Coming off of their season-opening 18-7 victory over North Fayette Valley, the Waverly-Shell Rock football team has a Week Two contest against Clear Lake.
The clash between the Go-Hawks and Lions will mark the first game of the 2019 season to be played inside Go-Hawk Stadium.
Head coach Mark Hubbard knows there’s no place like home to play Go-Hawk football.
“There’s no way to describe the feeling that comes with playing at home in front of Go-Hawk Nation,” Hubbard said. “It will be a packed house I’m sure, and our fellas will be excited to get back on the home field.”
Last season, the Go-Hawks spoiled Clear Lake’s home opener with a 35-7 victory. In that game, graduated senior Luke Velky finished with 166 yards passing and two touchdowns, while classmate Ben Hemer led on the ground with 110 rushing yards and two scores. Current Go-Hawk senior, Tyler McNally, was the top receiver for Waverly-Shell Rock, as he totaled 81 yards for one touchdown.
On defense, graduated senior Pete McMillin led the team with 7.5 total tackles. The top returning tackler for the Go-Hawks that played against the Lions is senior Cael White, who recorded 5.5 total tackles in last year’s matchup.
No matter what side of the ball the Go-Hawks are on, Hubbard knows a few players will need to step up to ensure Waverly-Shell Rock gets the victory over Clear Lake.
“We just have to make sure we do a good job along the offensive and defensive lines,” Hubbard said. “We will find somebody to carry the ball, and I am sure that [Ethan] Flege will find someone to throw it to. Really, it’s about the line.”
During their week one contest against the Tigerhawks, Waverly-Shell Rock was led by Jonathan Wessel with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns on offense. In the defensive effort, the Go-Hawks’ White led with 10 total tackles, including two solo tackles-for-loss.
Key players for the Lions include senior quarterback Jaylen DeVries, who tallied 190 passing yards during last year’s tilt against the Go-Hawks. However, the Go-Hawk defense managed to hold DeVries to minus-6 rushing yards.
On the defense for Clear Lake, their top returners from last year’s matchup is senior duo of Nick Danielson and Austin Larson, who each recorded four total tackles against the Go-Hawks. The Lions were led by now graduated seniors Alex Snelling and Chase Stuver with six and 6.5 total tackles, respectively.
In their first week of competition, the Lions went up against Osage and won, 56-12. Offensively, Jaylen DeVries tallied 343 yards passing for four scores, while Kody Kearns was the top target for Clear Lake with 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Connor O’Tool and Jack Barragy co-led with five total tackles.
With the game against the Lions, Hubbard is able to coach against a familiar face, as Clear Lake is coached by his former Aplington-Parkersburg teammate, Jared DeVries.
“I’m sure he’d like to get this one for a variety of reasons,” Hubbard said. “We were teammates in high school and any time you compete against people you know adds a little bit to it. In reality, he’s done a great job there. His son is a phenomenal quarterback, and Clear Lake is lucky to have him and that entire staff.”
As he reflects back on the Go-Hawks’ first week performance, Hubbard said the biggest takeaway for the team was how to battle through adversity.
“The biggest thing that we learned from that game was how to fight through some adversity by being down at half,” Hubbard said. “There’s plenty of things that we need to improve upon, but I was very encouraged with our ability to fight through a tough situation.”
In their week two contest with the Lions, Hubbard is hoping to see his team get off to a faster start than what the Go-Hawks did at North Fayette Valley, which will hopefully get Waverly-Shell Rock ahead of the Lion offense.
“We have to get off to a better start,” Hubbard said. “I am curious to see how we get started. We started slow last week, so I’m curious to see how it goes this week. We have to try and limit their possessions. We want to try and contain their explosive offense.”