By: John Raffel
Jackson Gross powers Clare over Beal City
CLARE ― Jackson Gross had two touchdown runs of 74 and 49 yards in the second half to lift the Clare Pioneers past Beal City 26-18 last Friday in a nonleague battle of football powers.
Clare improved to 1-1.
“I think we played really well for having four sophomores that play a lot and one sophomore who played tackle where he's never played before,” said Clare defensive end and tight end James Wezensky. “It's very important (to win). Starting 1-1 is better than 0-2 for our morale booster.”
For the game, Gross gained 217 yards on 23 carries.
With Travis Smith having graduated from the 2010 team, Gross noted that he's anticipating running the ball more.
“I'm looking forward to that,” he said. “I'm a lot faster than I was last year. I ran the 100 meters in track. That helped me a lot with my sprints in being fast. I'm trying to be able to read plays and know what my linemen are doing and understanding plays.”
Against Beal City, Clare led 7-0 after its first drive of the game on a 24-yard pass from Brent Luplow to Aaron Haynak with Hunter Ruby booting the extra point.
Luplow scored on a 3-yard keeper with 3:49 to play in the second.
The host team got the ball back on the kickoff and Gross raced for his 74-yard score and a 20-12 bulge.
But Clare countered with a touchdown on a 49-yard run by Gross.
That made it 26-18 and Beal City drove deep into Clare territory in hopes of staying alive. Aaron Haynak intercepted a pass to preserve the win for Clare
Brent Luplow was 8-of-13 in passing for 105 yards. Haynak caught six passes for 90 yards.
“Jackson had a great night,” said Clare coach Kelly Luplow. “Our defense improved. “We were very pleased with the improvement from last week. From week one, they showed a lot of improvement.”
Mitch Greenacre led the Clare defense with 13 tackles. Also in tackles, Gross had 10 plus an interception. Lee Cole had nine tackles. Taylor Meixner, Todd Wysong and James Simon had eight tackles apiece.