Clarinda learned a valuable lesson Friday, Sept. 27, against Panorama as the squad got away from playing its signature style of Cardinal football.
“We had a lot of mistakes that hadn’t happened before. We went back to doing some things we were doing in Week One. That’s not Cardinal football and not what we do,” Clarinda head coach Collin Bevins said. “The kids need to learn from those mistakes and move on. This is a new week, so if we dwell on that too long we’ll get caught again next week and that is not where we want to be at the end of the season. That was the message we shared with the kids from the moment the clock hit zero Friday night.”
After running the table in their four non-district games, the Cardinals opened district play against Panorama Friday at Cardinal Field. However, the Panthers upended Clarinda 33-3 in the contest.
Clarinda will have the chance to get back on track and even its district record at 1-1 Friday, Oct. 4, at Guthrie Center when the Cardinals battle the Chargers.
Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center will also be looking to bounce back from a tough loss Friday in the first week of district action. Like Clarinda, the Chargers posted a 4-0 record in their non-district schedule before falling 42-8 at Van Meter.
A run oriented team, ACGC has racked up 1,876 yards rushing through five games. The Chargers feature a two-pronged ground attack Kolby Jacobe and Gavin Cornelison.
Jacobe leads the Chargers with 630 yard rushing on 57 carries and has scored seven times on the ground. Cornelison has a team-high 10 touchdowns and 109 rushing attempts that have resulted in 622 yards.
“There is no secret what they like to do. They are going to come out and try to run the ball right down your throat. If you can’t stop that, you’re going to have a long night. But if you put them in second and long or third and long, they have to get away from what they want to do and that works in your favor,” Bevins said.
In contrast, Clarinda faced a balanced offensive threat Friday in Panorama. The Panthers came into the game having collected 415 yards rushing to go along with 514 passing yards.
Clarinda stood stout against the run Friday as they limited the Panthers to 55 yards on the ground. However, quarterback Domonic Walker found success through the air against the Cardinals as he threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns. He also reached the end zone on a one yard run.
“We knew their offense ran through the quarterback. We did a pretty good job containing him on the ground and against their running game overall. We just gave up too many balls over the top and had too much blown coverage,” Bevins said.
One of those deep throws came on the opening series of the game. Facing fourth and long from the Clarinda 28 yard line, Walker found Luke South in the back of the end zone as the Panthers went in front 6-0.
Although the Cardinals were forced to punt on their first possession of the night, Nathan Barnes was able to pin the Panthers back at their own 17 yard line.
On second down, Jakob Childs applied the pressure and forced Walker to get rid of the football. Panorama was flagged for intentional grounding on the play. After a short run, the Panthers were forced to punt from their own end zone.
As a result, the Cardinals took possession for their second drive at the Panorama 32 yard line. On third down, Michael Shull weaved his way up field for a first down. Shull had eight carries for 28 yards in the game.
As Shull was tackled on the run for the first down, Panorama was whistled for a horse collar tackle. The penalty set the Cardinals up with a first down at the Panorama 15 yard line.
After losing two yards with runs on first and second down, Clarinda went to the air on third down. Shull tossed a pass to the back of the end zone that sailed out of the reach of receiver Mason McClarnon to bring up fourth down.
Barnes trotted onto the field for a 35-yard field goal attempt. Barnes booted the kick through the uprights to cut the deficit in half, 6-3, as time expired in the first quarter. The field goal was the third of the year for Barnes.
“In warm-ups Nathan was hitting 40-yarders into the wind, so I didn’t second guess it at all. He has been a blessing in disguise for us this season. Any time we’ve been in a sticky situation, he has been able to get us out of it. If we can’t convert in the red zone he’s been able to still get us points. We are very lucky to have him,” Bevins said.
The Cardinals still trailed by three points as Panorama was forced to punt from Clarinda territory on its second series of the second period. Clarinda signaled for a fair catch on the punt, but muffed the kick and then Panthers came up with the recovery at the Clarinda 13 yard line.
Panorama only needed five plays to capitalize on the miscue as Walker scored from a yard out. The Panthers added the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 14-3 with 2:23 left to play in the first half.
“That is something we work on every day in practice. Muffing that punt and giving them the ball inside our 20 yard line just sucked the wind out of defense. They just made a big stop and now they have to go out there and do it again. We have to do better on special teams,” Bevins said.
Things then went from bad to worse for Clarinda. In an attempt to spark the offense and get back in the game, Bevins elected to go to the hurry-up offense.
Instead, the decision backfired as Wyatt Appleseth intercepted a second down pass from Shull and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Panorama tacked on the extra point to make the score 21-3 with 1:49 on the clock.
“We should never have been in that situation. We didn’t need it. I got away from who we are and what we do. That was a rookie head coach mistake. There was no need to go into the two-minute offense when we were getting the ball coming out of halftime. That was a mistake I learned from and will not make again,” Bevins said.
On the ensuing drive, Clarinda promptly went three and out behind an incomplete pass sandwiched by a pair of runs by Shull. Panorama called for a timeout after third down and then received the punt at midfield to take possession with 1:21 still to play in the half.
Following a short run by Walker, the Panthers connected on a 36-yard completion that set them up with a first down at the Clarinda 10 yard line. Then, on third down, Walker found Dillon Bennett on a scoring strike that made the score 27-3 at halftime.
“I take the blame for those last 13 points. They got too many opportunities to score points there at the end of the first half that shouldn’t have been there,” Bevins said. “During halftime I told the kids we weren’t playing Cardinal football. Everyone was trying to do too much and be Superman when we didn’t need Superman. I told them we have to flush that first half and move on. I thought we came out for the third quarter with a lot of energy, but we just couldn’t convert and score some touchdowns.”
Clarinda received the kickoff to start the second half. Nathan Lindsay delivered a strong return to the Clarinda 42 yard line. Lindsay also had the lone catch of the game for Clarinda for 15 yards.
During the drive, Connor Brown picked up a first down to move the football into Panthers territory. Brown led Clarinda with 20 carries for 54 yards.
However, the drive stalled and the Cardinals were forced to punt. Panorama responded with an extended drive that flipped field position before ultimately turning the football back over to Clarinda on downs.
Leading the defensive stand for the Cardinals was Logan Green as he recorded nine tackles including two solo tackles for loss. Dagan Price followed with seven tackles highlighted by three assisted tackles for loss and a sack assist.
Jarod McGregor teamed up with Price on the assisted sack and also had a solo sack against the Panthers. McGregor was credited with 4.5 stops overall, as was Crew Howard. Cole Ridnour also recorded 5.5 tackles on the night.
“Our defense played lights out the second half. I couldn’t be more proud of how those kids responded. They bounced back and played a whole different game of football,” Bevins said.
After allowing 27 points in the first half, the Cardinals held the Panthers to only six points in the second half. Those points came on a fourth down touchdown run from one yard out on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Panorama at Clarinda
PAN 6 21 0 6 - 33
CHS 3 0 0 0 - 3
PAN - Walker 28 pass to South (Cogil PAT failed), 6:58, 6-0
CHS - Barnes 35-yard field goal, 0:00, 6-3
PAN - Walker 1 run (Walker pass to Rizzuti good), 2:23, 14-3
PAN - Appleseth 30-yard interception return (Allen PAT good), 1:49, 21-3
PAN - Walker 10 pass to Bennett (Walker pass to Carstens failed), 0:32, 27-3
PAN - Allen 1 run (Allen PAT good), 11:06, 33-3
CHS Rushing: C Brown, 20-54; Shull, 8-28; Schmitt, 3-18; Ridnour, 1-3; Lindsay, 1-(-2)
CHS Passing: Shull, 1-8-1, 15; Schmitt, 0-4-0, 0
CHS Receiving: Lindsay, 1-15
CHS Tackles: Green, 9; Price, 7; Ridnour, 5.5; Howard, 4.5; McGregor, 4.5; Shull, 4; Dr Brown, 3; Lindsay, 3; C Brown, 2; Childs, 2; Rock, 1.5; Da Brown, 1; McAndrews, 1; McClarnon, 1; Schmitt, 1; Barnes, 0.5