Since entering the I8FA, Amboy has reached the semifinals and the state finals in back to back years. Entering 2023 as the favorite, is this the year the Clippers bring a title back to 'The Harbor' for the 2nd time in school history?
In 2021, the Clippers went 5-4 before pulling off a surprising run to the semifinals. Last season, the Clippers improved upon that, and even saw themselves ranked #1 in state early in the season. They ended the season 7-2, but were primed for a playoff run that included a rematch with Milford-Cissna Park, who they lost to in week 4. They made it to the state championship game, where they came home with a runner-up finish to West Central, another rematch game for the Clippers from the regular season.
Head coach Scott Payne is excited about the upcoming season, as they return everyone but one player. With that, he is hopeful they should have a smooth transition into the 2023 season and be potential solid football team. His goal is to win the conference title and compete for a state championship.
Returning for the Clippers is all-stater Brennan Blaine. On offense, Blaine has racked up 1,883 receiving yards and 33 TD's, while picking up another 3 TD's on the ground with 133 yards rushing. Defensively, he has been a menace for the opposition at DE. He has 142 tackles, with 22 sacks, and another 17 tackles for a loss.
The backfield will see juniors Landen Whelchel and Quinn Leffleman. Whelchel stormed onto the scene last season, rushing for 1,451 yards and 18 TD's. Leffleman has added another 970 yards and 17 TD's on the ground to give the Clippers a potent 1-2 punch. And both are big playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, as Whelchel has picked up 119 tackles, and Leffelman anchors the other side of the line from Blaine, where he has picked up 116 tackles with 12 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
The quarterback position is where Amboy will have to make one replacement, as Eddie Jones will take over the reigns. Last season, he filled in for Tucker Lindenmeyer from the end of week 4 through the regular season, where he threw for 547 yards and 10 TD's, helping keep the Clippers sailing along through the season. He proved he could do some work on the run, as he rushed for 223 yards and 4 TD's.
The offensive line will be led by Trey Payne, Ian Sundberg, and Landon Montavon. These 3 helped develop the holes and protection needed for Amboy to churn out over 4,000 yards of offense last season. They will help fill in on the defensive side of the ball as well at the tackle positions.
Some other players to watch will be Braden Klein at RB/LB and Cody Winn at RB/DB.
Coach Payne has great respect for Milledgeville and Polo, both teams he feel will also be competing for the conference crown and a shot to Monmouth. With Polo returning Brock Soltow, a player he feels can take over a game, and the game planning and preparation that Coach Alston provides, he feels the Marcos will be in the thick of things. Likewise, he feels that Connor Nye from Milledgeville can also take a game over, and feels that Coach Wroble and his staff do an excellent job game planning, which will make it a challenge to win the conference.
Playoff History 31-20
1979 3-1 Class 2A State Runner-Up
1980 3-1 Class 2A State Runner-Up
1984 4-0 Class 2A State Champion
2022 3-1 8-man Runner-Up