The Van-Far/Community R-VI football team overcame the disappointment of two straight losses last Friday night when they won their second Homecoming game in 15 years, this time knocking off Clopton/Elsberry, 30-6.
The Indians previously ended a decade-long Homecoming drought in 2012 when they defeated Wright City, 28-14.
Both teams struggled to get anything going offensively in the first quarter as they traded punts and possessions.
The Indians had a solid drive as they marched the ball to the Indianhawks’ 37 before Eric Hombs fumbled the ball.
Fortunately, the Indians’ defense stopped a drive of their own early in the second quarter when Morgan Slatten recovered a fumble on the Indians’ 18.
After that drive stalled, Colten Jensen intercepted a pass and returned it to the Indianhawks’ 34.
He then scored as a running back on the next play from 34 yards out. Josh Hodde’s kick gave the Indians an 7-0 lead.
Clopton/Elsberry responded with a 16-yard passing play followed three plays later by a 39-yard touchdown pass. A failed two-point run kept the score at 7-6.
With :54.1 seconds left in the first half, Hombs returned a punt 34 yards to the Indianhawks’ 33.
The drive stalled due to time running out on the Indians. Hodde attempted a 31-yard field goal that went wide left to keep the score at 7-6.
The Indians had just 21 yards passing and 117 on the ground for 138 in the first half. Clopton/Elsberry tallied 79 yards in the air and 69 on the ground for 148.
Van-Far/Community R-VI had the first possession in the second half and they made it count.
They marched 74 yards on six plays, scoring on Parker Wallace’s 54-yard touchdown run as Wallace found a hole and nobody was going to catch him with his speed.
Hodde’s extra-point kick pushed the lead to 14-6.
An 11-yard punt gave the Indians great field position on their next scoring drive.
Hombs had a 17-yard run followed four plays later by Hodde’s 29-yard field goal for a 17-6 lead.
A questionable passing interference call extended a drive on fourth down for the Indianhawks late in the third quarter.
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s defense stood their ground though as they forced three straight incompletions to stop the drive on their own 16.
Early in the fourth quarter, Verlyn Johnson made two straight tackles near the line of scrimmage on an Indianhawks’ drive before Treyson Culwell recovered a fumble on the Indians’ 43.
On the very next play, Wallace found a hole and was never going to be caught on a 57-yard touchdown run. Hodde’s kick pushed the lead to 23-6.
With around six minutes left in the game. Culwell’s pressure on Clopton/Elsberry’s quarterback forced him to throw a second interception. The pass was picked off by Jacob Garner, who returned the ball about 23 yards to the Indianhawks’ 14.
Jensen scored two plays later on an 11-yard touchdown run for a 30-6 edge.
As the JV offense sealed the game late, Slatten did add a 33-yard run.
The Indians had 28 yards passing and 342 yards on the ground for 370 total yards. The Indianhawks had 174 yards in the air and 81 on the ground for 255.
Hombs finished the game by completing 5-of-12 passes for 28 yards. He also had 12 carries for 63 yards and one fumble.
Jensen had 12 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also hauled in two catches for eight yards.
“(Colten) stepped up defensively and has been a playmaker for us,” said Van-Far/Community R-VI head coach Kevin Baldwin.
Wallace had nine carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
“Give Parker a seam and he’s the best on our team at shifting gears,” Baldwin noted. “You see that with his tackling and his running.”
Hodde caught two passes for 29 yards.
Slatten added three carries for 44 yards late in the win.
Next up for the Indians is a match-up with a solid North Callaway team that is 5-1.
After falling to Southern Boone 15-12 to start the year, the Thunderbirds dominated Tipton, Mark Twain, Clopton/Elsberry, and Wright City. They also beat rival South Callaway on the road, 33-29. Baldwin said North Callaway has a really good quarterback and the Thunderbirds are solid at every position.