2017 KHQA Barnstorm Tour-Stop Six: CLARK COUNTY INDIANS
DUERRISMS TOUR NOTES FROM OUR TUESDAY VISIT TO KAHOKA
THE SKINNY: The Indians bit the bullet in 2016, played a ton of underclassmen, and finished an uncharacteristic 2-8 on the year. The upshot of that approach, however, is that Clark returns one of the most veteran clubs in the Cannon. The Indians will go to battle with 14 returning Lettermen and 17 starters back (9 on Offense/8 on D) In talking to coaches around the Conference this week, every single one of them has mentioned the danger Clark poses or how this seems to be a rising group for 2017.
TURF WARS: The newly installed turf at Clark County looks tremendous. I took a side trip out from my "adventures in Cattle showing" appearance at the Clark County Fair to check it out and when it is finished, I am not sure there will be a better facility in our area. The Track is still a work in progress but everyone I have spoken with expects that to be finished in time for Opening Night....
WHICH REMINDS ME: What a way to christen the new field. Defending Class 1 State Runner-Up Monroe City will be in town for the affair and Panther Coach David Kirby already expressed to me this week what a potential trap this could be for his team; not only in terms of atmosphere, but also allowing for the fact Monroe dropped a 52-0 bomb on the Indians last season. Expect an emotionally charged night.
THE POINT GUARD COMETH: As an added bonus to all that returning talent, Clark County has convinced lightning quick basketball/baseball star Zeb Riney to try his hand at Football this Fall. He resisted the urge last year, dealing with a bulky elbow that he wanted to rest for his ace of staff turn this Spring. After throwing without incident for Jerry Jerome, Zeb felt comfortable in giving a third sport a whirl. He is likely to slot at Wide Receiver in combination with a pair of nifty Junior targets (Levi Sommers and Kyle Anderson) and get plenty of run as a Return Specialist. He could also end up as the Indians Nickle Back. Talk about a windfall get for this program.
LONDON CALLING: Didn't get to see him throw much in Camp on Tuesday (Defensive Day) but London Brunk tells me he feels a lot more comfortable at Quarterback in his second go round. The game has not only slowed down for him, but Ethan Allen noted that Brunk paid the price in the weight room to get more durable this Summer. The Clark Skipper also credited London's mental resolve, saying he was coached very hard last year and responded well to it. More than that, I get the sense that having a terrific Offensive Line in front of him (four starters back with Brad Forquer, Jack Hunziker, Cooper Blum, and good looking Junior Kyle Goldbricht) is also a nice security blanket.
TAKING THE PLENGE: Clark Defensive Coordinator Bryan Plenge is a proud guy and the 36 points per game his group gave up last year probably gnawed at his soul for the better part of the Off Season. On deeper reflection, I would argue that his group last year was far better than the statistics suggested. Clark's overall performance there was undercut by the fact that the Indian Offense struggled to stay on the field. All those three-and-outs seemed to cause Defensive attrition in the second half of games. I really like this talent pool. Jack Hunziker is to Defensive Ends in the Conference what Jeffery Smoot of Macon is to tackles. The Linebacker group is loaded with Brad Forquer and Chayson Kleine imbuing that mid-level with force and strength to fight against the run. Garrett Brammer had 56 tackles a year ago, but is still a bit underrated. (Don't sleep on him breaking out at Fullback either) And the Secondary is sneaky good. Again, assuming a big uptick in the production of the Indian Offense, this should be an upper-echelon defense in the Cannon.