Head coach Dirk Ankerholz always puts a tough team on the field. Going into his sixth season, don’t expect that to change.
Coach: Dirk Ankerholz (25-22 in five years at Clearwater)
2013 Recap: 5-4 Overall, 1-2 District (Missed playoffs)
2014 District: Haven, Andale, Wichita Trinity
Returning Starters: 5 Offense, 6 Defense
Clearwater returns some serious talent at the skill positions, but lacks experience on its offensive and defensive lines, the building blocks of a team.
Quarterback Hunter Hall has picked up some attention during the offseason. He’s big, mobile and has a good arm. He’s had multiple years in head coach Dirk Ankerholz’s system so the comfort and confidence will be there for the big senior.
Hall will have Cody Layton and Dane Rausch to throw to at wide receiver. Jake Wright will come out of the backfield at running back. A weakness this team has is its lack on the offensive line. T.J. Layton is the one returning starter on the line to block for what should be a good offense.
“The younger players need to season quickly,” Ankerholz said. “The offense has to gel quickly.”
Clearwater scored just over 22 points per game in 2013, more than enough to win. The Indians scored more than 30 points twice last season when it dropped El Dorado 47-24 and Augusta 45-19.
The Clearwater defensive and line backing groups will be the pillar of its defense. Jake Wright, Caleb Bolan and Erech Wiens will be the main defensive backs as Cody Layton, Dane Rausch and Landon Smith will be the main linebackers for a potentially stout unit.
The Clearwater defense gave up 25.7 points per game in 2013, so it wasn’t the worst unit even in the league, but that number could be better. With losing most of its defensive line to graduation, Clearwater could struggle to stop teams from moving up and down the field. Opponents of Clearwater have an opportunity to get into the unit’s secondary on almost every play.
ODDS AND ENDS:
In 2014, the Indians will face every team it lost to in 2013, a challenge that is not lost on Ankerholz. Clearwater lost to Collegiate, Mulvane and Andale by more than 30 points in 2013 and faces all three of those teams again.
Clearwater also has a tough road in its district. Haven, Andale and Trinity could all derail the Indians’ hopes for a playoff berth. Those three teams combined for an 18-12 record in 2013, but Andale was the only one to make the playoffs.
Clearwater has the potential to do some damage in 2014, only if it can put its offense together and limit the number of yards teams pick up.