions to 3-0 and a sixth place ranking in Class 3A.
The Lions, who last year were tested by Crestwood in a 19-12 game, were in complete control this go-round. Clear Lake’s offense ground out 341-yards on multiple sustained drives, while the defense held the Cadets to just 135-yards.
It took only about two-minutes for the Lions to put points on the board. The Lion defense quickly struck down the Cadets on their opening possession. Then, on the third play from scrimmage a screen pass from the Lions’ Brock Adams to Carter Hand resulted in a 60-yard scamper to the endzone. The PAT by Logan Kracht made the score 7-0.
A Lion drive which started late in the first quarter ate up most of the second quarter and resulted in another Clar Lake score with 5:43 left in the half. Pete Swenson followed the wedge into the endzone from the one for a score. The drive used 19 plays to move 85-yards and the PAT made it 14-0. With just under a minute to go in the half Swenson snagged an interception, giving the Lions another scoring opportunity.
When the drive stalled, Kracht unleashed a mighty kick. His 47-yard field goal sent the Lions into halftime with a 17-0 lead.
Adams connected with Alex Webb for a 14-yard TD early in the second half and a Kracht kick made it 24-0. A 38-yard completion from Adams to Chandler Diercks provided more Lion points in the third.
Crestwood avoided the shutout with a help from the Lions. The Cadets recovered a fumble at the Lion 26, then used two pass plays to score. They followed up the TD with an onside kick, which backfired. Connor Nosbisch returned the ball 50 yards for a score.
Alex Gonzalez provided the final Lion score, taking the ball in from the one. Another Kracht PAT made the final 45-7.
“At times we played well,” said a reserved Head Coach Fred Wieck after the game. “Our offense is still a little shaky.”
Still the head Lion acknowledged Adams’ ability to “ad lib” and make great plays. “It isn’t always like we draw it up, but he makes it work,” said Wieck.
Adams finished with 7/15 passing for 151-yards in the game. Hand caught two passes for 68, Diercks had one for 39, Lester one for 18 and Swenson one for 11-yards. Lucas Ruppelt had one catch for a yard.
Adams also ran the ball for 50-yards on eight carries to lead the Lions. Hand finished with 36-yards on nine carries, Gonzalez had 26-yards on five, and Lester and Swenson each ran for 25-yards. Lester carried four times and Swenson toted the rock six times.
The Lion defense dominated-- holding the Cadets to just 28-yards in the first half and 135 in the game. Tamarik Lee and MaKean Bang led the team in tackles with 10 and nine respectively. Three of Lee’s tackles were solo efforts and one went for a loss. Tim Franken, Mitch Keeran, Chase Lester, Zach Merfeld, Connor Nosbisch and Pete Swenson all had five tackles apiece. Mitchell Jordan and Zach Tatum each had four. Merfeld, Nosbisch, Swenson and Tatum also had a solo tackle for a loss.
“Our defense grew up tonight-- and they’d better-- we start district play next week,” noted Wieck.
The Lions open District 3 play with a tough opponent. Clear Lake will be at Waverly-Shell Rock (2-1).