TALLMADGE — Bobby Clark will be burned into the minds of the Cloverleaf football team’s players and fans for a long time.
The senior running back set a school rushing record to lead Tallmadge to a 49-28 Suburban League win.
Clark ran for 361 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries as the Blue Devils (5-3, 3-2) kept fighting off an equally explosive Cloverleaf offense.
The 5-foot-11, 201-pounder ran around and through the Cloverleaf defense, using his speed to break plays on the edge and strength up the middle to break tackles.
“The whole offensive line was great tonight,” Clark said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They just brought it tonight and it was a great night. We just pounded it to them and they couldn’t take it.”
Running behind a smallish offensive line with the exception of 6-foot-6, 290-pound Ohio recruit Joe Lowery, the Blue Devils dominated the line of scrimmage, amassing 450 rushing yards overall.
“I can’t say enough about our offensive line and Bobby Clark and how hard he ran tonight,” Tallmadge coach Joe Vassalotti said. “Fortunately we were able to run the ball. When you can do that, life is simple.”
The Blue Devils kept things simple despite the Colts (2-6, 0-5) changing their defense.
“We switched to a nine-man front in the second half and still couldn’t stop them,” Cloverleaf coach Bob Lake said. “They blocked us up front, they got to the second level and we just couldn’t stop them.”
Despite the 21-point loss, the Colts made sure all of Clark’s yards were needed by going wild on the offensive side of the ball.
“We were scoring some points,” Lake said. “We’ve got some skill and our offensive line is playing well. We were able to do some things offensively. From here on out, we have to be able to score some points.”
Cloverleaf didn’t grind out yards, but had three long scoring plays and a jump pass to score its four touchdowns.
Austin Smith led the Colts with 170 yards from scrimmage (142 receiving, 28 rushing) and touchdowns that covered 32, 52 and 54 yards.
The jump pass came from Devin Cunningham to Matt Vespucci for a 2-yard touchdown when Cunningham, normally a running back, lined up at quarterback. It cut the Tallmadge lead to 28-21 with 1:36 to play in the third quarter.
“We knew their offense was explosive,” Vassalotti said. “Cunningham, Smith and (quarterback Garrison) Flora, we were very wary of those guys.”
The Colts defense, however, couldn’t keep the Blue Devils out of the end zone, as Tallmadge answered by scoring 21 of the game’s final 28 points.
Touchdown runs from Joe Vassalotti and Davis Moore (6 carries, 31 yards 2 TD) inflated the margin back to 21.
Flora then hit Smith on a 52-yard catch-and-run to make the score 42-28 with 4 minutes to play. An onside kick was recovered by Tallmadge’s Joe Seisel and the Blue Devils turned to Clark to run out the clock.
Clark’s first play on the final drive went for 21 yards and gave him the school record. He then rumbled 21 yards for the game-clinching touchdown three plays later.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.
Tallmadge 49, Cloverleaf 28
CLOVERLEAF 0 7 14 7 — 28
TALLMADGE 7 14 7 21 — 49
T — Davis Moore 5 run (Justin Stevenor kick), 2:04.
T — Bobby Clark 60 run (Stevenor kick), 11:43.
C — Austin Smith 32 run (Kyle Sasinka kick), 9:25.
T — Clark 43 run (Stevenor kick), 4:05.
C — Smith 54 pass from Garrison Flora (Sasinka kick), 11:00.
T — Clark 38 run (Stevenor kick), 7:10.
C — Matt Vespucci 2 pass from Devin Cunningham (Sasinka kick), 1:36.
T — Joe Vassalotti 1 run (Stevenor kick), 11:40.
T — Moore 4 run (Stevenor kick), 4:52.
C — Smith 52 pass from Flora (Sasinka kick), 4:00.
T — Clark 21 run (Stevenor kick), 2:08.
Print this story
Report an innappropriate comment
In order to comment, you must agree to our user agreement and discussion guidelines.
Read our user agreement and discussion guidelines ..
Need help? Email Us.