Six forced turnovers and 21 second-half points pushed Clear Lake past Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (GHV), 35-14, on Friday night in Garner. The win moves the Lions into the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
"It feels great. I'm really proud of the kids," Clear Lake head coach Jared DeVries said. "They kept battling. They had some adversity early. They didn't get down on themselves or their teammates. They pulled together as a football team and as a family and that's a big growth."
Clear Lake opened with the ball and was forced to punt. The Lions defense earned a stop but the punt return was bobbled and GHV got the ball back with better field position. On the very next play, the Cardinals fumbled the ball and Clear Lake recovered.
The Lions were forced to punt, but again, they recovered a fumble on defense. The Cardinals blocked an ensuing punt and used that momentum to drive down the field and score on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Joe Pringnitz. The extra point was missed, but the score was 6-0 after one quarter of play.
The next score came in the second quarter, when junior Jagger Schmitt ran it in from 34 yards out to put the Lions ahead, 7-6.
The two teams traded turnovers on the possessions after the score. On the last play before halftime, Schmitt showed up on defense and took an interception back for a long touchdown. At half, the Lions led 14-6.
"It was really big tonight," Schmitt said. "Just working my butt off on defense and on offense to get those touchdowns."
The Cardinals had their best drive of the game coming out after break at half. It was capped off by a 26-yard touchdown run by Pringnitz. The two-point conversion attempt was good and the game was tied at 14.
That would be the last time that GHV scored as Clear Lake was able to force two more turnovers and score 21-straight points. Senior Tyres Green had a short touchdown run and a 31-yard touchdown catch, while Schmitt added his third score of the night from 3 yards out.
GHV finishes off its season with a 3-5 record. Clear Lake is now 3-5 and will travel to play at Spirit Lake next Friday.
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Gunnar Davis covers education and sports. Reach him via email at Gunnar.Davis@GlobeGazette.com or by phone 641-421-0598.
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