Andale shuts down Clearwater
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ANDALE Given the option to begin Friday night’s Class 4A clash against Clearwater on offense or defense, Andale coach Gary O’Hair decided out of fear.
Up until that point, Clearwater’s spread offense and the pressure it applies all over the field had O’Hair uneasy this entire week. He was so worried, Andale assistants even sneaked glimpses at midfield of the Clearwater warmups before the game.
O’Hair’s decision to take the ball first kicked off what would be a dominant performance in a 37-7 rout that improved Andale, the No. 2 team in 4A, to 3-0.
“Their offense scared us so much, we just weren’t that confident we could stop them,” O’Hair said sheepishly. “We just went with what we were more confident with.”
Clearwater (2-1) found prior success this season by spreading the field with good athletes, letting quarterback Hunter Hall run an option attack with an occasional pass for a big play. It’s a formula that produced 47 points last week.
None of that occurred on Friday, as Andale’s defensive line of Trever Buckner, Nathan Bergkamp, and Anthony Capul dominated the line of scrimmage and held 15 of Clearwater’s 17 first-half runs to four yards or less.
The first nine Clearwater drives against Andale’s starters produced zero points and a 37-0 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
“I think we flustered them,” Buckner said. “I don’t think they’ve played a team that flies to the ball like we did tonight.”
Or a rushing factory like the one O’Hair has set up with Andale’s offense.
His confidence to begin the game was rewarded with an 8-play, 62-yard touchdown drive, the start of a 23-point first quarter that featured a 55-yard run by Tyler Mies to set up a score and a 70-yard scamper by Hunter Knoblauch for a touchdown.
When Knoblauch exited the game midway through the third quarter after scoring his third touchdown for a 37-0 lead, he had 195 rushing yards with an average gain of 13 yards per carry. Ten of his 15 runs, usually sweeps to the sidelines, ended in a first down or touchdown.
“Everyone knows Andale runs the sweep and they scout it hard,” Knoblauch said. “I like it because they know it’s coming and they over-pursue, so you can cut it back on them.”
Clearwater’s first three drives threatened, but ended in turnover or punts. Andale led 23-0 after nine minutes.
Hall (178 total yards) and Johnny Becker (108 total yards) led Clearwater (2-1).
“You have a game plan coming in and three drives later, you decide you probably need to look at something else,” Clearwater coach Dirk Ankerholz said. “Then you’re flying by the seat of your pants and you don’t know what you’ve got.”
Sometimes not knowing ends in disaster; other times it ends in discovering a commodity.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” O’Hair said. “I really had no idea we’d be able to cause them the problems we did. That was a pleasant surprise.”
A—Smarsh 2 run (Ast pass from Smarsh)
A—H. Knoblauch 4 run (Hermreck pass from Smarsh)
A—H. Knoblauch 70 run (Johnson kick)
A—Mies 12 run (Johnson kick)
A—H. Knoblauch 8 run (Johnson kick)
C—Hall 1 run (Jones kick)
Rushing—Clearwater, Hall 9-42, Becker 4-42, Roth 13-24, Wright 2-7, Adamson 4-0; Andale, H. Knoblauch 15-195, Mies 5-73, Capul 5-27, Konda 2-27, Reichenberger 5-16, Smarsh 7-9, Ma. Maus 1-7, Jansen 2-3, Walstad 1-3.
Passing—Clearwater, Hall 7-19-1-136; Andale, Smarsh 3-8-1-22.
Receiving—Clearwater, Becker 4-64, Rausch 1-29, Wright 1-24, Baughman 1-19; Andale, Hermreck 2-20, H. Knoblauch 1-2.