Clippers catch fire against Golden Eagles
COLUMBIANA — Twelve points is the difference between the Columbiana Clippers knowing they could have a slip up down the stretch but instead having to play essentially one-and-done for the rest of the season.
The team lost two of their starting lineman in Steven DeBone and Quenton Cross. DeBone has been out since week two back will be back next week while Cross was lost to a season-ending injury last week.
It really is playoff football for the Clippers and it continued under the first real fall Friday night at Firestone Stadium as they beat the United Golden Eagles, 41-8, in Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference play.
“We started with a very hard schedule,” quarterback Jakob Cross said. “It doesn’t help either that we lost two very important linemen. It’s just given our team more adversity and I think we’re doing a good job of overcoming it. We’re making the most out of it.”
The United Golden Eagles (2-4, 1-1) found some early success on their opening drive marching the ball from their own 26 to the Columbiana 15 before the drive ended on downs. Their next six drives ended in punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, and fumble.
It wasn’t until the second drive of the game that the Clippers (3-3, 2-0) started getting their high-speed offense in gear as quarterback Jakob Cross threw and ran marching Columbiana 80 yards in less than two minutes when Hunter Zentner hauled in a 25 yard pass from Cross to give the Clippers the lead 7-0 with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Columbiana coach Bob Spaite said. “We can take advantage of almost anything. We have to compete against ourselves, that’s the number one thing. It’s about us doing what we need to do. When we’re focused, we’re pretty good.”
After a United punt, the Clippers struck again with Chase Franken hauling in a 73-yard pass from Cross to make it 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
Less than four minutes later, Cross’ 53-yard run made it 21-0.
On their ensuing possession, the Golden Eagles fumbled at their own 36 which the Clippers turned into more points when Xathon Cross hauled in a 9-yard pass from Cross to make it 28-0 with 2:14 left in the first half.
The scoring didn’t end there as the Clipper marched 79 yards in 37 seconds when Justin Rydarowicz caught a 10-yard pass from Cross to make it 34-0 at halftime.
“You want to be 1-0 on Friday nights,” Spaite said. “That’s all that matters. This week we made a special emphasis on the opponent was us. We have to compete. We have to play up to our ability. It’s not about the opponent we play. It’s all about playing up to your ability. Hopefully, they see it through.”
It was quite the first half for Cross as he threw 244 yards and rushed for 121 with four touchdowns through the air and one on the ground.
“It looks good on my part for me, but football is a team sport,” Cross said. “We had a great team effort tonight. I think we’re starting to finally piece it together like we need to.”
“He had a great game,” Spaite said. “He’s developed into a terrific leader, terrific captain. The seniors have done a tremendous job. He has a lot of weapons. When you have a lot of bullets in your gun, it makes things a lot of fun.”
It was a rough first half for United as the Eagles have lost 11 of their original 22 starters this season.
Tony Kocanjer’s 70-yard run pushed the lead out to 41-0 before Tyler Lippiatt’s school-record 99-yard run ended the shutout with 3:34 remaining. Lippiatt finished with 157 yards rushing on 18 carries.
“Coach O is a great coach,” Spaite said. “He is. I’m not just saying that. He’s a good friend. He does a great job with those kids. They were fighting uphill. They’re injured. Not too many programs could survive the injuries and stuff they’ve had to go through. He does a great job of getting them ready. They were ready to play. All credit to them. I thought our kids responded well.”
UNITED: 0- 0-0-8–8
C — Hunter Zentner 25 pass from Jakob Cross (Collin Schick kick), :38
C — Chase Franken 73 pass from Jakon Cross (Schick kick), 6:30
C– Jakob Cross 53 run (Schick kick), 2:55
C — Xathon Cross 9 pass from Jakob Crss (Schick kick), 2:14
C — Justin Rydarowicz 10 pass from Jakob Cross (kick failed), :23
C — Tony Kocanjer 70 run (Schick kick), 4:58
U — Tyler Lippiatt 99 run (Steven Anderson run), 3:38
First downs 11 16
Total Yards 256 474
Rushes-yards 38-192 24-217
Passing 64 257
Comp-Att-Int 4-6-1 13-16-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-15 9-72
Punts 4-34 2-41
RUSHING–United, Tyler Lippiatt 18-157, Steven Anderson 10-17, Grant Knight 7-11; Columbiana, Jakob Cross 7-121, Tony Kocanjer 2-71, Brady Dixon 3-12.
PASSING–United, Grant Knight 4-6-1-64; Columbiana, Jakob Cross 12-15-0-244, Tony Kocanjer 1-2-1-13.
RECEIVING–United, Nate Miller 4-64; Columbiana, Chase Franken 3-100, Hunter Zentner 2-32, Joey Bable 2-25.
INTERCEPTIONS–Columbiana 1 (Rydarowicz).
FUMBLE RECOVERIES–Columbiana (Franken).