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Clippers trounce Orion; advance to quarterfinals

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 6th, 2012

Amboy/LaMoille’s Garrett Liebing takes off toward the goal line after intercepting a pass early in the second half of a Class 2A playoff game on Nov. 3. Liebing made it to the 11-yard line to set up a Clipper touchdown. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Pankhurst)

ORION - The Orion Chargers were able to hang around for a half against the Amboy/LaMoille Clippers, but that didn't last long once the second half began. The Clippers turned a close game into a rout by scoring 31 second-half points on their way to a 43-18 drubbing of the Chargers in Class 2A second-round playoff action on Nov. 3 at Orion.

Amboy/LaMoille (9-2) had its ground attack clicking on all cylinders as every yard it picked up in the contest came via the running game. The Clippers amassed 467 yards rushing on their way to victory and a berth in the Class 2A quarterfinals at home this Saturday against 11-0 Aledo (Mercer County). Game time is 1 p.m. at the AHS Field. The Clippers last reached the quarterfinal-round in 2007 when they were a Class 3A team.

Amboy/LaMoille spotted Orion a 3-0 lead when the Chargers converted a 32-yard field goal just three minutes into the game. But the Clippers wasted little time in taking the lead for good when Bailey Appleman found the end zone from 6 yards out at the 7:05 mark of the opening stanza. The PAT kick was no good.

Amboy/LaMoille extended its lead later in the first period when Cooper Nelson sprinted 48 yards to paydirt. The Clippers' two-point attempt was short.

The two teams played a scoreless second quarter and Amboy/LaMoille held a precarious nine-point margin heading to intermission. But the Clippers' offensive game kicked it into high gear in the second half as they scored the first four times they touched the football to win going away.

Orion tried a little trickery to begin the third period when it tried an onside kick that turned out to be successful, giving the Chargers the ball in good field position. But that momentum was quickly shot down when the Clippers' Garrett Liebing intercepted a tipped screen pass and rambled 44 yards down to the Orion 11-yard line. Soon after, A/L quarterback Tyson Powers got the second-half scoring started when he tallied on a 7-yard run just a minute and a half into the third quarter. Spencer Johnson ran in the two-pointer for a 20-3 Clipper lead.

Almost eight minutes later, Amboy/LaMoille was celebrating again when Nelson scored his second TD of the game, this time on a 14-yard run. Again, Johnson followed that up with a successful two-pointer and the rout was on.

The Chargers scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass a minute into the fourth quarter, but the Clippers dashed any Orion comeback ideas when they got a pair of touchdown runs from Johnson - the first on a 1-yard run and the second a 5-yarder that was set up by a 91-yard run from Nelson. Powers ran for the two-pointer after Johnson's first score and then Canaan Ross kicked an extra-point after Amboy/LaMoille's final TD of the night.

Orion tacked on a token score with two minutes left to provide the final scoring.

Nelson finished with 228 yards rushing on 14 attempts while Johnson accumulated 130 yards on 14 carries.

On the defensive side, Drew Fordham led the Clippers with 12 tackles, including a pair of sacks. Austin Cover added nine tackles, while Jordan Ernst, Taylor Ikens and Andrew Klein had seven apiece.

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