Change in routine doesn’t stop Clippers

Defensively, A-L-O allowed eight points for the second straight week which is the most of the season as they earned a Week 1 shutout against Decatur Christian Unity. Photo courtesy of Brenda Merriman

Amboy- LaMoille-Ohio beats Martinsivlle 60-8

AMBOY – The typical week for a football team is to practice Monday through Thursday and have a game on Friday whether it’s on the road or at home.

Week 3 of the football season threw all kinds of monkey wrenches at the Amboy-LaMoille-Ohio football team this week as they had a 2 p.m. Saturday kick off in Martinsville, which is a four-hour hike.

Coach Scott Payne and his crew drove down the night before and gave the Clippers memories they won’t forget, including a 60-8 victory over Martinsville.

“The kids played really well. We were kind of out of our routine having to stay down there on Friday night,” said Payne, who has led his team to a 3-0 mark. “The kids adjusted to it real well and they went out and just played a great football game in all three phases of the game.

“It was a four-hour drive, so we went down on Friday and stayed at a hotel in Effingham. We drove the rest of the way on Saturday morning. It was a good experience for the kids. Not many high school football teams get to have an overnighter. It was a good experience and they had a good time.

“I was looking for signs before the game that the change in routine may affect them and I didn’t see any difference than how it would be in Amboy getting ready to take the field. 

“The kids did a great job mentally preparing for the game.”

The Clipper’s offensive onslaught started with a 34-yard touchdown run from senior Landen Whelchel in the first quarter. Junior Quinn Leffelman added to the scoreboard with a 10-yard rushing score and added a 2-pt. conversion run.

In the second quarter, the offense exploded for five touchdowns as junior quarterback Eddie Jones ran in a 10-yard touchdown (Whelchel 2-pt. run), Jones found Whelchel for a 47-yard touchdown pass, Jones linked with senior tight end Brennan Blaine for a 70-yard scoring strike (Blaine kick good), Whelchel ran in a 51-yard touchdown (Blaine kick good), and Leffelman hauled 82 yards for a score (Troy Anderson kick good).

 “I talked to the kids after the game on Saturday. I said, ‘It was a great second quarter, but sometimes I wish we could start playing like that right off the bat in the first quarter,’” Payne said. “Maybe it just takes them a little time to get warmed up. They’ve done a great job every second quarter of each game this season so far.”

The scoring ended for the Clippers in the fourth quarter after a 2-yard run by Leffelman (Leffelman 2-pt. run) for his third touchdown of the game.

The special teams played well against Martinsville as the unit set the tone for the game when Austin Heath blocked the Martinsville punt at the end of its first possession to give the Clippers the ball at the 20-yard line and give them the momentum they wouldn’t lose.

Defensively, A-L-O allowed eight points for the second straight week which is the most of the season as they allowed eight points against River Ridge in Week 2 and earned a Week 1 shutout against Decatur Christian Unity.

Outscoring their opponents 186-16 on the season, the Clippers have dominated on both sides of the ball.

“I say this every week, it was our defensive line again. Our defensive line controlled their offensive line,” Payne said. “We did a good job of shutting down their run game and allowing the linebackers to make the tackles. The one thing that did hurt us was Martinsville completed some passes on us. That’s how they scored their touchdown, on a 30-something yard pass.

“You’re always going to nitpick and find things that your team has to work on after games like that as a coach after you watch the film. We’ll work on defending the pass more this week and get better at it.”

The Week 4 opponent is Quest Academy, which is 0-3 and has been outscored 42-166 on the season.

Instead of counting the game as an immediate victory, Payne and the Clippers are getting ready for a game the same way they do every week.

“It’s Homecoming week so we have to deal with that,” Payne said. “I told the kids on Saturday, ‘It’s Homecoming and I understand that you want to have fun, but in the end, it always comes down to the game on Friday night and that’s the most important thing.’ Our motto is, ‘Every week we want to go 1-0,’ so this week we want to win. They understand that and they’ll be ready to go.

“But sometimes during Homecoming week there is one day at practice where they lose their attention. As a coach, you do what you have to do to get them back into it.”

The Homecoming game is one home game for the Clippers in six games as they were on the road for the last two, play Quest in Amboy, and then return to the road for three in a row.