MALCOLM — Both Wilber-Clatonia and Malcolm entered Friday’s game with hefty winning streaks, but a physical rushing attack and strong defensive effort from Wilber-Clatonia separated the two teams en route to a 35-0 Wolverine victory that gave them the Class C-2 District 1 title.
What could have been a big stop for the Clipper defense on the game’s opening drive turned into a Wolverine first down as Wilber-Clatonia (7-2) converted a fake punt. Three players later, Mitchell Thompson ran in from 11 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
While Wilber-Clatonia made the most of its opportunities in the first quarter, the opposite was the case for Malcolm (4-5). An electric, 72-yard kickoff return from Katon Thomas put the Clippers in scoring position, but the threat ended in a missed 37-yard field goal.
The Wolverines continued their fast start with another scoring drive, capped by a 37-yard touchdown run from Tad Moldenhauer. The senior running back broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone and, suddenly, Malcolm trailed 14-0 in the first quarter.
The Clippers squandered another opportunity in the second quarter after a 53-yard pass play. Malcolm Saltzman ran into his own running back and lost a fumble, ending another Malcolm drive deep in Wolverine territory.
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“You’ve got to convert on those when you’re playing a good team like Wilber,” Malcolm coach Scott Amen said. “When you get inside the 10-yard line, you’ve got to score, and we just didn’t get that done.”
Wilber-Clatonia tacked on another touchdown right before the half ended, a 20-yard pass from Coy Rosentreader to Layne Evans, and the Wolverines took a 21-0 lead into halftime.
Rosentreader found the end zone two more times in the third quarter. He scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and later threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Mason Zimmerman as the freshman quarterback finished with 174 yards of total offense.
The Wolverine defense kept Malcolm off the board, continuing an impressive run of five shutouts in their last six games and a total of six points allowed over that span.
The loss marked the end of the road for Malcolm, although Amen noted he was proud of his team for not giving up after opening the season 0-4. Meanwhile, Wilber-Clatonia will advance to the playoffs, with everything left to play for.
“We know it’s going to be another step up in competition, but C-2 is wide open,” Wilber-Clatonia coach Lynn Jurgens said. “I think we’re a dangerous team and we can play with anybody if we don’t beat ourselves.”