Undefeated Clark uses deep, dependable running attack to beat RabyMike Clarkon October 10, 2021 at 1:48 am

Clark’s Yafae Cotton (4) finds running room against Rabi at Lane. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

The Eagles rarely pass, preferring to control the clock with a ground game featuring a variety of backs running behind a big, talented line.

There isn’t much razzle dazzle or mystery about Clark.

The Eagles rarely pass, preferring to control the clock with a ground game featuring a variety of backs running behind a big, talented line.

The formula comes in handy when there are unexpected hurdles along the way. On Saturday, the Eagles were without leading rusher Quadrell Hill, who hurt an ankle playing basketball earlier in the week. One of his backups, four-year starter Yafae Cotton, suffered a dislocated elbow on the first play from scrimmage of the second half.

But Clark kept plugging away and rolled to a 44-8 Illini Prairie State win over Raby at Lane to remain unbeaten.

Willie Taylor ran 15 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles (7-0, 4-0), who can win the conference title outright when they meet Payton (5-2, 3-1) on Thursday.

But Clark has bigger goals than conference this season. The Eagles are 0-5 all-time in the IHSA playoffs, but believe they can make some noise in Class 3A — much like Raby did in a run to the 4A semifinals four years ago.

“I wish they would have sustained that, because we need that on the West Side,” Clark coach Kevin Simmons said.

“I would love to make it past the first round. I think we have a good chance to host first round and I think we have a good chance to make it out of the first round.”

If they do, it’ll be behind that ground game. That starts up front with a line anchored by Elijah Edwards, the unit’s oldest member

“Since I’m the only senior on the line, they look up to me,” Edwards said. “So I’ve got to work hard for them to work hard. If I do bad, then they do bad. So I’ve got to work my hardest.”

That helps open holes for Taylor and Keondre Pitts, who ran 14 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns. They kept the ground game rolling even without Hill, who ran for 740 yards in the first six weeks.

“We practiced hard knowing he was going to be out,” Taylor said. “We built a system to be ready for the game.”

Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times
Raby’s Kierre Turner (1) is brought down by Clark’s Jassani Freeman (11).

Clark also had a 35-yard punt return for a score by Lamar Phillips and backup quarterback Dontrell Starks’ 17-yard TD pass to Kejuan Fountain.

Raby (4-3, 2-2) had a 54-yard TD pass from Jalen Monroe to Marshaun McKinney.

Taylor said Cotton’s injury, which led to a lengthy delay while he was attended to, was tough to get through.

“It was real emotional,” he said. “I love all my guys. To see him go out like that, I just felt I had to do it for him,” Taylor said.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *