(Clarinda)-- The Clarinda Cardinals' season ends in a 14-13 defeat at the hands of the PCM Mustangs.
The scoring started on the second offensive series of the game for the visiting Mustangs. PCM found pay dirt on an Aiden Anderson 63-yard touchdown run.
Clarinda responded on the ensuing drive with seven points of their own. Tadyn Brown threw the ball, on a half-back pass, to Marshall Durfey for a 54-yard touchdown on third down. The game was tied at 7 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
The score would remain tied going into the half.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Cardinals capped it off with an 8-yard touchdown run from Brown. Caden Butt would miss the extra point. Clarinda led 13-7 with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter.
On the following drive, the Mustangs' offense marched down the field. Carson Vandelune found Jake Eslinger for a 66-yard touchdown pass. After the play, PCM was penalized for an unsportsmanlike foul.
Clarinda Head Coach Collin Bevins chose to enforce the penalty on the extra point. That made the extra point 34 yards instead of the typical 18-19 yards. The Mustangs' kicker Tyler Kuecker made the kick. The lead was 14-13 for PCM, with 8:13 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Cardinals had an opportunity late in the game. They had a second and two at the 36-yard line with about three minutes left when they lost four yards as Schmitt stumbled down to the ground.
Schmitt was sacked on both third and fourth down. The Cardinals only had one timeout remaining and couldn't stop the PCM offense from getting a first down on the next possession.
Coach Bevins says despite the competitive game from his players, it's a tough pill to swallow.
"If you're on the losing side of the scoreboard, the kids kind of forget about that (playing competitively) as they move forward tonight and into tomorrow," Bevins said. "But I'm proud of the way our kids fought. I told them it was going to be a heavyweight fight, 15 rounds, coming into it. That's exactly what it was. Both teams were going back and forth.
"Holding that team to 14 points is an accomplishment for us. That team (PCM) doesn't give up very many points, and we were moving the ball on them consistently all night. We shot ourselves in the foot again. Big plays going down the field we got holding calls or blocks in the back. Penalties that were not needed. At the end of the day, if you've got stuff like that, more times than not, you're not going to end up on the winning side of things."
Clarinda losses some key seniors going into next year. Marshall Durfey, Drew Brown, Logan Green, Ethan Fast, Jarod McNeese, and Grant Jobe are among 12 seniors. Bevins says they aren't easy shoes to fill.
"It's tough because I've been with two classes before this. Those classes were already grown. They were already old. When I got here, they were in their roles, and they settled in those roles. Seeing this class like Logan and Drew, even Ethan Fast, they grew up, and they were leaders," Bevins continued. "They were guys you found in the back just following the last few years.
"But when you become a senior and everyone is looking at you now, instead of you, looking at them, you have to do some growing, and you have to lead. Even on your bad days, you can't come out, and you can't make it look like it's a bad day. You can't dwell on things that happened in the school building when you come out to practice. That's a special group of seniors. It's easy to say next man up, but that's going to be a tough group to replace."
Some good news for Clarinda, they do have some key players returning next season.
"I just got to speak on Tadyn (Brown) and Wyatt (Schmitt). They've been there for two years now. They were star-struck, I would say, last year. Them being sophomores and being put in that role. They both excelled this year. It was good to see Wyatt complete some passes across the middle tonight, (they) were more intermediate concept passing routes, than just a deep ball or just a hitch or a slant," Bevins said. "Moving forward with those two, it's going to be exciting. Obviously, a lot of the younger classmen are going to be looking up at those two now.
"You can't forget about Jase Wilmes, Isaac Jones, Kade Engstrand. They all made plays tonight. We've got a lot of guys coming back, but when you lose guys like Jarod McNeese, Ethan Fast, Logan Green across the front, it's going to be tough to replace. Grant Jobe, too. It's going to be tough to replace those guys."
For the Cardinals, Brown finished with 106 yards on 18 carries and two total touchdowns. Schmitt was 11-14 for 181 yards. Jones had six receptions for 121 yards.
For PCM, Anderson finished with 19 carries, 117 yards, and one touchdown. Jake Eslinger had two snags for 86 yards and a score.
Clarinda finishes their season 4-5 (4-1). The Mustangs wait for tomorrow to see where they play next.
You can view the full interview with coach Bevins below.