Clegg ready if game on the linePublished: 11/13/13 @ 12:08
By Brandon Judeh
Nov. 26, 2011 is a date that always will stand out in the minds of Western Reserve football fans, coaches and players.
The 13-0 Blue Devils were playing New Washington Buckeye Central in Division VI state semifinal and were 19 yards and 21 seconds away from possibly winning the game.
Coach Andy Hake sent sophomore kicker Parker Clegg out to attempt a 36-yard game-winning field goal on fourth and two.
Moments later, Hake reconsidered and called a timeout, sending his offensive unit onto the field. A Jeff Clegg to Tim Cooper pass was batted down and Buckeye Central escaped with a 22-21 victory.
“I don’t regret that call,” Hake said. “The wind was in our face and we had the player of the year in Division VI at quarterback so I liked our chances by sending the offense back out.”
Parker Clegg, a senior on this year’s undefeated Blue Devils team, agrees.
“I looked at it like I knew I would have made the kick because I made the same kick all the time in practice, but I feel that Coach Hake made the right decision in sending Jeff and the offense back out there,” Clegg said. “Plus, I was only a sophomore so I could see his concerns.
“If that situation was to occur again this year, I feel confident about going out to make that kick and I know Coach Hake would send me out there.”
Without hesitation, Hake says he would have “110 percent confidence” in having Parker Clegg to make the winning kick.
The tense situation of that game along with the other six playoff games the team has played over the past three seasons has helped this senior class in more ways than one.
“Experience goes a long way, making it to the playoffs consistently provides a lot of high pressure situations, but we are always trying to keep the kids on pins and needles, even in practice,” Hake said. “If you want a tradition, you have to make your own.”
Senior lineman Sam Steininger sees 2011 as the reason the 2013 squad is undefeated and has had so much success.
“As sophomores, that playoff run taught us how to win, hard work got us there and hard work has got us to where we are at now,” Steininger said.
“What’s special is our schedule this year was a lot harder than the schedule we played two seasons ago. We owe a lot to Coach Hake, he is so enthusiastic and does a wonderful job of keeping us motivated and bringing out the best in us.”
Saturday at 7 p.m. at Massillon Jackson’s Robert Fife Stadium, the Blue Devils (11-0) will take on Danville (9-2) in the Division VII Region 23 semifinals.
“They run a five-wide set and cause a lot of problems,” Hake said. “They have a very good quarterback who has thrown for more than 2,400 yards and rushed for a lot of yards as well. We are going to have to play four quarters against them.”