By Ben Murphy
Photo By Kim Langlois
Clare gave up 14 first quarter points to host Gladwin in Friday night’s pivotal Jack Pine Conference football contest. However, the Pioneer defense settled down the rest of the night, giving up just one more score the rest of the way to win 27-21.
“I’m really happy, I think our kids have really improved the last couple of weeks,” Clare head coach Kelly Luplow said. “They’ve started to show some intensity. Gladwin is a good team, they have a really good offense. We knew it was going to be a tough, close game and we made the big plays when we had to and they didn’t. That was pretty much the difference in the game.”
Gladwin opened the night’s scoring on a five yard run by Lucas Schwager, and an extra point by Hayden Scott to go up 7-0 with 4:17 to go in the first quarter.
Clare answered quickly, getting a 56 yard touchdown run by James Simon and an extra point by Hunter Ruby to tie the game at seven with 3:13 to play in the frame.
The Flying G’s close the opening quarter out with a 76 yard touchdown pass from Demetri Trice to Landon Grobe to lead 14-7 after the first.
The Pioneers scored the only points of the second quarter, getting a 13 yard keeper by quarterback Zack Tyler, but trailed 14-13 at the half after a missed extra point.
Gladwin extended its lead to 21-13 on a six yard run by Trice with 4:50 to play in the third quarter, but Tyler connected with Swan for a score from 10 yards out with 40 seconds to play in the quarter.
Clare failed its two-point conversion to trail 21-19 at the end of three.
With 6:37 left to play, Tyler plowed his way into the endzone to give Clare the lead, then tacked on a two-pointer to give Clare a 27-21 lead.
Gladwin punted the ball back to Clare on its ensuing possession, and the Pioneers were able to successfully run out the clock for their second win of the season.
Tyler led the offense completing 10-of-16 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown, Tyler also ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Simon finished with 98 yards on 13 carries and Bean Ramos ran 11 times for 36 yards.
Swan made three catches for 46 yards, Spencer Harrell had four grabs for 37 yards and Ruby caught three passes for 34.
Mitch Greenacre led the defense with 15 tackles, Joe McGuire had 13 tackles and a fumble recovery, Tyler brought down 11 and recovered a fumble, Brandon Ayris had 10 tackles, Colton Punches had eight, Harrell had seven and Nick Montini had six.
Clare (2-2 overall, 2-0 JPC) hosts Farwell (2-2, 0-2) today. The Eagles fell to Roscommon 15-12 last week.
“We’ve got to keep plugging away,” Luplow said. “It’s Farwell and Clare… A big rivalry game. These know each other and anything can happen. If you decide to take a break on somebody they can get you. We have to make sure the kids are ready to go.”
The Pioneers topped the Eagles 42-6 last year, though Farwell edged Clare 19-14 in the playoffs in 2010.