• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

A taste of success builds an appetite for 2019 greatness

CCA varsity football preview
Jacob Curtin, standing atop the bell pedestal, and his fellow Clear Creek Amana Clippers celebrate a win during the 2018 varsity football season. The Creek Boys posted the first 7-0 record in school history on their way to an 8-2 overall record.

TIFFIN– The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) varsity football team had a historic 2018 gridiron campaign, and that taste of success has them hungry for an even better 2019 outing.
The Clippers posted their first 7-0 record in school history and made their first Class 3A playoff appearance since 2014. Sixteen teams made it into the playoffs under the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s (IHSAA) Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which looks at the team’s record, the team’s opponents’ records, and team’s opponents’ opponents’ records to develop a ranking.
The season ended with an 8-2 record as the Decorah Vikings defeated the Creek Boys, 17-6, in Decorah, in a first-round playoff game.
“(Our) depth on the lines should finally be where it needs to be at the 3A level,” Coach Gabe Bakker said looking at the upcoming season. “Skill positions have talent, speed and good competition for our positions. Varsity numbers (we should have almost 50 juniors and seniors) should be a strength as the season progresses.”
The Clippers bring back 10 seniors to the starting lineup: Sam Stevens, Gabe Jenn, Kyle Pitlick, Xavi Hernandez, Eric Zierke, Sam Noska, Zane Cunningham, JJ Denny, Grant Jensen and Kaden Gisleson.
Stevens is a 5-5, 140-pound wide receiver who earned Second Team All-District honors last year with 27 catches for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Jenn is a 6-4, 190-pound tight end who made five catches for 86 yards. Pitlick is a 6-4, 215-pound offensive lineman, Hernandez is a 5-10, 220-pound offensive lineman who earned Second Team All-District honors, Zierke is a 6-3, 245-pound offensive lineman who also earned Second Team All-District honors, Noska is a 6-4, 195-pound defensive lineman who made 29-1/2 tackles with 5-1/2 for a loss of yards.
Cunningham is a 5-8, 155-pound linebacker with 37-1/2 tackles last season including 5-1/2 for a loss of yards. Denny is a 5-6, 150-pound linebacker who earned a spot on the All-District First Team with 59-1/2 tackles including two quarterback sacks. Jensen is a 5-10, 165-pound linebacker who made 50-1/2 tackles, and also had a pair of sacks last season. Gisleson is a 6-0, 155-pound cornerback with 25 tackles and one interception last year.
Alex Figueroa, T.J. Bollers and Arron Feinberg are the juniors returning to the starting lineup this season for the Clippers. Figueroa is a 5-9, 170-pound tailback who made 128 carries for 559 yards and four touchdowns last year. Bollers is a 6-3, 245-pound tight end/defensive end who made 18 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns, and made 45-1/2 tackles with 13 for a loss of yards. Bollers earned Des Moines Register All-State Honorable Mention, Iowa Newspaper Association All-State Second Team, and All-District First Team honors. Feinberg is a 6-2, 315-pound offensive lineman and defensive lineman with 17 tackles last season including 5-1/2 good for a loss of yards.
Returning letter winners include seniors Nick Gerard (5-10, 155-pound defensive back), Grant Haman (6-0, 180-pound defensive lineman) and Andrew King (5-10, 160-pound linebacker). Juniors include Nate Beckman (5-7, 165-pound linebacker), Tom Johnson (5-8, 145-pound wide receiver/defensive back), Joey Lepire (6-4, 270-pound offensive lineman/defensive lineman), Jacob Curtin (5-8, 155-pound defensive back) and Ryan Navara (6-2, 175-pound quarterback/defensive back).
New to the team are juniors Harrison Cory (5-10, 160-pound line backer/tailback), Brock Reade (6-2, 150-pound wide receiver/defensive back) and Riley Wolfe (6-3, 170-pound wide receiver/defensive back), and sophomore Gage Freeman (6-0, 180-pound linebacker/tailback).
With all the firepower available, Bakker sees some question marks hanging over his fleet. “Many juniors had significant experience on special teams, but are they ready to play significant roles on offense and defense? Do we have the right guys to step-up in leadership roles this season?” he asked.
The Clippers lost Andrew Rohret, Nolan Schwarting, Mitch Evans, Trever Stockman, Quentin Gisleson, Blake Malli, Zach Kabbage, Spencer Karkosh, Nick Collins, Parker Haman, Davis Dawson, Jalen Smith, Dylan Williams, Jonah Upah, Nazar Eltoum and Jacob Cochran to graduation.
The Clippers are in Class 3A District 5 with Davenport Assumption (4-5 last year), Central DeWitt (5-4), Clinton (3-6), Liberty High (3-6), and North Scott (9-2).
“I really believe all of the teams will be improved this season, which will make every game difficult,” Bakker said. “North Scott is one of the best programs in 3A. Assumption will be improved and can make a run at the district title. Liberty (the Creek Boys’ newest rival) will have a full squad for the first time and be very talented. Central DeWitt has gotten better each year and have positioned themselves into becoming a pretty good team. Clinton has some good young players that will have success this season.”
The season opens on Friday, Aug. 30, at home, as Mount Pleasant visits with a 7:30 p.m. varsity kick off. Marion visits Friday, Sept. 20; Clinton is in Tiffin on Friday, Oct. 4; and Central DeWitt finishes out the regular season with a Friday, Oct. 25, appearance on the Clippers’ turf. The Boats and Bolts clash on Liberty’s turf this year on Friday, Sept. 27.
“I can’t wait for this season,” Bakker said. “Our kids are ready for the challenge of coming into the year after having success. However, they are very hungry to get to the next level as a program.”

2019 Clear Creek Amana Varsity Football Schedule
Friday, Aug. 30 HOME vs. Mount Pleasant
Friday, Sept. 6 AT Fairfield
Friday, Sept. 13 AT Fort Madison
Friday, Sept. 20 HOME vs. Marion
Friday, Sept. 27 AT Liberty High School, North Liberty
Friday, Oct. 4 HOME vs. Clinton
Thursday, Oct. 10 AT Davenport Assumption (Brady St. Stadium, Davenport)
Friday, Oct. 18 AT North Scott High School, Eldridge
Friday, Oct. 25 HOME vs. Central DeWitt