Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Less than a week into his second fall camp leading the Clear Creek Amana program Gabe Bakker could already tell his team had made progress.
Bakker told assistant coaches that day in August the believed the Clippers were more than a month ahead of where they were on the same day last fall.
In its season opener on Friday the Clippers demonstrated once again just far they have come since Bakker took over.
Clear Creek Amana overcame a slow start on offense and a 7-0 halftime deficit with 26 unanswered second-half points in a 26-7 road win at Mount Pleasant.
“I think we are ahead of last year and I really think that showed up in the second half,” Bakker said. “To be honest our offense struggled in the first half but we stuck together and handled adversity and really came out swinging in the second half and I don’t think happens a year ago.”
Exactly how much progress have the Clippers made in a little over a year under Bakker?
Time will tell exactly but the early reports suggest plenty.
Clear Creek Amana was outscored by 57 points during an 0-3 start to last season that included a 14-7 loss to Mount Pleasant in the season opener.
“I know it sure feels a lot better to win that first game this year than it did last year,” Bakker said. “It feels a lot better.”
It’s not just the win that has Bakker feeling good but how his team got to 1-0 has him excited.
Clear Creek Amana allowed a touchdown on the second drive of the game and had just one first down of its own in six first-half possessions.
Trailing 7-0 the Clippers rattled of 26 consecutive points in the second half.
Last season Clear Creek Amana scored 34 points total during its 0-3 start.
“I think it was a combination of things,” Bakker said of the second-half offensive success. “Our offensive line really fired off the ball our backs really ran hard, they were decisive in their cuts and we got one first down then two and all of a sudden the big plays happened.”
Clear Creek Amana had three touchdowns of longer than 29 yards in the second half.
Zach Kabbage had a 49-yard touchdown run and senior quarterback Andrew Rohret had a 29-yard scoring jaunt.
Rohret also hit Sam Stevens for an 84-yard touchdown pass.
In his first career start at quarterback Rohret accounted for 182 total yards and two touchdowns without committing a turnover.
“He didn’t turn the ball over and he really made some good decisions,” Bakker said. “He ran the ball well and when we had our shots to make a big play he hit it and it was a huge play for us.”
Clear Creek Amana will host Fairfield (1-0) in its home opener on Friday with a home game against Fort Madison (1-0) to follow.
The possibility of a 3-0 start looms for the Clippers following an 0-3 start to last season.
“For all programs, especially high school it kind of validates what you’ve been trying to do,” Bakker said of the early win. “Now that they can see that there is some success from what we did I really think it can build on confidence. Especially from a team that won three games last year.”
BACK TO BASICS: In its first game with a new rival City High went old school to pick up the win.
City High rolled up 403 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 38-21 win over Liberty High and had three players with 77 yards or more on the ground.
The 403 yards were the most for City High since it rushed for 418 yards against Muscatine in the 2014 season finale.
City High didn’t complete a pass in the win but got 181 yards and two touchdowns from junior Tonka Hickman and Malik Kimber added 122 yards on the ground including a 91-yard touchdown run.
Senior Max DePrenger had 77 yards and two touchdowns.
MAKING HISTORY: Liberty High had plenty of firsts in its varsity debut.
First touchdown (Jack Ankenbauer) first touchdown pass (Drake Woody to Dawson Zimmerman) and many more.
Liberty High came up short of its first win, falling to City High 38-21.
The Lightning will go for that milestone moment when it hosts Waterloo East (0-1) on Friday in its first home game.
GAUDET GOES LONG: One game into his senior season Jalen Gaudet appears comfortable in his new role as the go-to receiver in the West High offense.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound receiver averaged a stagger 53 yards per grab on three receptions in a 28-7 win over North Scott, with touchdown grabs of 80 and 75 yards.
Gaudet scored touchdowns on three of his four offensive touches, adding an 11-yard touchdown run.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: Solon junior receiver AJ Coons was more than Mount Vernon could handle in the Spartans’ 34-14 win.
Coons caught 10 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns as Solon stretched its winning streak to 16 over the Mustangs.
The 6-foot-4 Coons had touchdown grabs of 61, 27 and 3 yards and scored the first two Solon touchdowns as the Spartans built a 34-0 lead.
BEST OF THE REST: West High senior receiver Jalen Gaudet caught three passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for an 11-yard score in a 28-7 win over North Scott.
Liberty High junior Kaleb Williams rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in a 38-21 loss to City High.
City High junior Tonka Hickman ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in a 318-21 win over Liberty.
DEFENSIVE PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: West Branch opened the season with an impressive defensive performance and its senior leader was among the most productive in the Bears’ 32-6 win over West Liberty.
Senior linebacker John Hatfield had two sacks among his five tackles as West Branch recorded six sacks and held the Comets to negative rushing yards in the win
BEST OF THE REST: West High senior defensive tackle Landon Green was a force in a 28-7 win over North Scott with 3.5 of his five tackles going for loss.
Solon senior defensive back Dillon Hoit had two interceptions as Solon forced six turnovers in a 34-14 win over Mount Vernon.
Clear Creek Amana junior linebacker JJ Denny had a team-high 6.5 tackles and a sack in a 26-7 win over Mount Pleasant.