Posted On: 04/7/21 12:24 PM
Clark got off to a rough start as they went down 14-0 after Solorio’s Martese Cole scored on a 6-yard touchdown reception, followed by a 8-yard touchdown run by Amarius Weatherspoon Amarius Weatherspoon 6'0" | RB Solorio | 2021 IL .
But Clark didn’t panic, and they didn’t deviate from their game plan like most teams would have done going down by 14. They stayed true to their identity and gave Solorio a heavy does of the run and their stingy defense would only give up 6 points for the rest of the game after giving up 14 quick points to start.
Clark scored 28 unanswered points on touchdown runs from Willie Taylor (54), Quadrell Hill (51), and Dontrell Starks (2,4).
Solorio’s quarterback Benjamin Moore would end their scoring drought in the middle of the 4th quarter on a 30-yard run to close the gap to 28-22.
But, Solorio’s late push wasn’t enough as Clark’s defense was able to hold firm and keep the score at 28-22 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
What started out as a lop-sided performance for Clark ended up being a hard fought victory this team can build on.
So what exactly did I learn about Clark in their 28-22 defeat of Solorio? Let’s find out below.
Willie Taylor | ATH | ’23
Taylor is the true definition of an ATH that gets it done on both sides of the ball; and after watching him play this past weekend, I’m torn on which position he projects best at the next level. He runs the ball extremely hard as I watched him bulldoze through Solorio defenders to the tune of 136 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. He stands at 5’11″ and weighs close to 200lbs, so he’s able to be the team’s workhorse and he’s physical enough to take, and dish out punishment as a ball carrier. But don’t let his physical running style fool you, because he’s elusive enough to wiggle around defenders and make them miss in space. He piled up the tackles and even had a couple big hits as he was relentless in his pursuit of the ball on defense. He’s stout enough to take on blocks and he even showed his ability to shed them, which put him in perfect position to make tackles. Illinois’ C/O ’23 has a long list of talented players, and Willie Taylor, albeit flying under the radar, is without a doubt apart of that talented bunch.
Quadrell Hill | RB | ’22
Hill was able to eclipse 100 yards on the ground in bruising fashion. He’s a one-cut-and-go, no-nonsense, north and south type of back. He isn’t going to wow you with a bunch of fancy cuts and jukes, he’s just going to put his head down and punish whoever is in front him. He appeared to get stronger as the game went on and was able to wear down Solorio’s defense. He was persistent running the football and fought hard for every yard. His highlight of the game came on a 54-yard touchdown run.
Dontrell Starks | ATH | ’23
Dontrell was forced to move from his natural position of wide receiver to fill Clark’s void at quarterback. He did a great job of managing the game and was able to find the end zone on two rushing touchdowns. He’s every bit of 6’2″ with a frame he can fill out with no problem, and since he’s only a sophomore, he has plenty of time to physically get ready for the next level. Starks also had a solid day on defense at cornerback and was a big reason why Solorio’s quarterback had problems connecting with his receivers on the outside. Starks is a good athlete with some untapped potential that’s worth keeping an eye on moving forward. I would project him as a receiver at the next level, and I believe his stock can rise the quicker he can get back to his normal position.
Pictured: Avion Ellis #78; Johnny Smith #66
Clarks offensive and defensive lines carried their team to victory as the battle in the trenches was the deciding factor in this game. They were in unison all night and played extremely well as a unit. Clark’s rushing attack was able to gain over 200 yards and it was all because of the lanes created by the big boys up front. The d-line payed well and was able to create pressure on the quarterback and contain Solorio’s running back Amarius Weatherspoon Amarius Weatherspoon 6'0" | RB Solorio | 2021 IL — a back who’s considered one of the best in the Public League. Clark’s line is MASSIVE, and none of them are seniors; so teams in the Public league are going to have their hands full for the next few years.
Clark is good shape for the foreseeable future. They’re undefeated through two games and they’ve accomplished that feat with a team that’s predominantly led by underclassmen. They play a physical brand of football which is predicated on running the ball down their opponents throat and playing stingy defense. This Spring season is providing this team the necessary reps to put it all together and breakout once the fall arrives.
Clark (2-0) looks to remain undefeated as they prepare for their week three matchup against Taft (3-1) this Saturday at 12:00 p.m.