Falls City Sacred Heart scored 48 unanswered points and sent Clarkson/Leigh home for the season in a 56-6 D-2 second round state playoff final on Nov. 6.
The Patriots answered an early Irish scoring drive with one of their own but couldn't contain a balanced Sacred Heart team that went 0 for 8 on third down and just 1 for 3 on third but also allowed just 120 total yards defensively.
"The game last night was a tough one," Clarkson/Leigh head coach Jim Clarkson said in comments. "They are a really good and experienced team. Our guys played really hard, and we held on for as long as we could, but they were too big, fast and experienced for our younger inexperienced team to hang with.
"Their speed was a huge factor, and also Coach (Doug) Goltz is one of the best there is, so they were very well-coached and executed at a high level. "
The Irish took an 8-0 lead in the first quarter with a 26-yard run and a successful two-point conversion.
The Patriots answered back when Lance Paprocki found Eli Hays on a 21-yard pass, but a failed two-point conversion left the score at 8-6.
Sacred Heart then took the lead for good on second quarter scoring runs of 15 and 2 for a 24-6 halftime advantage. The Irish added three more third-quarter touchdown drives capped by a 10-yard run, 39-yard pass and eight yard run.
A 6-yard run in the fourth capped the scoring.
The Patriots' last gasp came early in the third on a fourth down in their own territory. Rather than punt it away and play defense, Clarkson said concerns on special teams forced him to make a risky call and go for it.
Sacred Heart made the stop and essentially put the game out of reach with a touchdown moments later.
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"The reason for going for it on fourth down was mostly because we were getting very little out of our punt game," Clarkson said. "We had a stiff wind in our face, and they have a really good punt returner, so the risk reward factors lead us to go for it.
"The fact that we the game was teetering on getting away from us and our defense was on its heels probably played and a little part in the decision as well."
Paprocki finished the day with 21 passing yards and a touchdown on 1 of 7 throwing and picked up 44 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
Drew Beeson ran for 28 yards on 17 carries, and Eli Hays totaled 27 yards on nine carries.
Isaak Wiese led the Patriots in tackles with 14 and Beeson picked off an Irish pass.
Sacred Heart was led by Jake Hoy scoring three times on 10 attempts with 68 yards rushing and Del Casteel finding the end zone three times as well with 29 yards on 12 carries. The Irish picked up 146 yards on the ground and 111 through the air.
Clarkson/Leigh finishes the year with a 7-3 record losing only to D-1 No. 1 Howells-Dodge, D-2 No. 1 Humphrey St. Francis and D-2 No. 2 Sacred Heart.
"We are very happy with the season we were able to put together especially after losing Tommy McEvoy in July," Clarkson said. "We played a lot of young guys and really gained some valuable experience. Winning the district and getting out of the first round were great accomplishments for us and gives us some good building blocks to work with for next season."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net