BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
TIFFIN – As it was in 2017, the Fort Madison Bloodhounds took a 2-0 record on the road and found themselves overmatched trying to get a third win.
FMHS went 70 miles northwest of Fort Madison to be outmanned in a 0-38 loss to Clear Creek Amana in non-district high school football action Friday night.
Head Coach Tony Shiffman said the Clippers were everything the Bloodhounds saw on video and the Hounds just couldn’t execute outside of a couple drives in the second half in order to compete with 3-0 Clear Creek.
Fort Madison took the kick to open the game and got a first down on its first possession when Kaeli Maestro pounded his way inside and laid a hit on the Clippers’ safety that resulted in a 13-yard gain, but that would be about the best run of the night for the Hounds.
Lennon Barker hit Shaymour Redd-Donald for a five-yard gain to give the Hounds a 3rd and 5 but Barker got nothing going on the next carry and Fort Madison was forced to punt. The Clippers then took over at their own 44 and went 56 yards in nine plays including 27 yards on the ground from sophomore Alex Figueroa. Senior quarterback Andrew Rohret ran it in from seven yards out to put Clear Creek on the board with just over five minutes gone in the first period.
Fort Madison had a four-and-out on the next possession and Lennon Barker’s punt from the shotgun wiggled out of bounds at the Hounds’ 35. Rohret threw incomplete and then ran for nine to make it 3rd and 1, but Hound senior linebacker Sam Hayes sniffed out the next running play for a six-yard loss forcing the Clippers into a 4th and 4 situation.
But Rohret found senior Zach Kabbage in a seam down the Hounds’ left secondary for a 17-yard gain and a first down. The Hounds’ defense would hold over the next seven plays aided by two Clear Creek illegal motion penalties. But the Clippers managed a field goal from the 7-yard line to make it 10-0 with about 44 seconds left in the opening period.
Fort Madison took the next kickoff at the 20 on a touchback. On the first play of the series, senior Lennon Barker threw his first interception of the year when Rohret picked off a swing pass and was tackled at the 30. Then Rohret went to work and, on the Clippers first play, found senior Nolan Schwarting in the back corner for a leaping touchdown grab to make it 17-0 with the PAT.
The Hounds suffered another 4 and out and punted to Clear Creek’s 30. But their defense held again forcing the Clippers to punt and the kick rolled dead at the Fort Madison 48. Hayes again had another 3-yard tackle for a loss to help force the punt. He finished with 4.5 tackles on the night, with two coming for losses.
Fort Madison couldn’t do anything with the good field position and had to punt again, this time with Barker pinning Clear Creek at the 7.
The Clippers then reeled off 15 plays for 93 yards and another score on a nice catch in the back of the endzone by sophomore TJ Boller. Boller was heavily guarded by junior Jace Burgher who had good coverage on the 6’4″ Boller. Boller timed his leap perfectly and hauled in the Rohret offering while falling backward behind Burgher for a 29-yard scoring strike. The extra point was added for a 23-0 Clipper Lead.
Barker would get picked off again at 3rd and 10 from the Hounds’ own 43 yard line by Clear Creek’s Zach Cabbage who returned it to the Bloodhounds’ 42. The Clippers would cough up the ball on 2nd and 11 to the Hounds’ Romeo Maestro. The Hounds wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the fumble and punted back to Clear Creek who ran a couple runs with Figueroa, but let the half run out with the Ciippers up 24-0.
The Hounds kicked off to Clear Creek to start the second half and the Clippers would score on the fourth play from scrimmage on Rohret’s run through the Hounds’ left side for a 40-yard scamper.
With 10:38 left in the period, Fort Madison put together its best drive of the night, going 11 plays and 59 yards, and had 3rd and 2 from the Clippers’ 22 yard line when Barker was called for a questionable delay of game. The Hounds had the clap and snap before the whistle, but got flagged, and after a Barker incompletion, the Hounds turned it over on downs at the 27.
“It was execution. We’d get something going and then we’d get a bad play or a bad call and things that aren’t going our way,” Shiffman said after the game.” We need to learn to handle that and fight through.”
“It’s tough coming up to Iowa City from southeast Iowa because you’re not going to get any respect. That’s what we’re trying to get. We got outperformed, outworked, outcoached, out everythinged and that showed on the scoreboard.”
Clear Creek pushed the ball all the way back to the 4-yard line before Rohret coughed it up again, recovered by Romeo Maestro. But again the Hounds couldn’t get
anything going offensively to cut into the Clear Creek score. A Barker run and two incompletions forced a weak punt into the wind to the Hounds’ 12.
Rohret was brought down for a 4-yard loss and then the Clippers got hit with a false start that pushed them back to the 22. On 2nd and 19, Rohret slipped two tackles in the backfield on the next play and started running around the midfield area and appeared to cross the 21-yard line before junior Sam Stevens got free in the back corner of the endzone for the score. No flag was thrown on the play for passing beyond the line of scrimmage, but the Hounds got an unsportsmanlike penalty for arguing the call.
Barker had his softest outing of the year going 16-35 for 120 yards. Shaymour Redd-Donald left the game in the second quarter with an injury as did offensive/defensive lineman Jayden Fedler with a leg issue. Redd-Donald, who had 116 yards in catches last week only had nine yards on two receptions. Senior Dom Frantz led the Hound receivers again with three catches for 40 yards. Senior Trey Kuntz had 30 yards and Mike Mosena had five catches for 35 yards.
On the ground Kaeli Maestro had 12 carries for 40 yards to lead Fort Madison. On defense Diego Lozano had 8.5 tackles and Quentin Schneider had 8, both had two for losses. Romeo Maestro had 3.5 tackles and recovered two fumbles for the Hounds.
Shiffman said the Clippers didn’t change anything from what his coaching staff had seen all week.
“We prepared for what we saw all night,” he said. “We knew they were going to be good up front and this was a game where our lack of depth on the offensive and defensive lines showed.”
The Hounds fall to 2-1 on the year and travel to Burlington. The Grayhounds are 1-2 after falling 27-14 to Clinton on Friday.