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Let victory ring

CCA denies Washington 20-17
The Clear Creek Amana Clippers and their fans gather around the bell while Drew Wagner (77) and Stephen Jensen (42) ring it with vigor after a 20-17 win over the Washington Demons Friday, Sept. 12. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

TIFFIN– Clear Creek Amana (CCA) coach Matt Hughes summed up his team’s 20-17 win over the Washington Demons in one word. “Unbelievable!”
“I’m so proud of these kids,” Hughes said. “I’ve never seen a group of kids that took what we did in the off-season, and the hard work that they put in, and applied it to the football field for four quarters. They had a lot of things that went against them tonight, had some adversity, but they came up and they never quit. They kept their heads up and they had confidence they could do it.”
Adversity and a confidence shaker came early, on the first drive of the game in fact, as the Demons received the opening kick-off and two minutes later were in the end zone and up 7-0. The Clippers took their first possession of the night and steadily marched toward the Washington goal line. Aaron Akers made a one-yard rush with 3:59 left in the first quarter to put CCA on the scoreboard. Jon Jacobson nailed the extra point kick and the game was tied, 7-7.
In the second quarter, the Demons struck again on a 41-yard touchdown run. A good kick made it 14-7. With 39 seconds remaining in the half the Clippers were bogged down deep in Demon territory. With little chance of a touchdown, Jacobson was called upon for a field goal attempt, and from 30 yards out, he made it. The teams headed for the halftime break with the score Washington 14 and CCA 10.
“That first half was crucial for us,” Hughes said. The Clippers, he said, “found out they could play with them, and it’s the confidence that kept building and building.” Hughes said he told his troops before the game they had “nothing to lose, so just go out and play as hard as you can. Forget about everything, the pressure’s not on us. Just go out there and play football… and that’s exactly what they did. It was unbelievable.”
During the break he reminded them it was a ballgame. “I tried to instill the confidence that hey, we’re in this thing, we’re right there with them… you can play with them, you know it now, let’s go out there and finish this thing… and they responded.”
Keyan McAreavy responded in the third by intercepting a Demon pass, which likely would’ve led to another Washington touchdown. The Clippers took the ball over starting out on their own one-yard line. The drive was arguably one of the shortest, and most successful in Clipper history as Nile Rourke passed to Tanner Bandy, who ran the length of the field for 99 yards and a touchdown. Again Jacobson booted the ball through the uprights and CCA had a 17-14 lead.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Demons put up a field goal with 1:46 left in the period to tie the game again, this time at 17-all.
Good luck smiled upon the Clippers again in the fourth as a Rourke pass was intercepted for a Demon touchdown. But, flags flew and a blocking penalty on Washington erased it. The Demons still had the ball though, and started another assault on the Clippers. A long pass into the end zone overshot it’s intended receiver, and CCA got the ball on downs, one of several defensive stands.
Rourke again connected with Bandy, putting the ball deep into Washington territory, but once again they were bogged down short of the goal line and went with a field goal attempt. From 23 yards out, Jacobson sent the ball downtown and the Clippers again had the lead at 20-17 with 4:34 remaining on the clock.
McAreavy became the hero of the game with a critical interception with 41 seconds remaining, thwarting Washington’s final drive.
Hughes commented on the breaks that fell the Clippers’ way saying, “We made the breaks. I feel when you play hard, you make your own breaks and they did an unbelievable job. They kept their confidence; they kept going and kept firing.”
The coach credited his offensive line saying, “(they’ve) really gotten good. They’ve taken control of the trenches. If we’re gonna be successful this season, it’s gonna happen with the offense.” On the other side of the football it was, “business as usual. We’ve got a really, really solid defense. Those defensive linemen were unbelievable, the linebackers played incredible… Keyan (McAreavy) with that interception at the end, I mean, they just come up with big plays when we need it.”
Hughes also complimented the Demons on the fight they put up. “He was a really good quarterback on the Washington side, he ran the ball hard, and we haven’t seen that yet. And, I think this win, over a great Washington team, is going to just help us and propel us in the rest of the season.”
Washington put up 357 yards of offense to CCA’s 349 and out-rushed the Clippers 282 yards to 125. Rourke completed seven of 15 passes for 224 yards with Bandy taking four for 163 yards. Chase Rourke caught one for 13 yards, Mitch Stopko had one reception for nine yards and McAreavy had one for 39 yards.
Bandy was the leading rusher going 98 yards on 18 attempts. Nile Rourke kept the ball six times for 14 yards and Aaron Akers also went 14 yards on six attempts.
Defensively Drew Wagner had 13 tackles total, Akers had 11, Sage Spiker had nine and Stephen Jensen had eight. Spiker and Wagner both had a pair of sacks in the fray as well.
The Clippers improved their record to 2-1 and rose to the top of Class 3A District 5 while dropping the Demons to 1-2.
CCA is on the road Friday, Sept. 19, at Fort Madison and will be back at home on Friday, Sept. 26, to face Keokuk.