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  • Keith Hjelle

Charger FB Gets "Over the Hump" With 14-7 Win Over Clarinda

The Geico Insurance Company produces some clever television commercials that seem to have nothing to do with insurance. One of this observer's favorites depicts a camel walking through a business office shouting, "Hump day. It's hump day!" The camel asks one of the employees, "Margo, what day is this?" and Margo grudgingly responds, "It's hump day." Her response encourages the camel to repeat his announcement more loudly as he continues his stroll through the office. "Hump day," of course, is an idiom which refers to the fact that it is Wednesday and that the work week is more than half over. The camel wants everyone to know it!

So, what does a Geico commercial have to do with ACGC's 14-7 Friday night football win over Clarinda on the Charger home field? The win means that the Chargers are "over the hump" in that the team has won over half of its games for the first time in the four year history of ACGC athletics. The victory improves the season record to 5-1 which guarantees that the team will have a winning season as it completes its schedule of nine regular season games.

The game was closer that it should have been as the Chargers "shot themselves in the foot" frequently. Another idiom. This one refers to hurting one's cause by repeatedly doing something to make it more difficult to succeed. (Historically it refers to young men who shot themselves in the foot to avoid military service during World War I.) In Friday night's case it wasn't nearly so dramatic, as it refers to eight Charger penalties and a lost fumble.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff and drove sixty five yards with Gunnar Larsen's thirty nine yard scamper highlighting the drive. Two plays later a lost fumble at the Cardinal fifteen yard line ended the drive. After forcing the visitors to punt on their first possession, ACGC drove the ball forty nine yards to Clarinda's four yard line on ten running plays by four different ball carriers. A costly motion penalty pushed the Chargers back to the nine yard line. Three running plays that yielded little and an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs.

Clarinda opened the second quarter with a drive that began at its own seven yard line and carried to the ACGC twenty eight yard line thanks, partially, to a fifteen yard penalty on the host team. Clarinda then did its own version of shooting themselves when it coughed up a fumble recovered by Charger Lucas Marsh at the ACGC thirty yard line.

Neither team was able to move the ball on their next possessions, as each was guilty of-- you guessed it--more penalties. A pass interception by Charger Seth Danker gave the team new life with 1:45 remaining until halftime. ACGC then used its secret weapon--a forward pass! With all of the Clarinda defensive players playing very close to the line of scrimmage to stop the Charger running game, quarterback Bryce Littler lofted a perfect pass to receiver Cayden Jensen who got behind the Clarinda defenders for a fifty two yard gain. On the next play Gavin Cornelison carried the ball the final twenty yards to pay dirt and the Chargers were on the board! Cornelison's two point conversion gave ACGC an 8-0 lead with 1:34 to go before the break. After one more possession for each team the half ended with that 8-0 score.

Following the intermission the Cardinals took the ball to the ACGC fifteen yard line before it was assessed with a fifteen yard penalty and turned the ball over on downs. ACGC then put together a ten play, seventy five yard drive for its second TD of the night. A twenty seven yard run by Cornelison and a twenty four yard pass completion from Littler to Marsh moved the ball to the visitors' six yard line. Three plays later Littler scored on a quarterback sneak with 2:15 remaining in the third frame. After the conversion failed ACGC held a 14-0 lead. It looked good at that point.

Until the foot shooting started again! ACGC was guilty with three major penalties on Clarinda's next possession--(1) Interference with a fair catch on the kickoff (2) An unnecessary roughness penalty four plays later (3) A penalty on the Charger coach for protesting the roughness penalty. When all of the penalizing was done, along with a couple of running plays, Clarinda had the ball at the Charger six yard line when the third quarter ended! Cardinal freshman quarterback Wyatt Schmitt took the ball into the end zone on the first play of the final quarter. After the PAT Clarinda had narrowed the gap to 14-7.

Neither team was able to gain much ground on their first possessions of the final quarter and had to punt the ball away. After Clarinda's punt the Chargers began a drive at their own fifteen yard line with 7:25 remaining in the game. ACGC kept the ball on the ground for the rest of the game and was able to run out the clock! The Chargers ran twelve consecutive plays on the ground with Kolby Jacobe picking up thirty seven yards on the drive. After Clarinda used its final timeout ACGC was able to run out the clock with Littler taking a knee on the final play. HUMP DAY!!! IT'S HUMP DAY!!!

The Chargers dominated the game statistically. ACGC gained 290 yards on the ground and 80 through the air for a total of 370 yards. The hosts more that doubled the visitors' totals, as the ACGC defense held the Cardinals to 145 total yards, with 135 on the ground and 10 via the air. Quynton Younker and Cornelison led the defense in tackles with 11 each. The score doesn't tell the story of the game. If the Chargers had avoided its numerous penalties this game would have been a one sided affair. But, as they say, "A win is a win."

Next up for ACGC is a trip to Stuart to play winless West Central Valley. Friday's game time is scheduled for 7 PM. Go Chargers!

Score by Quarter:

Clarinda 0 0 0 7-- 7

ACGC 0 8 6 0--14

Charger Statistics:

Passing: Bryce Littler: 3 attempts, 2 completions, for 80 yards and 0 touchdowns

Rushing: Gavin Cornelison: 31 attempts, 175 yards 1 touchdown; Kolby Jacobe: (7-54-0);

Gunnar Larsen: (3-47-0); Bryce Littler: (9-14-1)

Tackles: Gage Buttler: 1 solo, 4 assists; Gavin Cornelison (4-7); Charlie Crawford (1-1);

Seth Danker (2-1); Kolby Jacobe (1-3); Cayden Jensen (2-1); Bryce Littler (0-5); Sam Madsen (1-6); Lucas Marsh: (1-4); Noah Wheatley (0-5); Quynton Younker (3-8)

Interceptions: Seth Danker:1 for 5 yard return

Fumble recoveries: Lucas Marsh: 1 for 0 yards returned

Kickoffs: Charlie Crawford: 3, with no touchbacks

Punting: Cayden Jensen: 2 for 23.5 yard average

Punt returns: Charlie Crawford: 1 for 0 yards

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