It was a battle of two teams trending in opposite directions and one for which Malcolm head coach Scott Amen had a plan.
Facing a young Centennial team with its roster decimated by injuries, the No. 5 Clippers cruised to a 50-0 victory in their Oct. 13 regular season home finale.
“We hoped we could get through this one and stay healthy,” Amen said. “We want to get our starters some reps early on, and then we thought it might be an opportunity for our JV kids to see some significant varsity action.”
The Broncos were able to do some good things early on, CHS Coach Evan Klanecky said.
“We won the toss, so we had the wind in the first quarter,” he said. “But we shot ourselves in the foot, and it got away from us.”
In the game’s opening drive, Malcolm needed eight plays to go 40 yards with Brixon Meyer finishing it off with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter, the Broncos’ Alex Hirschfeld took advantage of the strong wind and launched a 56-yard punt to pin the Clippers back deep in their own territory. Four plays later, Meyer got loose again and outran the Centennial defense on his way to a 71-yard touchdown.
“Brixon ran well for us,” Amen said about the sophomore. “He’s learning to run behind his pads. He even showed a little speed.”
The wind did play a big role in the game, Klanecky said. On one Malcolm kick into the wind, for example, the Broncos couldn’t corral the ball, and the Clippers got it back.
“Neither team could pass going into the wind,” Klanecky said. “Whoever could establish the run had the advantage.”
With Dalton Amen out with an injury, Malcolm went the way of ‘running back by committee’ throughout the night with six different backs and one offensive lineman carrying the ball.
After Noah Gonyea scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter, Logan McGreer showed off his speed on a 53-yard scamper after receiving a shovel pass behind the line of scrimmage and weaving through the Centennial defense on his way to the end zone.
The first half scoring was completed by Owin Little. The senior offensive guard lined up in the backfield and, on his second carry, got across the goal line to earn his first career touchdown.
“It’s something we’ve done for years,” Amen said. “If we can find a way to get all of our seniors a chance to score a touchdown, we want to give them that opportunity.”
Gavin Little used his legs to get Malcolm’s sixth touchdown of the night. The third-string quarterback scored from five yards out to make it 44-0 in the fourth quarter. Cody Barton finished off the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run.
“Cody showed some nice bursts of speed,” Amen said about the sophomore. “He’s got a lot of grit and fight in him.”
The Clippers had 214 rushing yards and another 153 through the air. Centennial had 95 yards of total offense.
Malcolm led 16-0 after the first quarter and 38-0 at halftime. Despite the deficit, Klanecky said his team fought hard to the end.
The Broncos have dealt with injuries and illness all season, and this week was no different, the coach said.
“The offensive line had guys out all week. Not one practice was with the line the same. That’s nightmare mode for me,” he said.
Grant Cast had to move to center because of an injury and did a good job, Klanecky said. Parker Dishman ran the ball hard after Ryan Richters left with an injury.
Ayden Konken, a freshman offensive lineman, was the scout team player of the week.
The Broncos (0-8) will finish their season Friday, Oct. 20, at home against Tri County (3-5). The Trojans are coming off a 27-12 loss to Lincoln Lutheran.
Tri County is improved from last season, Klanecky said.
“This is our playoff game,” he said. “There’s still a lot on the line. We play for pride.”
“We’ll try to get a W. We are in the right mindset. It will be senior night, and we just need to let it rip to get the W.”
Malcolm (7-1) travels to Wilber-Clatonia (6-2) on Friday to determine the C2-1 district title. Both teams are 4-0 in district play.
“The kids will be excited about this one,” Amen said. “Wilber is always a big, physical, well-coached team. I wish we were completely healthy but we’ll come out ready to go.”