AMBOY – Week 1 of the 8-man football season saw No. 1-ranked Amboy beat No. 2 Polo.
So, when Amboy came into Week 3 still No. 1 and Milledgeville promoted to No. 2, it wasn’t an unfamiliar situation for the Clippers.
Struggles early on questioned Amboy’s undefeated status as the Clippers were trailing Milledgeville in the fourth quarter.
They dug deep, made huge plays, and stole the win, 40-36, to remain No. 1 and undefeated.
“It was a big game. Milledgeville came out and played really well against us. They ran a different type of defense than we expected,” Amboy coach Scott Payne said. “We were down 10 points with six minutes left. The kids never gave up. We had a little diversity and they took it head on and came back. They pulled off a great win for us.
“In their first two games, Milledgeville was playing a 3-3 defensive scheme. That’s what they were playing against us last year. On Friday, they were running a 6-2 front. They blitzed every gap with the two linebackers. They confused our offensive line.
“At halftime we made adjustments. The kids responded well to the adjustments and understood them. That was the difference in the second half for us.”
Many players were key throughout the game, but when it was time for a senior to lead, quarterback Tucker Lindenmeyer took the reins to put points on the board.
“We got the ball back and Tucker completed a 20-yard pass to Brennan Blaine. He broke a tackle and took off for a touchdown,” Payne said. “We got the 2-point conversion and we kind of stole the momentum right there. The kids were fired up and ready to go.
“We came out on defense and got a stop with about three minutes left. We went down the field and we scored in four plays. Lindenmeyer ran the ball in from about 30 or 40 yards out to score the go-ahead touchdown.
“It was one of those games that you enjoy watching afterwards, but when you’re going through it, it’s stressful.”
The lone Clipper senior finished 9-of-16 passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns, while adding over 100 yards rushing.
Lindenmeyer’s first touchdown throw was 10 yards to junior tight end Vincent Zembrzuski. Normally a blocking tight end, the TD catch was the first of the season for Zembrzuski.
The second and third of the QB’s scoring throws were to junior Brennan Blaine. The duo has connected for seven touchdown passes this season.
However, Lindenmeyer, Payne, the receivers, and now, opposing defenses, know anyone can catch a ball in the endzone for the Clippers.
“Friday night we had another receiver Troy Anderson step up. He was huge with two catches for 76 yards,” Payne said. “That caught Milledgeville by surprise. To have all of these options is great. It’s going to be hard for teams to defend us when we have so many different guys we can get the ball to and can score touchdowns.”
Next up for the Clippers is Milford at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 in Amboy.
This game could be the same situation as Polo and Milledgeville, No. 1 vs. No. 2.
“We have to have the same energy. Milford is coming to town and they’ll probably be ranked No. 2 or No. 3 after we beat Milledgeville,” Payne said. “It could be another potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 for three of the first four weeks of the season for us.
“Milford is a good football team with a lot of size up front. Their quarterback can throw the ball. We’re going to have to be absolutely ready to go defensively.”