Clyde is 30-7 in three seasons under head coach Marc Gibson, including last season’s regional finals finish. This season, Clyde is in position to continue that success with a wealth of talent returning to the field, including three-year starter and 2007 Division III Offensive Player of the Year Alex Gillett under center.
Clyde 2007 Record: (11-2)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Alex Gillett (6-1, 195, Sr.), OT/DE Jarad Branski (6-1, 215, Sr.), OG/LB Drew Beebe (5-10, 200, Sr.), RB/DB Tyler Ludrowsky (6-0, 175, Sr.), WR/DB Jeremy Hohenstein (5-7, 160, Sr.), OL Zac Stanley (5-8, 175, Sr.), C David Weisz (6-4, 255, Sr.), TE Kyle Smetzler (6-0, 195, Jr.), OT Zach Shock (5-11, 245, Sr.)
Clyde is 30-7 in three seasons under head coach Marc Gibson, including last season’s regional finals finish. The Fliers fell to eventual state champion Sunbury Big Walnut 21-14 in the 2007 playoff campaign.
This season, Clyde is in position to continue that success with a wealth of talent returning to the field.
Back is three-year starter Gillett under center. He was named Division III Offensive Player of the Year last season throwing for over 2,700 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Gillett is garnering some college interest, including schools from the Midwest Athletic Conference and the Big Ten, although he has yet to receive his first scholarship offer.
“Lately, we have sent out some more film to Division II schools and to Division I schools and he still has some interest out there,” Gibson said. “The word we are getting from everyone is they would not be talking to us if they didn’t have some interest. But the interest is going to come based off of Alex’s first three games of his senior year. They want to see the progress from the junior year to the senior year.”
Clyde ran offensive schemes last year that emphasized Gillett’s athletic strengths with an inexperienced offensive line – particularly some shotgun and spread formations – so colleges don’t have film of him playing the quarterback position in a traditional manner. But the Fliers will incorporate more college-type formations in its offense this season.
“We’re not going to change our style or our scheme for one player but we’re going to change our style and scheme to put us into position to win this year,” Gibson explained.
Gibson reports a 4.61 40 time for Gillett.
As stated, the offensive line last season was raw as Clyde had to replace all five positions upfront. Graduating just one senior off of the line from last year, Gibson is pleased going into the season with a seasoned group in the trenches.
“We feel real good that we have another four or five players that are going to be in contention for that one (open) position which will push the other starters for their playing time as well,” he said. “We have an outstanding core of junior linemen with terrific size and they have worked hard to get where they are and they want to compete.”
Clyde ran the ball well last year with then senior Kyle Birkholz rushing for over 1,200 yards out of the backfield. But with a veteran group upfront this fall, Gibson feels they will be able to run the ball with even more authority.
“The return of several offensive linemen and their size should allow us to be strong in the running game,” he said, “and the return of (Gillett) will enable us to be diversified. We think we are going to be able to increase those numbers and that is predicated on how well the offensive line plays and we feel confident in their ability and our depth.”
Branski was a first team All-Ohio selection and Beebe was an All-Sandusky Bay Conference selection in their junior seasons. But defensively, Clyde loses eight starters, including three of its four linebackers and all four players in the secondary.
“We have some young kids that are willing to step up and play the type of defense that we’ve been noted for over the last three years,” said Gibson. “We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to put fast kids on the field and we’re going to try to make plays with the speed that we have.”
Clyde allowed just over 10 points per game last season and didn’t allow more than 28 points in any single game, which came in its only regular season loss in the season opener.
The Fliers also posted four shutouts.
“We have some juniors that are going to see the field this year and we have some sophomores who may surprise some people and get on the field earlier that people think,” Gibson said.
Clyde kicks off the season at home against Pemberville Eastwood, which was a regional finalist in Division IV last year and handed the Fliers their only regular season loss last year. They then travel to Olmsted Falls out of Division II in Week 2 and take on rival Bellevue on the road in Week 3 before diving into Sandusky Bay Conference play.
“We play in a pretty competitive conference but we are one of the biggest schools in the conference. So, we still need to make sure our out of conference games are of the quality opponents that will make sure we get computer points should we win,” Gibson said.
Clyde finished 9-1 in the regular season last year but was the No. 6 seed in Region 10 heading into the postseason.
“Some of the schools that we beat throughout the year didn’t have that good of a record and if they did they played competition they didn’t get a lot of points from,” Gibson explained. “It is not an easy task by any means and we’ve got to take care of ourselves first and foremost to win but we’ve got to win against quality opponents so we can have those points mean something at the end of the year so we can get into postseason play.
“Our kids are going to be battle-tested and it will serve us well one we get into the conference.”
8/22 Pemberville Eastwood
8/29 at Olmsted Falls
9/5 at Bellevue
9/12 Milan Edison
9/19 at Port Clinton
10/3 Castalia Margaretta
10/10 Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic
10/17 at Sandusky Perkins
10/24 Oak Harbor