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By Mike Scott
They keep finding a way to win.
Clark County faced a surprising challenge from a very pesky Mark Twain Tiger team in a regional playoff matchup, held Wednesday night, November 4, at Kahoka.
The 6-4 Tigers would keep pace with the defending state champion Indians, even leading at one point before the Indians put them away in the second half.
The Indian defense dominated Mark Twain’s first possession, pushing them backwards and forcing a punt, which was blocked by Clark Countys’ Ryan Whiston, giving the Indians the ball on the Tiger ten yard line.
Justin Aldterton scored on the next play, and Zach Nixon’s kick was good to give Clark County a 7-0 lead with 9:45 left in the first.
The Indians and the Tigers went back and forth through most of the quarter. The Indians were unable to move the ball on the ground, and had at least three passes tipped in the quarter.
Early in the second period, the Mark Twain found the end zone on a 19 yard pass to Jared Runyon. A two-point attempt failed, and the Indians led 7-6 with 11:53 left in the second quarter
Then there was more bad news for the Indians.
Mark Twain recovered a fumble at the Indian 15 yard line. Mark Twain scored a minute later on a tipped pass to take a 12-7 lead. Again the two-point attempt failed, but the Indians now trailed for the first time all season.
The Indians responded to the challenge.
Mason Owen returned the kickoff to the 40 yard line, and a facemask penalty gave the Indians the ball at the 45. Justin Oilar connected with several receivers before giving Justin Alderton the ball again. Aldterton scored on a 12 yard run. An Indian two-point attempt came up short, and Clark County was back on top 13-12.
It looked like deja vu, but this time Mark Twain fumbled and the Indians Dalton McCarty recovered the ball. The Indians would drive inside the Tiger and have touchdown run nullified by a holding call before being stopped short, turning the ball over on downs at the three yard line.
Mark Twain couldn’t move the ball, and got rid of it with a third-down quick kick, giving the Indians the ball at the 46.
Passed to DJ?Bunker and Jeremy Logsdon put the Indians in scoring position again, and Justin Alderton did his job again, punching the ball across the goal line from the one. A two-point conversion was good, and the Indians took a 21-12 lead with 2:04 left in the half.
The Tigers moved the ball well on their next possession, but an offensive pass interference penalty ended their drive.
Mark Twain came back in the second half to close the gap to 21-20 with 8:29 left in the third.
The Indians showed their determination, answering with a 51 yard drive of their own, capped by two-yard TD toss to Trevor Ray. The kick was blocked, and Clark County led 27-20 with 5:52 left in the third.
Mark Twain again fumbled on the kickoff, and the Indians recovered. The Indians drove the ball to the Tiger 26 before being stopped on a 4th and pass that was called incomplete.
It didn’t take long for the Indians to get the ball again, and they would put together a 48 yard drive, ending with a TD by DJ Bunker with 59 seconds left in the third quarter. The PAT kick was good, and Clark County had a little breathing room, 34-20.
Clark County would score again midway through the final quarter as Nathan Alderton capped a 57 yard drive with a 4th and goal touchdown run from the one. After the PAT, the Indians led 41-20.
Mark Twain didn’t give up, and picked up a late touchdown, but the Indians advanced to Monday night’s showdown with South Shelby by a 41-26 final margin.