JEFFERSON – Clarinda football turned the ball over three times and allowed Greene County to control the clock in a 24-0 Ram victory, Friday, Oct. 23 in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Clarinda’s season ended with a 4-5 record while Greene County earned its sixth consecutive win to improve to 7-2. The Rams are one of 16 teams left in Class 2A and will travel to PCM in the third round Friday.
The Cardinals and Rams were even in passes attempted and nearly even in rushing yards per carry, but Greene County completed two more passes, both for touchdowns, and the Rams had 30 more rushing attempts than the Cardinals.
The Clarinda defense made some big stops during the game, including on the first drive. The Rams drove the ball down to the Clarinda 12 yard line, but two big losses gave the Cardinal defense the stop on downs.
A 17 yard run by Tadyn Brown started Clarinda’s first offensive series. The Cardinals picked up another first down to penetrate the Ram side of midfield, but a fumble ended the drive.
The Rams took advantage with a seven play, 55 yard drive that ended with a 21 yard touchdown pass from Bryce Stalder to Jesse Miller. The extra point gave the Rams a 7-0 lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter.
A 10 yard pass to Cole Ridnour on third down kept Clarinda’s second drive moving, but another fumble ended it -- and gave Greene County great field position early in the second period.
The Rams converted a fourth down on the drive and ended up at Clarinda’s two before the drive stalled. The Rams would add to their lead, though, on Nathan Behne’s 21 yard field goal.
A punt ended Clarinda’s next drive after one first down, and then the Rams turned it over in the red zone with a less than a minute to go until halftime. A 29 yard pass from Wyatt Schmitt to Michael Shull moved the ball into Greene County territory, but the Cardinals ran out of time and trailed 10-0 at halftime.
The Cardinals had the ball first to start the third quarter. A good return and a first down put them in Ram territory, but they would go no farther and punted the football.
Greene County answered with a 10 play, 80 yard drive with tailback Nathan Black picking up every yard on the drive. He found the end zone with a 23 yard run on fourth down and one. The extra point extended the lead to 17-0 with 3:19 to go in the third quarter.
The Rams drove it down to the Cardinal one on their next drive, which started after a Clarinda fumble, but were turned away on downs.
A four yard touchdown toss from Stalder to Jaxon Warnke finished the scoring with an even one minute remaining on the clock.
Black carried the ball 39 times and gained 186 yards with a score. Clarinda head coach Collin Bevins said the Ram offense simply out-executed the Cardinal defense.
“They didn’t do anything different,” Bevins said looking back at the previous matchup three weeks earlier which the Rams won in overtime. “We made some adjustments, but didn’t execute them. They ran the ball at will. We had guys in position, but missed a lot of tackles.”
Bevins said his team had some early success on offense, but Greene County adjusted and his team couldn’t adjust back.
“Our power stuff was working,” Bevins said, “but they adjusted to it and left our fullback nowhere to go. We teach the guys from day one that the power never bounces, but when a team is playing it like that you have to bounce it. We never got a chance to go back to it because they controlled the ball and controlled the clock.”
Brown led Clarinda’s rushing attack with 67 yards on 14 carries. Wyatt Schmitt added 21 yards rushing and also passed for 45 yards. Both are part of a group of sophomores and juniors, who played a lot this season and will be key for the program going forward.
“We have a lot of youth,” Bevins said, “and it’s no secret to them that we want to get back to Clarinda football from the early 2000s, where teams knew what you were going to do, but still had to stop it. That’s the direction we want to take this program.”
Ridnour led the defense with 10 tackles, leading a group of 10 seniors that Bevins said meant a lot to the program.
“They bought in from day one,” Bevins said. “They know where we want this program to go and are all on board. Hopefully they’ll have success with their winter sports and the culture at Clarinda keeps growing. Those guys are in the forefront of it.”
Brown added 8.5 tackles. Logan Green contributed 5.5 tackles, 3.5 for loss. Grant Jobe and Ethan Fast finished with five tackles each.
The Cardinals ended the season with a 4-5 record in Class 2A after spending two seasons in 1A. Three of the four wins came over rivals Shenandoah and Red Oak.
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