Seniors to lead the way in CCA football
North Liberty Leader
TIFFIN– Last year, in his first season with the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers, Matt Hughes and his co-coach and father Ronnie Hughesintroduced a new system, changing things from the way predecessor Rodney Walls conducted business on the gridiron. While the Clippers put up some wins they ended up with a 4-5 record.
This year, Hughes expects a better outcome.
“I feel that going into our second year, the kids have put in the work to have a fantastic season, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” he said. With a dozen seniors back for the starting line-up, Hughes has reason to be optimistic.
Tanner Bandy returns as a wide receiver/defensive back, Drew Wagner is back as an offensive lineman/defensive lineman, Stephen Jensen is back at fullback/line-backer as is Harry Lucas. All four earned All-District honors for their 2013 season.
Also back is Nile Rourke at quarterback/defensive back, Sage Spiker at offensive line/defensive line (also a 2013 All-District pick), Sebastion Calderon as a tight end/linebacker, Jacob Aldrich at offensive line/defensive line, Keyan McAreavy at wide receiver/defensive back, Javon Manard at wide receiver/defensive back, Josh Fultz at offensive/defensive line and Ben Gingerich pulling duty as a running back and linebacker. Junior Aaron Akers is also returning to the starting lineup at tight end/linebacker. Akers also received All-District honors last year.
The Hughes duo will also be relying on a handful of newcomers to add depth. Max Moore, a sophomore, will work the offensive and defensive lines. Chase Rourke, a senior, will work as a wide receiver and defensive back. Corey Siders, a sophomore, will have a turn at quarterback as well as defensive back while Drake Shores, a junior, will be a running back/defensive back. Robbie Swails, a junior, will also work as a quarterback and defensive back, Grant Helle, a senior, is a tight end/linebacker and Mitch Stopko, a senior, will be a running back/defensive back.
“We have a lot of returning starters coming back who really know and understand our system,” Hughes said, noting it is typical for schools the size of CCA to struggle with depth. Overall the coach sees a very competitive Class 3A District 5, which consists of Davenport Assumption, the Clippers, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant and Washington. “Washington and Assumption are powerhouses year after year,” Hughes said.
The season kicks off on Friday, Aug. 29, with a non-district game at Class 2A Center Point-Urbana. The Clippers will defend the home turf a week later as Class 2A Mid-Prairie, Wellman visits.