SHEFFIELD TWP. — Clearview was projected to be one of the best teams in Lorain County last season, then proceeded to prove it on the field.
The senior-dominated Clippers fell short of a playoff berth, but they went 8-2 and defended their Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division championship.
They were driven by standout tailback Anthony Hitchens, who capped one of the best rushing careers in school history by winning the Golden Helmet Award, given to the best senior football player in Lorain County.
Hitchens is now plying his trade for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but for Clearview coach Mike Collier and the returning Clippers, it’s back to business as usual.
Listen to coach Mike Collier talk about the season with WEOL’s Jim Allen (there’s a little high school volleyball news first):
“Specifically, it will be individually hard to replace Hitchens, a D-I caliber of talent that you so rarely find,” Collier said.
“We’ll be relying on our offensive line this year, and some young backs that could surprise some people.
“We feel pretty secure with what we have, and don’t expect to skip a beat. The conference championship is still the main goal, as well as a postseason berth. Those goals haven’t changed a bit since we started.”
Collier says there are several players vying for Hitchens’ job — including seniors Matt Jordan, DeShawn Carter and Duane Brown, and sophomore Chad Anderson.
Anderson is the younger brother of three-year varsity starting quarterback Zach Anderson, who was part of the senior class that graduated. Hitchens lived with Anderson’s family, so it’s safe to say Chad has grown up around some talented players.
“He’s been in a house with some pretty talented Clippers, including his dad and his uncles,” Collier said. “He’s definitely in the mix for that role. He’s pushed his way up the depth chart on both sides of the football, and you can expect to see him on the field in some fashion in the near future.”
Another player that could help during the PAC season is junior Alonzo Stockard, who transferred to Clearview from St. Edward last September, and will have to sit out until Week 5.
Those aren’t the only new names in the offensive backfield. Senior Davon Daniels, who served as the primary backup to Zach Anderson and the junior varsity starter the last two seasons, will take over at quarterback.
“Davon was a starter for us as a defensive end last season and could move over to linebacker this year,” Collier said. “He’s a big, athletic kid who excelled as our J.V. quarterback and patiently bided his time behind Zach. Now, he’s ready to lead our varsity program, and I’m excited to see him run our offense.”
Having an experienced offensive line in front of him — including seniors Tyler Mielcarek and Jordan Newman and junior Robert Branscum — should help.
“I’m comfortable knowing they’re coming back with that game experience,” Daniels said. “I trust my line. Without them, there is nothing.”
Daniels said he learned a lot from playing behind Anderson.
“I learned a couple things, mainly leadership and fight,” he said. “Those things go through all the minds of all Clearview quarterbacks or players. No matter where our team’s at, we have to be able and willing to get up and keep fighting.”
Senior Aaron Arnoczky is the lone returning skill position starter on the offensive side. He will be counted on to lead a young group of receivers.
“Our receiving corps will do well for us,” Collier said. “Aaron has done a great job bringing leadership to that group, and we feel we’ll be able to throw the ball pretty well. We’re going to let our line guide us, but we’re not going to put a leash on our offense, either.”
Daniels, who began as more of a running quarterback, now sees himself as a strong dual threat, thanks to attending several offseason camps.
“My goal just to help the team best way I can, lead on offense and defense, push people that need to be pushed and help the coach out at any position that he needs,” Daniels said. “We’re going to go out there and fight and have each other backs because we want to prove to everyone that we’re not going to be bad because all the talent left.”
More high school football previews
- Elyria ready to chase playoffs
- EC has plenty to be excited about
- Midview has depth, confidence, too
- Rangers staying hungry
- Keystone counting on defense
- Wellington plans to throw more
- Avon Lake needs a runner
- Amherst expects to be even better this year
- Oberlin staying positive despite heavy graduation losses
- Lorain has high hopes for Titans
- Clippers feel new guys are prepared
- Columbia thinks this season could be a special one
- Brookside’s comfort level rising
- Are Sailors on the way back up?
- Olmsted Falls relying on excellent senior class
- Firelands’ focus on present, not future
- Avon looks to return to playoffs
- Pay-to-pay hasn’t derailed North Olmsted’s optimism
- Black River loaded with talent
- Lutheran West hoping to stay healthy this season
- Coach thinks Westlake will have big year
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.