Colors: Red, Blue, Gray
Head Coach: Jim Clarkson (19th season) (93-92 career record)
2018 record: 5-4 (lost to Hartington-Newcastle in first round of playoffs)
Returning Starters: 4 offense 4 defense
The Clarkson/Leigh Football Team will be without the services of star running back Tommy McEvoy this season as he tore his ACL in the offseason. Head Coach Jim Clarkson says that’s prompted the team’s starting QB to step up in practice.
“Yeah Tommy will be a big loss for us, and of course that took a little wind out of our sails. But we’re starting to rebound now, and I think the kids have kind of stepped up. Quarterback Lance Paprocki has done a real nice job so far through fall camp of leading the team and kind of taking that voice over a little bit.”
Clarkson looks for Issac Wiese and Carter Hanel to step up this season as well.
The Patriots return 4 starters on offense and 4 on defense from last year’s playoff team.
The offensive returners are Paprocki (5’7, 140 JR QB/DB), Wiese (5’10, 150 SR RB/DB), Hanel (6’3, 195 SO TE/LB), and Layne Krutz (6’0, 270 JR OL/DL).
All but Krutz are also returning defensive starters as is Trevor Zulkoski (5’11, 180 JR OL/TE).
Others likely to play include Mitch Beeson (5’10, 200 SO OL/LB), DC West Transfer Eli Hays, Kobe Indra (5’11, 240 SR OL/DL), and Austin Sayers (6’0, 245 JR OL/DL).
The Patriots lost Travis Stanley, Douglas Pocasangre, Raoul Heillman, Cort Pokorney, and John Langhorst to graduation.
Clarkson says the team is young and needs to perform well up front to be successful. “We return a lot of experience, but it will still be young experience. We will need to continue to improve in a lot of areas in order for us to get into the upper echelon of the class. Our depth will be improved but again it will be young depth and that may hurt at times during the season. As with any team our Offensive and Defensive line development will determine a lot in how the season will go. Opening the season with the Bacon Bowl (Howells-Dodge) hopefully will spark some extra focus in all our workouts leading up to that game.”
Clarkson/Leigh battles Howells-Dodge on the road in the Bacon Bowl on August 30th. Clarkson says his kids are ready for that game.
“Yeah it’s a rival. It’s 6 miles away, and it’s a friendly rival. And there’s not a lot of hate, a lot of respect in that one, but boy we’d sure like to tack them one of these years, and we’re going to give them our best shot here in a couple weeks here, so we’re pretty excited for that game to be here.”
The Patriots lost last year’s game at home, 34-16.
2019 Clarkson/Leigh Patriots Football Schedule:
08/30/19 @ Howells-Dodge
09/13/19 Humphrey St. Francis
09/20/19 @ Parkview Christian
10/04/19 Omaha Christian Academy
10/11/19 @ Cedar Bluffs
10/18/19 @ Mead