An honest look at the Malcolm football schedule points to the fact the Clippers expected some tough sledding to open the season. The first four games included the defending state champions, one of the top three teams in Class C2 this year and two teams that are on the rise. The Clippers knew, if they could make it to week five, the schedule would ease up.
That proved to be true and a frustrated Malcolm squad released some angst on a fellow winless Syracuse squad. The Clippers enjoyed a 67-6 homecoming night victory Sept. 27 in Malcolm.
Malcolm scored early and often as they piled up a season high 453 yards of total offense on a night when seven different Clippers found the end zone.
Head coach Scott Amen went to his bag of tricks for the first score as Kyle Henson got loose and Rick Nickel found his senior classmate for a 68-yard touchdown on a halfback pass.
“We’ve been working on that play for a while and finally thought we had it down,” Amen said. “Coach (Matt) Coufal (Malcolm’s defensive coordinator) reminded me that we haven’t had a lead all season and that if we had a gadget play we could try, this might be the game to do it to give our guys a shot of confidence.
“I’m just glad it worked.”
The Malcolm defense forced three first quarter turnovers and took advantage of a short field as they scored three more times in the first quarter. Dylan Zoucha scored twice in the quarter, once on a three-yard run and once on a 10-yard reception from Malcolm Saltzman.
A Dawson Dedick blocked punt led to the final score of the first quarter as Katon Thomas ran it in from the one-yard line. The Clippers led 26-0 at the end of the first frame.
“During the week, we talked about the need to force some turnovers,” Amen said. “This is the first game I really felt like we did that with some hard hitting, aggressive play.”
Malcolm kept its foot on the gas in the second quarter and scored three more times. Tucker Martin scored on a 10-yard run. Hayden Frank grabbed the Clippers’ second pick of the night and made the most of it as the freshman returned it 50 yards for a score.
“For such a young player, Hayden has a really high football I.Q.,” Amen said. “He sees the field well and makes good reads. He gains a little more confidence each week.”
Thomas closed out the half with an 11-yard run to put Malcolm up 46-0 at the half.
With the entire second half being played with a running clock, the Clippers played the whole roster and managed to score three more times. Cole Hargens had the only touchdown of the third quarter with a three-yard run. It was the first of two touchdowns for the senior who broke loose for a 47-yard sprint to the end zone.
In a backup role, Frank connected with Brayden Boehle for a 14-yard pass to complete the Clippers’ scoring.
The lone Syracuse touchdown came at with 4:28 in the game as starting tailback Mitchell Brinkman crossed the goal line on a three-yard run.
Zoucha led the way for Malcolm with 111 yards rushing on six carries while Henson finished the night with 78 receiving yards. As a team, Malcolm averaged more than ten yards per play.
The Clippers (1-4) hope to take their momentum with them to Adams this week as they face another opponent yet to find its way into the win column.
“Freeman is pretty banged up,” Amen said. “We know how that feels and we don’t expect this one to be easy. But it’s a good opportunity to build on what happened this past week.”
Kickoff against Freeman (0-5) is Friday night at 7 p.m.