On paper, Cleveland vs. host Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton looked like it would be a competitive matchup, but the Bulldogs, who came into the contest 0-2—but had put up a good fight against Lester Prairie—got up early and never looked backward in a 41-13 win.
It didn’t help the Clippers when 6-3, 215-lb lineman Nick Simonette left the game with an injury before the second series ended.
“We can’t lose our captain who has the most size and most experience and have that not affect us, said head coach Erik Hermanson. “It hurts on defense because they’re going to run where he was gone. But I was really proud of how we rolled with the punches and kept playing and didn’t implode. It’s a sign of character. No matter how small or young we are, we have great kids.”
Switching jerseys, running back and linebacker Gabe Sullivan (running above) took over for Simonette but had to fight through an injured ankle for much of the game.
“He had to play line after not practicing it for even a second all year, but he plays in incredible because he did what the team needed,” Hermanson said. “He didn’t care what Gabe likes. The team needed him, and he stepped in and did it. That’s why he’s a captain and Cleveland is so proud of him.”
The Clippers finally got on the board with 7:34 in Q4 when Kale Kelley scored on a 12-yard run. Playing in his first game of the season after suffering a shoulder injury, Bode Bartell reeled in a Blake Lyons pass and then fought his way for some extra yards for a 44-yard catch and run to set up the TD.
The Clippers’ PAT kick was off the mark.
Later, the Clippers scored on a 71-yard campaign. Tanner Simonette caught a 15-yard pass, Sam Ternes hauled in a 2-yard pass, and Nathan Seeman caught an 8-yard pass. Possin ran for 13 yards, and Carson Lyons caught a 32-yard pass before QB Blake Lyons ran the last three and crossed the goal line.
Possin’s PAT kick was good for the 41-13 final.
The Bulldogs drove 56 yards after the opening kickoff on run plays and a 24-yard pass. The run came on a 1-yard dive, and with the PAT kick, JWP led 7-0.
The Clippers gained about 50 yards in their first possession but turned the ball over on downs on the JWP 25.
It looked like the Clippers had the Bulldogs stopped in their next series when a penalty put them at fourth and 15, but on a 40-yard pass, they scored again, and with the PAT kick, they were up 14-0 early in the second quarter.
While last week, most of the game went the Clippers’ way, in this one, it didn’t as the Bulldogs intercepted quarterback Blake Lyons’ deflected pass at midfield and then ran the ensuing snap all the way to the end zone. With the PAT kick, the Clippers trailed 21-zip with 7:03 left in the half.
Later in Q2, the Bulldogs intercepted another Lyons pass and then scored on a 73-yard catch and run. With the PAT kick they led 28-0 at the break.
The Clippers received the kickoff to start the second half. Kale Kelly ran for 33 yards. A holding penalty after the next snap cost them 15, and facing fourth and 20, they punted.
Possin’s punt landed on the JWP 12, but a few plays later, the Bulldogs scored on a 68-yard catch and run. The PAT kick sailed wide, but the Bulldogs were comfortably up 34-0.
After intercepting another pass, the Bulldogs took over on their 44 and then scored again, this time with a 9-yard pass. With the point-after kick, they were up 41-0 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the third frame.
Lyons completed 20 of 34 throws for 255 yards. He gave up three interceptions.
With five catches for 101 yards total, his brother Carson Lyons was his favorite receiver. Kelly grabbed seven catches for 44 yards. Tanner Simonette had three catches for 44 yards Bartell had one catch for 44 yards, and Seeman had one catch for 8 yards.
Kelley took 10 handoffs for a total of 68 yards. Possin ran eight times for 29 yards, and Blake Lyons ran six times for a total of 3 yards.
Possin punted three times for a total of 91 yards. His longest was 32 yards. Kelley returned three punts. Two for no gain and one for 19 yards. He also ran three kickoff returns for a total of 52 yards. Tanner Simonette ran three kickoff returns for 43 yards.
Brady Bostic had a pair of solo tackles and two assists. Blake Lyons had three solo tackles and four assists. Sullivan had two solos and three assists. Tanner Simonette had three solos and one assist. Braeden Smith had four solos and one assist. Kelly had one assist. Gavin Karels had one solo. Ian Vlasak had two solos and one assist. Mason Kluntz had two solos and three assists with to tackles behind the line. Alex Johnson and Possin each had one solo tackle.
The Clippers host Mayer Lutheran, ranked eighth in the state, tomorrow (Thursday).
“It’s gong to be hard,” Hermanson said. “It’s a short week as usual, and we’re playing a great team. We’re going to do everything can. We’re going to try to put all players in situations where they can succeed and do everything about Cleveland. I don’t care whom we play. I want to do everything to get our kids better and make sure they love football and have an incredible experience, and they will.”
Around the district, Medford fell 64-6 to GFW. WEM lost 38-0 to Lester Prairie. Mayer Lutheran topped NRHEG 34-12. Randolph beat St. Clair/Loyola 18-14. NYA blanked USC 28-0.
Mason Kluntz got held on this play.
Kale Kelley returns a kickoff. Blocking out front is Gabe Sullivan.
Carson Lyons on the run.
Caleb Possin breaks through a defender.