Clarinda will be looking to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2007 Friday, Sept. 13, when the Cardinals host Atlantic at Cardinal Field.
The Cardinals opened the 2007 football season by winning their first four contests and finished the year with a 5-4 record. Clarinda followed up a 48-14 season opening win at Shenandoah with a 35-6 home win over Red Oak; a 26-0 win at Perry; and a 21-6 home win over Lewis Central.
Clarinda also started the year 2-0 in both 2008 and 2014. In 2008, the Cardinals won their debut 19-7 against Atlantic and added a 24-20 win over Glenwood before being edged 16-13 by Battle Creek-Ida Grove. Clarinda finished the 2008 season at 6-3.
In 2014, the Cardinals started the season with a 60-14 win over Atlantic and a 36-27 win against Creston before being clipped 12-8 at AHST. Clarinda went on to post a 9-2 record for the season with its only other loss coming against Albia, 37-10, in the second round of the state playoffs.
However, Clarinda head coach Collin Bevins said Atlantic will provide a strong test for the Cardinals. Bevins is familiar with Atlantic from his high school playing days at Creston. The Panthers posted a 35-13 win over the visiting Trojans Friday, Sept. 6, after Atlantic started the year with a 49-13 home win over Saydel.
“Coming off a loss to Creston, they will be fired up to get back on a winning streak. This will be a little more personal for me because Atlantic is a big rival for Creston. We have to practice hard this week and see where the chips fall Friday night,” Bevins said.
Bevins said the Trojans have nearly a 50-50 split between the run and the pass on offense. They feature an elusive quarterback and a speed wide receiver that can take the top off a defense.
“This will be a true test for our defense. We have to focus on stopping the big plays. They have been successful hitting people over the top for big plays. If we can eliminate the big plays, and not get beat deep, we can be successful. But it only takes two big plays to put up 14 points,” Bevins said.
The Clarinda defense turned in a ferocious performance Friday, Sept. 6, at Red Oak to spur the Cardinals to a 40-0 non-district win. Bevins said the Cardinals held the Tigers to -4 yards in total offense, while only allowing Red Oak to cross midfield once in the game.
“Any time you can do that, it’s a pretty good night,” Bevins said. “We only started two possessions on our side of the 50-yard-line. When you have good field position like that you don’t have to travel very far to put points on the board. The less you have to travel, the better it is for the offense.”
Clarinda received a touchback on the opening kickoff Friday night. The Cardinals picked up a first down on their initial drive before being forced to punt.
Red Oak responded with two first downs on their opening drive. The Tigers advanced to the Clarinda 39-yard-line before being forced to punt.
The game was still scoreless early in the second quarter when Red Oak was forced to punt from deep in its own territory. Following a short kick, the Cardinals took possession at the Tigers’ 25-yard-line.
Clarinda immediately went to the air as quarterback Michael Shull connected with Nathan Lindsay for an 18-yard gain. Two plays later, Shull scored on a run of seven yards.
Using the swinging gate formation on the conversion, the Cardinals wound up going for two. However, a pass attempt was incomplete to leave the score 6-0 with 10:29 remaining in the first half.
Later in the second quarter, Shull collected his second interception of the season. Shull also had one tackle in the game.
Logan Green led Clarinda with 5.5 tackles Friday, while Crew Howard delivered four stops. Dagan Price and Cole Ridnour were each credited with 3.5 tackles in the game.
Ridnour also accounted for one of three sacks the Cardinals had against the Tigers. Lindsay and Grant Jobe provided the other two sacks as they finished with 2.5 and two tackles respectively.
“We went to a five man front midway through the second quarter,” Bevins said. “Our defense played good, disciplined football. If our linebackers are flowing like they did tonight, it’s going to be a good night for our defense. Once we put that five man front on the field we kind of took over defensively and controlled everything.”
The turnover set the Cardinals up at the Red Oak 29-yard-line. After converting a fourth and short situation on a run by Cole Ridnour, Clarinda finally settled for a field goal attempt.
Nathan Barnes responded by booting the 21-yard attempt through the uprights. The field goal gave Clarinda a 9-0 edge with 3:18 showing on the clock.
On the ensuing series, the Clarinda defense continued to exert its dominance and forced the Tigers to punt without gaining a first down. As a result, the Cardinals took possession near midfield with 1:36 to play in the half.
Not continent to sit on the lead, the Cardinals aggressively looked to move down field just as they did the week before against Shenandoah. Shull opened the drive with a 34-yard pass to Kory Rogers. He then hit Lindsay for a 12-yard gain.
Then, on first and goal, Shull picked up the last eight yards for this second touchdown. Barnes added the extra point to push the lead to 16-0 with 0:56 to go.
Shull completed five of his 12 pass attempts Friday for 94 yards. Rogers paced the receivers with his one catch for 34 yards, while Lindsay and Ridnour each finished with two catches for 30 yards.
On the ground, Shull added seven carries for 25 yards and the two touchdowns. Ridnour added three carries for 14 yards.
“Those late drives we had the last two weeks were big momentum shifts,” Bevins said. “Last week after halftime, however, we were a little complacent. This week, I challenged the kids at halftime not to have that lapse of focus coming into the third quarter. They responded with a three and out on defense, and then our offense went right down and scored another touchdown.”
Connor Brown punched in the touchdown to start the second half for Clarinda on a five yard run. Lindsay added the two-point conversion as the Clarinda lead swelled to 24-0.
On the next Clarinda series, Brown collected his second touchdown on another five-yard scoring run. Barnes tacked on the extra point to stretch the lead to 31-0.
Clarinda finished the night with 185 yards on the ground. Brown led the squad with 17 carries for 92 yards to go along with his two touchdowns.
Following another Red Oak punt, the Cardinals marched down the field behind a strong running attack that highlighted Brandon Stogdill. The junior capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.
Stogdill ended the contest with 10 rushes for 44 yards. Backup quarterback Wyatt Schmitt also earned some playing time down the stretch and contributed 10 yards rushing on three carries.
“We kept pounding the isolation play to the strong side in the second half and didn’t have to go away from it too much,” Bevins said. “That was a big part of the plan and that’s what we stuck to.”
The touchdown by Stogdill made the score 38-0 and initiated a continuous clock when play resumed in the fourth quarter.
Although Clarinda was able to play many of its reserves in the final quarter, the Cardinals continued to keep the pressure on the Tigers.
Red Oak was forced to punt from deep in its own end zone on the opening series of the final period. However, a bad snap forced the punter to step on the end line for a safety to make the final score 40-0.
“We applied enough pressure on their kicker that he got a little nervous. His kicks were not coming off as well as he would of liked them to,” Bevins said.
Clarinda at Red Oak
CHS 0 16 22 2 - 40
RO 0 0 0 0 - 0
CHS - Shull 7 run (pass failed), 10:29, 6-0
CHS - Barnes 21-yard field goal good, 3:18, 9-0
CHS - Shull 8 run (Barnes PAT good), 0:56, 16-0
CHS - Brown 5 run (Lindsay run good), 8:01, 24-0
CHS - Brown 5 run (Barnes PAT good), 4:01, 31-0
CHS - Stogdill 3 run (Barnes PAT good), 0:00, 38-0
CHS - Safety on Red Oak punt attempt, 9:43, 40-0
CHS Rushing: C Brown, 17-92; Stogdill, 10-44; Shull, 7-25; Ridnour, 3-14; Schmitt, 3-10
CHS Passing: Shull, 5-12-0, 94; Schmitt, 0-1-1, 0
CHS Receiving: Rogers, 1-34; Lindsay, 2-30; Ridnour, 2-30
CHS Tackles: Green, 5.5; Howard, 4; Price, 3.5; Ridnour, 3.5; Lindsay, 2.5; Rock, 2.5; D Brown, 2; Jobe, 2; McGregor, 2; Spire, 2; Larson, 1.5; C Brown, 1; Schmitt, 1; Shull, 1; Stogdill, 1; Childs, 0.5; Dow, 0.5; Fast, 0.5; Jones, 0.5