TIFFIN– A difficult football season plagued by adversity both on and off the field ended Friday night on a somber note.
The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers entered the contest against the Mount Vernon Mustangs with an 0-8 record, fighting to find a win on Senior Night. The Mustangs galloped into town with a 1-7 record and went away with a 35-24 win. Clipper Stadium cast a somber shadow Friday evening as the CCA community mourned the death of freshman Mackenzie Lown, lost in a two-car crash near the school earlier in the week. Five fellow students were injured, along with two adults in the second vehicle. Lown’s teammates on the cross country team and dance team released balloons in her honor before the game, while both varsity football teams wore special stickers on their helmets in honor of a young life stolen.
The Clippers scored on the first possession of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. The Mustangs answered soon after, but a failed point-after kick gave CCA a 1-point edge. A Caleb Sedlacek field goal put the Clippers up 10-6, but the Mustangs again found the end zone and followed-up with a 2-point conversion for a 14-10 lead going into the half.
The Mustangs added another touchdown in the third to go up 21-10, and scored twice more. The Clippers narrowed the gap with a pair of back-to-back touchdowns, but never regained the lead.
For the CCA crew, incomplete passes, a pair of interceptions and a pair of fumbles robbed them of scoring opportunities.
With only six seniors on the roster, Coach Rodney Walls expected it would be a difficult season in a district with powerhouses like Solon and Williamsburg. The Clippers said goodbye to seniors Dillon Villhauer, Sedlacek, Nash Stopko, Casey Rohret, Jeremy Walker and Tyler Schulte.
“I feel bad for my seniors,” Walls said, noting their efforts, particularly Villhauer’s, since coming off a three-game suspension to start the season. “He’s the Energizer Bunny.” Walls noted Villhauer topped 1,000 career yards of passing with the night’s performance.
Looking for positives in a 0-9 season, Walls paused and said “life lessons.” The coach took particular pride in his crew raising nearly $10,000 for cancer research through their “Tackle for the Cure” fundraiser in conjunction with the Sept. 30 game against Grinnell.
“I’m excited to see the future,” Walls said, saying the work toward the 2012 season would start Sunday in the weight room. “We’ll see how many show up for lifting.”