Lions earn a place in the play-offs

(Above) Clear Lake’s Sean Wendel (74) and Max McKenna (77) try to make a hole for ball carrier Nick Danielson (5) who just received the hand-off from quarterback Jaylen DeVries.  -Reporter photos by Chris Barragy

The Clear Lake defense manhandled Crestwood 21-0 Friday night, assuring the Lions of a spot in the Class 2A play-offs next week.  The Lions must first face New Hampton in the regular season finale this Friday.  The outcome will determine who and where Clear Lake will play when the post-season begins Friday, Oct. 27.

Clear Lake (7-1, 6-0) basically beat Crestwood (4-4, 4-2) at its own game to lock up a playoff spot.  They were physically dominate, holding the Cadets to just 44-yards of offense while they piled up 270-yards.

“Our defense is playing extremely hard, fast and with great effort,” said Coach Jared DeVries.

The Lion defense recorded four sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.  Leading the way statistically was Dalton Grell with four solo tackles, along with Chase Stuver and Sean Wendel with three solo and two assisted tackles apiece.  Each player had a solo tackle for a loss and a solo sack.

Zach Lester recorded three solo tackles and Jared Penning and Luke Eggers each had two.  Lester also made an interception and Eggers recovered a fumble.

The Lion D set the tone right from the beginning, as a scramble ensued on the opening kickoff and Clear Lake nearly came away with the football.  On the second play from scrimmage Crestwood standout Clayton Ollendieck was flattened and had to leave the game.  In the first quarter the Cadets had just 19-yards of offense and two first downs.

The Lions got on the board in the first quarter after they recovered a botched punt attempt at the Cadets’ 24-yard line.  Nick Danielson scored the first of his two touchdowns on the night with 6:42 remaining in the period.  Danielson ran the ball in from five-yards out and Lester booted a PAT for a 7-0 lead.

The Lions’ intensity didn’t let down in the second half, as Danielson grabbed the kickoff and quickly had the ball near mid-field.  A 13-play 57-yard drive was capped by Danielson’s eight-yard run into the end zone.  Lester’s kick was good, 14-0.

Alex Snelling recorded the final score for the Lions.  After moving the ball from their own 34 to the Cadets’ 48, Snelling took four straight handoffs and finished in the end zone.  The 66-yard drive and kick made the final 21-0.

DeVries noted that while his defensive line was impressive, the offensive line gave his quarterback time to find receivers and cleared the way for his backs.

“Both sides of our lines played extremely well and over the course of the game I think we wore them out,” said the coach.

Jaylen DeVries completed seven of 17 pass attempts for 69-yards.  He threw one interception.  Lester caught four passes for 40 yards.  Drew Enke grabbed two for 23 and Danielson had one reception for six-yards.

Snelling topped the century mark with 102-yards on 19 carries.  Rhys Glidden and Danielson had 48 and 47-yards rushing respectively.  Glidden hauled the ball 11 times and Danielson made 12 carries.  DeVries kept the ball himself six times for eight-yards.

This week the Lions are expected to have seniors Speed Toyne and Dalton Mennenga back in the lineup after they have been out with injuries.

“Last night they were in full pads on full go at practice, so hopefully we are back at full strength.  It’s nice to have some depth,” said Coach DeVries.

The coach said he expects Friday’s home game against New Hampton (6-2, 5-1) to be very similar to the Crestwood game.

“New Hampton has the biggest lines in the district and are very physical.  We will have to be on our ‘A’ game,” he said.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Lions Field.

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