CLEAR LAKE — On a cold, snowy night in Clear Lake, the Lions, who were making their first playoff appearance in two seasons, were facing in an uphill battle all evening.
Squaring off with the top scoring team in Class 2A, No. 5 Waukon, Clear Lake had a hard time keeping the Indians in check, and the Lions’ offense never found its footing as Waukon ended Clear Lake’s season in a 46-16 victory.
“Waukon is a very good football team and we knew that,” Clear Lake coach Jared DeVries said. “We knew that they were explosive.
“Missed tackles in the first half led to their three scores and then it just got away from us.”
Clear Lake’s defense came up with a stop on Waukon’s first possession, but that would be about it as Waukon rode its running game and Mitchell Snitker all over the Lions.
Snitker scored three first-half touchdowns, including a 73-yard run on a draw play that sparked the rout. Clear Lake had no answer.
“Their run game is insane,” Clear Lake senior defensive end Joey Monson said. “We knew their running back, Mitchell — he has 1,200 yards on the season — we knew he’d be tough to contain, and their line was the quickest off the ball I’ve seen all season. They got to the second level quick.”
Waukon strolled into halftime with a 24-0 lead, and poured on a little more with three more touchdowns — two by Snitker and one from Evan Armstead — in the third quarter to blow the game wide open with a 46-0 lead.
Snitker, who ran through Clear Lake defenders all night, finished with 171 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries.
Clear Lake managed two scores in the fourth quarter — a 20-yard run by Nick Danielson and a 38-yard run by Zach Lester — to make it look a little better in the end. Quarterback Jaylen DeVries also broke the school’s single-season passing record in the quarter.
But, for a Clear Lake team with big goals, this was the end of the line.
“Really proud of them,” Coach DeVries said. “To get Clear Lake back to the playoffs where we belong took a lot of hard work by our seniors, our captains and the entire team. It really was a group effort. It started in June and they have a lot to be proud of. None of them are happy but they have a lot to be proud of.”
With 13 seniors leaving the program in a good spot, the Lions left the field disappointed, but were thankful for the ride.
Clear Lake finished its season 7-3 overall.
“It was amazing,” Monson said of the Lions’ run. “I had the best teammates ever; I loved them all like my brother. You don’t have to be blood to be brothers and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.”