By Travis Mounts
The Clearwater Indians football team routed another league opponent, beating the visiting Trinity Academy Knights 56-7 on homecoming night.
The Indians have become more dominant as the season has gone on, beating their past two opponents by a combined score of 117-21. They opened the season with an overtime win, then beat Rose Hill by 22 points.
But they know the competition will get noticeably tougher, starting this Friday when Clearwater visits Halstead. The Dragons are 2-2, but their two losses the past two weeks were against Hoisington, the No. 2 team in Class 2A, and Andale, the top team in 3A and a heavy favorite to repeat as State champion.
“When you’re going up against teams that are struggling, it’s important to be aggressive and get after them,” Clearwater head coach Jeremy Scheufler said about the Indians’ quick start against an overmatched Trinity team. “We have to keep getting better…If we don’t get better during practice and in the game, then the upcoming weeks will be a big struggle for us.”
He said Halstead is a physical team that likely sees an opportunity against the undefeated Indians.
“Halstead has really put together two really good showings. They’re physical, and they have size that we don’t have. They’re massive,” Scheufer said. He said Halstead likes to run, and would be happy to not throw a forward pass if they could.
Clearwater put Trinity away early with 28 points in the first quarter alone, and the Indians led 42-0 at halftime. They went up 56-0 before the Knights added a late score.
Tanner Cash is the lynchpin for the Indians offense, and it showed as he rushed for 130 yards and five touchdowns, and passed for 119 yards and another score when Cash connected with Trent Hastings for a 26-yard scoring pass and a 14-0 lead. Cash’s longest touchdown run was 49 yards.
Brock Toothaker ran for a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and backup quarterback Tyler Fugarino had an 18-yard rush for a score in the third quarter.
Toothaker led the team with 69 receiving yards, and Hastings had 26. As a team, Clearwater ran for 167 yards and threw for 119.
The defense limited Trinity to 81 rushing yards and 30 passing. The Indians forced three fumbles, and Aidan Brockman, Tate Martin and Toothaker all had interceptions. Martin made a 50-yard return on his interception.
Clearwater, Andale and Collegiate are all 1-0 and +21 on points in 3A District 7. It’s a tough district. Collegiate and Andale are on Clearwater’s schedule after Halstead, and both teams are undefeated and ranked. The regular season ends with Hesston, which lost to Collegiate but is 3-1 overall.