WOOSTER — It is officially the Clear Fork Colts’ greatest football season — ever. The Colts raised their record to 12-0 with a historic, 26-8 triumph over the Clearview Clippers in Saturday’s Division IV Regional Semifinal showdown at Wooster High School’s Follis Field.
The win puts the Colts into the Division IV regional final, where they will take on St. Mary’s Memorial in Bellfountaine next Saturday at 7 p.m.
“Being from here and the fact that my dad was a coach at Butler High School before the consolidation, this means an awful lot,” said Clear Fork coach Dave Carroll. “I watched my older brothers ahead of me play football at Clear Fork. Then, to come back and coach and have these type of kids and this type of success means everything to me and my family. It’s just an awesome feeling when you’re back at your alma mater, having fun and being part of something pretty cool.”
The Colts were led offensively by running back Trevon Trammell, who ran for 221 yards on 28 carries, running for a pair of touchdowns and catching a 24-yard touchdown from quarterback Jared Schaefer (6-for-11, 114 yards) for a third. Schaefer ran for a touchdown as well. The Colts rolled up 415 total yards to 185 for the Clippers.
The Colts came out looking like they were going to run a repeat of last year’s Division IV opening-round playoff game, when these two teams met and Clear Fork won in a 44-0 rout. After the Colts ran the ball down the field and Trammell capped the opening drive with a 2-yard scoring run, things got a little murky.
“We were ripping it up,” Carroll said. “We took that first drive and took it right down their pipe. Then, we decided we were going to give the ball back to them.”
On the Colts’ next possession, they faced 4th and 14, but kept the drive alive when punter Gabe Blauser scrambled for a first down. Then, on the next play, Clearview’s Joseph Norris picked off a Schaefer pass to give his team the ball on their own 7 yard line. Fumbles by Trammell and Schaefer stopped two other first-quarter drives.
“We struggled in the first half,” Schaefer said, “I mean, we were moving the ball well, but we were making mental errors. I’m just so proud of these guys — our linemen especially. They just really did a great job. We stuck together as a team.”
Though the Colts were a bit shaky on offense, they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot with nearly as many penalties as the previous week. In the meantime, the Clear Fork defensive unit got a big stop against the Clippers, who were driving at the Colts’ 13-yard line.
Only Julian Colbert scored for the Clippers’ offense, later grabbing a 16-yard pass from quarterback Chase Christensen (7-for-20, 115 yards) to cut the Colts’ lead to 7-6, with 9:27 left before halftime. The Colts called upon their defense to make that one-point lead stand up.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, they answered the call again, stopping the Clippers on fourth-and-1 on their own 44 yard line. The Colts defense held Clearview running backs Drew Engle, Fabion Kirkwood and David Renftle to 75 yards combined. Christensen could only muster 4-for-12 passing in the second half for 41 yards.
“That (Clearview) touchdown came off a turnover,” Carroll said. “So, once again, we held them like last week. We knew Engle, (Renftle) and (Kirkwood) could run the football. We tried to tell our kids that you can’t just come up and give them shoulder pads and hit them up high. They’re going to stiff-arm you, they’re going to spin out or they’re going to run over you. They run hard.”
Finally, the Clear Fork offense awakened when Schaefer found Trammell with a 24-yard TD pass to open up a little daylight.
“The linemen played their butts off today,” Trammell said. “They worked hard all week. They got their blocks and did a good job tonight. We just had to finish it out and get the win.”
Early in the fourth quarter, the Colts punted from their own 25, only for Colbert to block it. The ball rolled out of the Colts’ endzone for a Clippers’ safety to make the score 13-8.
By then, everything (including the game clock) was going the Colts’ way. Running touchdowns by Schaefer and Trammell, followed by a sack by Clear Fork defensive lineman Michael Chillemi against Christensen and an interception by teammate Brennan South with 3:37 remaining in the game, wrapped it up for the Colts.