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Clippers wreak havoc upon Chiefs

CCA 52, Keokuk 7, for a happy homecoming
CCA’s Mitch Stopko seemed to be very popular with the Keokuk Chiefs Friday, Sept. 26, during the Homecoming game. Here, a trio of Chiefs introduce themselves as they try to tackle the Clipper senior.

TIFFIN– There have been a lot of reasons to smile so far this varsity football season at Clear Creek Amana. Decimating the Keokuk Chiefs 52-7 Friday, Sept. 26, for the Homecoming game is one of them.
“That was a good one,” coach Matt Hughes said after the game. “It was just another team effort, these guys are just catching fire at the right time and each week they’re getting better and better just doing our base offense. We’re not doing anything crazy, just our base offense and just trying to get a little more aggressive week in and week out.”
It worked.
It worked very well, in fact, with the Clippers scoring on their first possession after Tanner Bandy boogied 49 yards to score. Jon Jacobson booted the ball through the uprights for the point-after kick and CCA had a 7-0 lead with 9:43 left in the first quarter. With 4:44 left in the period, quarterback Nile Rourke kept the ball and scampered one yard to score. Again Jacobson’s kick was good and it was a 14-0 ballgame. A field goal with 11 seconds remaining gave CCA a 17-0 lead.
The second quarter started badly for the Chiefs as Keyan McAreavy picked up the first of his two interceptions on the night. Shortly after, Bandy would go 63 yards for his second touchdown. Again, Jacobson drove the ball through the uprights and CCA was up 24-0 with 9:15 left in the half. McAreavy expertly anticipated a Chiefs’ pass, grabbed it for his second interception and returned it 34 yards for a Clipper touchdown. Jacobson kicked with a marksman’s accuracy and it was 31-0 with 7:42 until halftime.
For McAreavy it was his seventh interception this season and first for a touchdown.
“He’s playing really good football right now, and as long as other teams keep throwing at him, he’ll keep on getting those picks. I’m extremely proud of him. He’s an exceptional athlete,” Hughes said.
Pierre Buffard picked off another Keokuk pass, the tenth this season for the team. Mitch Stopko put an exclamation mark on the drive with a 20-yard dash and another Clipper touchdown. With Jacobson’s kick, it was 38-0 with 4:15 to the break.
The Chiefs found a rare hole in the Clipper defense with a 42-yard pass and their only touchdown of the night with 2:07 left in the half.
The Clippers came back at the Chiefs at full steam as Aaron Akers made a five-yard sprint to score with 32 seconds left to play in the second. Jacobson fired off another perfect kick and CCA held a 45-7 lead with a continuous clock as they cleared the field for the marching band.
“We played a little sloppy in the first half,” Hughes said, “(we had) a few un-sportsman-like penalties we need to clean up. One thing we always preach, you gotta play hard, but play with class.” The coach added the guys were “playing ‘til the whistle and the refs might’ve construed that as a late hit.” Along with shoring up the fouls, Hughes reminded them of the week before (against Fort Madison) where they were up 28-0 at the half, “and we came out in the second half and we just didn’t do anything. So the message at halftime was extremely serious. Let’s go out and continue and see if we can’t finish the game.”
The Clippers received the ball to start the second half and scored on that first drive as Bandy ran 35 yards to score. Again Jacobson’s extra point kick was true and CCA had the 52-7 lead. “Those guys came out in the first series in the second half and scored, so I knew they’d learned their lesson from last week,” Hughes said.
Hughes also made wholesale substitutions as the continuous clock ruled the half. “I think we got everybody playing time,” he said. “That’s what you want.”
The Clippers put up twice as many total yards of offense as the Chiefs at 434 to 212 with 318 of it on the ground. Bandy led in rushing with a dozen carries for 207 yards. Stopko made eight carries for 53, Ben Gingerich had five for 29 and Akers went 27 yards on six carries. Rourke completed four of seven passes for 100 yards. Robby Swails came in as quarterback in the second half, completing a single pass attempt for 16 yards. Chase Rourke had two receptions for 38 yards, Bandy grabbed three for 35 and Stephen Jensen had one for 27.
Defensively, Tim Mass and Sebastian Calderon led with seven combined tackles each with six solos for Mass and five for Calderon. Sage Spiker and Drew Wagner had five apiece, Cordarro Pearson and Logan Viktora were credited with four each while McAreavy, Nile Rourke, Alec Morris and Jensen had three each.
“The whole defense is playing lights-out,” Hughes said, “and our offense is starting to catch up, too. We’re hitting our stride at the right time going into the real meat of our season. We’ve got four games left and we’ve got to come out and keep improving.”
The team takes a 4-1 record on the road to Mount Pleasant Friday, Oct. 3. Hughes described the Panthers as “always dangerous.” After that, Davenport Assumption (after moving from 4A to 3A) comes to town Friday, Oct. 16. Hughes called them “very tough” and noted so far, “they’ve done really well.” Also upcoming are Vinton-Shellsburg and Fairfield to close out the regular season. “I think they’re all games we can compete and do well in if we just play our game,” Hughes said. “Our whole mentality this season has been, ‘just play for this next game.’ So now, it’s all about Mount Pleasant. Hopefully we’ll do what we need to do with them.”
Hughes said the guys “have a laser-like focus. They’ve never been in this position before and they’re hungry. They just want to keep on savoring every minute of this special season.”