Sometimes a glorious fall can turn into a cruel winter in a
hurry. That’s exactly what happened to Lorain Clearview last year. The Clippers buzzed through the regular-season schedule last year, but their
dream campaign ended in abrupt fashion to
Ottawa-Glandorf in week 11. Clearview should recover well, however, especially since coach Mike Collier’s team can hitch the wagon once again to TB Anthony Hitchens.
Lorain Clearview (10-1)
* Players To Watch – TB/LB Anthony Hitchens (6-1, 200, Sr.); DB/FL-RB Tony Williams (6-0, 175, Sr.); RB/OLB-DB Curtis Alston (5-11, 175, Sr.); QB Zach Anderson (5-10, 180, Sr.); TE Eric Thompson (6-4, 190, Sr.); C Tom Starr (5-10, 240, Sr.); LB Cody Kaya (5-8, 180, Jr.); DL David Cooper (6-1, 200, Sr.); WR/PK Collin Owen (6-1, 180, Sr.).
* Outlook – Sometimes a glorious fall can turn into a cruel, cold winter in a hurry. That’s exactly what happened to Lorain Clearview last year.
The Clippers buzzed through the Patriot Athletic Conference last season and the entire regular-season schedule, for that matter, but their dream campaign ended in abrupt fashion – a 56-12 loss to Ottawa-Glandorf in week 11. They had earned the No. 2 seed in the Region 14 playoffs but were no match in round one of the postseason against seventh-seeded O-G.
Clearview should recover well, however, especially since coach Mike Collier’s team can hitch the wagon once again to Hitchens.
Possessing good size, great speed and elusiveness, Hitchens is sometimes a one-man spectacle on Friday nights as he often mesmerizes fans and air-grabbing defenders.
“He’s the big ticket,” said Collier, who is entering his third year at the helm of the program. “He’s a great athlete and he has all the instincts. He’s also a great leader for us, he’s unselfish and he’s always one of our hardest workers. You can’t ask for anything more from the kid.”
Hitchens rushed for 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns last season en route to being named first-team all-state in Division IV. He also caught a touchdown, returned a kickoff for a score, led the team in tackles with 78 and found the end zone four more times as a defender. If that’s not enough he’s also a standout basketball player and runs the 100-yard dash for the track team.
Williams and Alston can also run the ball and should be called on occasionally as Clearview tries to control the game on the ground at times. Collier employs multiple formations on offense and different alignments on defense including a 3-5-3 look as well as a 4-2-5. Six starters return on the defensive side of the ball and many of them are burners, especially Williams. He was clocked at 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s summer camp, which even topped Hitchens’ 4.63.
“Tony has a great nose for the ball and he can really move out there,” Collier said. “He’s another basketball player and we just had him for the first year last season, so he could really take off this season.”
Anderson is not quite in the phenom category but he’s a third-year starter who will do whatever it takes to keep the chains moving.
“He’s just a tough, gritty kind of a kid,” Collier said. “You’re not going to get great stats out of him but he’s a great leader. He really commands respect of all the guys in that huddle and he puts his nose in there when we need a first down or a big play. He’s just a great leader on and off the field.”
Collier is also enthused that a couple of his five returning starters on offense are offensive linemen.
“That’s key for us,” he said. “We feel like we are in good shape at the skill positions, so as always it depends on what we get out of our offensive and defensive lines. Those guys up front should carry our success on their shoulders.”
Collier led the Clippers to a 6-4 mark in his debut season of 2007, which laid the foundation for last year’s 10-1 showing. Obviously, it will be difficult to improve upon that mark but Clearview should be better prepared for the Region 14 playoffs this time.
The Clippers’ schedule looks manageable once again and they appear to have enough pieces in place to return to the postseason. A couple of the road tests are at Division III schools Vermilion and Medina Buckeye. However, the rest of the ledger is filled with Division IV and V teams that Clearview should have a chance to handle.
A danger game that looms is the Oct. 16 meeting with Rocky River Lutheran West, a team that went 7-3 last year and just missed out on the Region 17 playoffs.
Aug. 28 – at Castalia Margaretta
Sept. 4 – at Vermilion
Sept. 11 – Fairview Park
Sept. 18 – Wellington
Sept. 25 – at Medina Buckeye
Oct. 2 – Columbia Station
Oct. 9 – at Brooklyn
Oct. 16 – Rocky River Lutheran West
Oct. 23 – Sheffield Brookside
Oct. 30 – at Oberlin