Clyde deals Tippecanoe first defeat, Fliers advance

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Clyde 41, Tippecanoe 7
It seemed appropriate Clyde football
coach Marc Gibson returned to his old stomping grounds Friday. After
all, that’s exactly what the Fliers did to Tippecanoe in
a Division III, Region 10 quarterfinal. Clyde’s 41-7 win gave
coach Gibson — a former player at Sidney and former coach at both
Brookville and Sidney — a happy homecoming in front of about 3,500
spectators at City Park.


TIPP CITY — It seemed appropriate Clyde Fliers’ high school football
coach Marc Gibson returned to his old stomping grounds on Friday. After
all, that’s exactly what the Fliers did to the Tippecanoe Red Devils in
a Division III, Region 10 quarterfinal.

Tipp couldn’t keep up with Clyde’s offense or run away from its
defense. As a result, sixth-seeded Clyde pushed No. 3 Tipp out of the
postseason for the second time in three years. Clyde’s 41-7 win gave
coach Gibson — a former player at Sidney and former coach at both
Brookville and Sidney — a happy homecoming in front of about 3,500
spectators at City Park.

“We told our guys this is part of the deal,” Gibson said of opening
the postseason on the road. “If we want other people in the state to
know what type of football program we are, we are going to look forward
to this. We had a good time and we’re going to enjoy the trip back.”

Tipp’s postseason ride, meanwhile, came to an uncharacteristic end.

The Red Devils (10-1), perfect through the regular season, struggled
with turnovers and mental mistakes. Tipp’s first six drives featured a
momenum-busting moment:

• Drive No. 1: Tipp was sacked on the game’s first play, leading to a 3-and-out series.
• Drive No. 2: The second drive lasted one play with a lost fumble.
• Drive No. 3: Facing third-and-7 near midfield, confusion on the play
call led to an illegal formation penalty and forced another punt.
• Drive 4: On third-and-5 on Clyde’s 23, the Fliers’ defense came up
with another sack for minus-12 yards. Tipp’s fourth-down pass was
incomplete.
• Drive 5: A potential pass interference penalty on Clyde (10-1) could
have put the Red Devils on the Fliers’ 35, but it wasn’t called.
Fliers’ DB Darrin Paul intercepted Tipp on the next play.
• Drive 6: With 6.7 seconds left in the second quarter, Tipp QB Wes
Marsh (16-of-28 passing for 275 yards) hit Allen Comer at the Fliers’ 4
but was knocked out of bounds to end the half.

“We had a lot of miscues you can’t have in a big game like this,”
said Tipp coach Charlie Burgbacher. “It kind of seemed like minor
things but it’s things that will come back to haunt you big time in the
end.”

The win was on pace with what Clyde had done during the regular
season where it outscored opponents 40-9. Ironically, with a QB named
Gillett the Fliers have had few close shaves. Alex Gillet was again
razor sharp. He completed 10-of-13 passes for 208 yards. He threw TDs
of 30, 5 and 71 yards.

Still, Tipp was within striking distance after trailing 17-0 at the
half. Tipp’s defense held Clyde to 87 yards, including just 25 on the
ground behind quick Kyle Birkholz. The Fliers matched that output with
just plays to start the second half. Gillet’s 37-yard pass to Justin
Cook (four catches for 145 yards) was followed by Birkholz’s 48-yard TD
burst to the right side, making it 24-0.

“It was funny because at halftime one of our defensive coaches
looked at our offensive coach and said, ‘Hey, it’s time for you guys to
get serious,’ ” Gibson said. “We knew our weapons on offense would give
them problems.”

A Clyde-area radio station crew seemed impressed at Tipp’s ability
to disrupt the Fliers at times. They just didn’t do it enough. Needing
a stop, the final blow came late in the third quarter. Down 27-0, Marsh
found Camden Sauls for a 75-yard TD. On Clyde’s next play, Gillet hit
Cook for a 71-yard strike down the sideline to restore a 35-7 lead with
2:35 left in the third.

“We kind of took ourselves out of it,” said Burgbacher, whose Wing-T
powered team managed just 34 yards rushing on 29 attempts. “There’s a
lot of excuses, but we didn’t do anything to help ourselves. We didn’t
create any field position. You’re always looking for something to be
given and that’s not going to happen. We didn’t have some answers for
some things they did.”

Or how they scored. Clyde did so in a variety of ways with two field
goals by Jerry Phillips (36 and 25 yards), Gillett’s long and short TD
passes, Birkholz’s long run (18 carries for 103 yards) and finally Aric
Thurn’s 55-yard fumble return.

“I think this shows exactly how good our kids are,” Gibson said of
beating a quality playoff opponent in Tipp. “There might be some people
who say our league (Sandusky Bay Conference) is down. This means our
kids are pretty good.”

For the Central Buckeye Conference, though, it was a night to
forget. CBC teams Tipp, Urbana and Bellefontaine were eliminated by a
combined score of 124-20.

Clyde moves on to play Napoleon, a 48-6 winner over Urbana, in the regional semifinals next Friday.

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