Prep Football: Cards defeat Rowan to snap 12-game losing streak
Clark quarterback Luke Sharrock runs 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against Rowan County Friday night. (Sun photo by Bill Thiry / October 26, 2012)
The George Rogers Clark football team saved their best for last and notched their first win of the season with a 44-26 rout of Rowan County in the regular-season finale for both teams Friday night at Cardinal Stadium.
The Cardinals (1-9) avoided their first winless campaign since 1998 when Clark went 0-10 and lost their first two games the following season. Clark lost their final three games a year ago and opened with nine consecutive losses before defeating the Vikings. Clark will take on top-ranked Louisville Trinity in the opening round of the playoffs Friday night in Louisville.
The Cardinals honored 23 seniors prior to the contest. Two of those seniors — Darian Farris and Da’von Marshall — had a hand in Clark’s first scoring drive one that set the tone for the rest of the contest. Farris had a 25-yard run and Marshall hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Luke Sharrock. C.D. Spight, also a senior, scored on the two-point conversion, giving the hosts an 8-7 advantage.
“This is great for the seniors,” Clark coach Steven Collins said afterward. “That’s what we wanted. I’m tickled to death and happy for them. They’ve worked so hard. They’ve come such a long way and they deserve all of this. It finally came.”
Marshall rushed for 61 yards and scored three touchdowns. Spight paced the team’s offense with 124 yards rushing, while Farris added 107 yards on four carries. Overall, Clark rushed for 376 yards.
“This feels so great right now to finally get a win,” Marshall said. “We came ready to play and everybody came out hitting them in the mouth in the first quarter.¿We were prepared to win.”
Clark senior Robert Cornelius recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, leading to another touchdown. Marshall struck again, this time crossing the goal line on a 29-yard scoring run on a nifty reverse. The touchdown gave Clark a 15-7 advantage. Wesley Wattenberger recovered a Rowan County fumble to end the first quarter.
On the first play of the second frame, Sharrock scored on a 38-yard run to give Clark a 23-7 lead with 11:50 remaining in the first half. Marshall countered a score by Rowan with a 22-yard touchdown run, giving Clark a commanding 30-13 lead with 5:12 remaining in the opening half.
Marshall closed his impressive first half showing with an interception following a Clark fumble on the team’s previous series. Marshall scored three of Clark’s four touchdowns in the first half and rushed for 41 yards. Spight led Clark with 81 yards in the opening half, followed by Sharrock with 46. Sharrock completed three passes for 41 yards and one score.
“They were loose,” Collins said. “It started (last Monday). They prepared loose, they practiced hard and they were mentally sharp. We had a few mistakes, but they came out and they executed, believed in each other and got it done.”
Farris got in on the fun when he scored on a 71-yard run two plays following a roughing the kicker call on Clark’s first possession of the second half. The score by Farris stretched the margin to 37-20 with 10:21 left in the third half.
Marshall added another fumble recovery in the second half, resulting in a 13-yard touchdown run by Spight to give the Cards a 44-20 lead with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Collins and the Cardinals won’t have much time to celebrate and now shifts their attention to the postseason.
“Trinity is Trinity,” Collins said. “They’re one of the best teams in the nation and one of the best in the state. We’ll prepare like we always do. We’re not going to sun-up to sun down and try to figure it out. They have 11 players (on the field) and we’ll put our best 11 (players) on the field.”
Clark 15 15 14 00 — 44
Rowan 07 13 00 06 — 26
RC — Hamrick 18-run (Alderman kick), 10:52.