Colors: Red, Blue, Gray
Head Coach: Jim Clarkson (19th season) (88-88 career record)
2017 record: 3-6 (lost to Howells-Dodge in first round of playoffs)
Returning Starters: 4 offense 5 defense
The Clarkson/Leigh Patriots figure to be young, but talented this season.
The Patriots return 4 offensive and 5 defensive starters from last year’s 3-6 playoff team.
The returners include seniors Cort Pokorny (6’1, 175 OL/LB), John Langhorst (5’10, 205 OL/DE), and Travis Stanley (5’7, 160 RB/DB), as well as junior Isaak Wiese (6’0, 150 RB/TE/DB), and Sophomore Tommy McEvoy (6’2, 185 RB/S).
Other returning letterwinners include junior Kobe Indra (5’10, 220 OL/DL), and sophomores Lance Paprocki (5’7, 130 QB/DB), Layne Krutz (5’10, 270 OL/DL), and Austin Sayers (5’11, 240 OL/DL).
Big losses from last year’s team include Jacob Gall, Haden Held, and Anthony Bruhn.
Head Coach Jim Clarkson says the whole team went to the Hastings College Team Camp in mid-June and 7 or 8 kids to the individual South Dakota State camp, late in June. He adds the Patriots also played a little 5 on 5 league with Osceola-High Plains and Howells-Dodge.
The Patriots drop down from D-1 to D-2. “It probably couldn’t of came at a better time. We are kind of the poster child school for that as far as our girls will be C-2 in Volleyball, and we’ll be D-2 in Football. We don’t have a lot of boys in the hallways right now,” Clarkson said.
Clarkson says moving to D-2 should allow his team to be more competitive than if they were in D-1 with some teams in their same situation.
Bob Jensen of the Huskerland Prep Report expects the Patriots to do well this year. “Well they’re going to be better. And that’s just it. They have some experience coming back. And the thing is is that it’s a program that’s done its fair share of winning, and last year…had to maybe take a step back to take a step forward. But again playoffs the team always manages to find a way to be in the playoff conversation, and I would suspect again that to be the case.”
It could be another playoff season for the Clarkson/Leigh Patriots.
The Patriots get their season started on Friday, when they host Howells-Dodge.
Clarkson says there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the game. “It’s a fun rival. It’s the Bacon Bowl. So we have some game t-shirts made up for it. And a lot of excitement in both towns, both communities. So should be a fun game and we’re looking forward to it, and getting after it. And hopefully we’ll put a little better showing than last time on the field with them that’s for sure.”
The Patriots were shutout 46-0 by the Jaguars in the playoffs last year.
This will be the 3rd straight game for Clarkson/Leigh against Howells-Dodge dating back to last year.
Clarkson says a lack of depth and experience could hinder his team this season. “Should be an interesting year. We will be very young, so we having some growing pains early, but we have some good team chemistry and some hard working dudes that we hope will have a good year. Depth will be a major issue so it is imperative that we stay healthy. If we do stay healthy we could be competitive in our district.”
The Patriots are in District D2-2 with Pender, Emerson-Hubbard, Mead, Cedar Bluffs, and Omaha Christian Academy.
2018 Clarkson/Leigh Patriots Football Schedule:
09/07/18 @ Humphrey St. Francis
09/14/18 Parkview Christian
09/21/18 @ Pender
09/28/18 @ Omaha Christian Academy
10/05/18 Cedar Bluffs
10/19/18 @ Emerson-Hubbard