CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake’s 4-1 start to its football season has come by no accident.
The Lions have put together a high-powered offense, but equally as exciting to watch for Lions fans has been the play of its defense.
“It’s really all three units working hand-in-hand,” Clear Lake coach Jared DeVries said. “With tight coverage it allows our pass rushers to get there, and then obviously our front creating for not only themselves but the linebackers, and the speed that our linebackers are playing with is fun.”
For that unit which has been so good, tonight they’ll get a different kind of challenge vs. Hampton-Dumont at 7:30 p.m. at Lions Field. It also comes at a time with the Clear Lake linebackers at near peak performance after last week’s shutout win at Forest City. And the star of that effort was senior Luke Eggers.
Eggers, who has been in the Lions’ lineup at linebacker all season, put forth one of his best games to date on defense and special teams. He finished with a team-high seven tackles and one interception, and on special teams he blocked a punt which led the Lions’ second score and recovered a fumble on a punt return.
“It’s definitely a pretty big confidence booster,” Eggers said. “It was a good night for special teams and interceptions — somebody else made that fumble happen, but I just happened to be in the right spot to pick it up.”
Collectively, the Lions’ linebacker corps is starting to come together.
Led by senior captain Dalton Grell, the group has continued to impress the coaching staff each week, and last week was the time to show that off.
In addition to Eggers’ interception, junior Chase Stuver had one of his own.
“They continue to grow in the defense,” DeVries said. “We changed to the 30 defense and added some of these attack blitzes, and they seem to flourish in that. They don’t have to read plays as much and they’ve bought into it. There’s a few blown assignments, but just the hustle and the swarm that they’re playing with is fun to watch.”
Added Eggers, “I think we’ve done a lot of good things together. Our defense as just been all around good and kind of dominating at this point. And it’s not just the linebackers either, it’s the guys up front that really help us out.”
Hampton-Dumont (0-5, 0-3) will bring in a unique challenge to tonight’s game in their option offense, led by senior quarterback Hunter Sutter.
Sutter has gashed defenses all season with his legs as he leads Class 2A, District 2 with 646 yards and nine touchdowns on 99 carries. The state-track placewinner in the 100-meter dash last year has the Lions’ full attention, in addition to the Bulldogs’ offensive line, which has played well through five games.
“We haven’t faced a kid with this much speed," DeVries said. "We have a lot of team speed, but any time you’re dealing with an option team you’ve got to be gap sound and assignment perfect, and if there is a mistake we have to rally to the ball and be sure tacklers.”