Viking Clay Johansen skirts out of the Clipper defender’s reach. The senior carried the ball 13 times for 66 yards in Decorah’s 17-6 first-round victory over Clear Creek-Amana Friday. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Viking Clay Johansen skirts out of the Clipper defender’s reach. The senior carried the ball 13 times for 66 yards in Decorah’s 17-6 first-round victory over Clear Creek-Amana Friday. (Photo by Becky Walz)

It was typical Decorah football as a heavy mist and fans filled Viking Stadium for the Class 3A first-round playoff game Friday night. The Vikings punched the Clear Creek-Amana Clippers right in the mouth with a solid ground assault, winning their 45th playoff game in the program’s history.

“Clear Creek-Amana was a strong, well-prepared team,” pointed out Decorah Coach Pat Trewin. “Our line got after them, our backs ran hard and our defense played well. Coach Tangen had our guys well-prepared and we felt our scout group ran their offense and defense well. We are proud of the guys to come out on top of this hard-fought game.”


How it happened

It was a defensive first quarter before Clear Creek-Amana received the gift of a short field, starting on the Viking 28-yard line. Two plays and 15 seconds later, the Clippers pushed their way into the end zone. Drake Shelton deflated the balloon on the point-after attempt, blocking the kick.

Trailing 6-0 after the first quarter, Decorah went to work and it Shelton again who came up with the big play as he pulled down an interception with 9:01 left before the break. It took the Vikings nine plays to march 70 yards to reach the goal line on a Kailer McCabe four-yard plunge. Cameron DeLong’s PAT gave Decorah a 7-6 advantage that kept building.

After the break, McCabe supplied another touchdown on a 26-yard carry on a drive that lasted only 1:51 and five plays. DeLong once again converted easily on the PAT to hand the Vikings a 14-6 lead, but he wasn’t done yet as DeLong connected on a 34-yard field goal on a Decorah drive that stalled after over five minutes of possession.

This marks the Vikings first time back in the quarterfinals since 2015. Clear Creek-Amana ends its most successful season in school history at 8-2.


Team leaders

The Vikings held Clear Creek-Amana to 174 yards while rolling up 332 total yards.

Kailer McCabe had a career high in rushing yards with 138 in his 19 carries that included a pair of touchdowns. 

Notching his seventh game over the century mark was Drake Shelton with 108 rushing yards, as he carried the pigskin 22 times. The senior also blocked a PAT and had an interception.

Defensively it was Seth Shindelar with the standout game, collecting six solo and three assisted tackles, including 3.5 tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery. Mason Stortz picked up four solo stops and three assists, while Andrew Magner had four solo and two assisted tackles.


Going for more

The Vikings’ next opponent is no stranger as Decorah looks to avenge its regular season loss to No. 1 Xavier in the Class 3A quarterfinals in Cedar Rapids Friday at 7 p.m. In week two, Decorah was defeated by Xavier, 45-3; however, the Vikings were the last team to defeat the Saints on their home field in the 2015 playoffs. The Saints defeated Pella 14-6 for a first round win.

“Xavier is an excellent team. When we played them earlier this season we started the game well, but struggled after the first quarter,” said Trewin. “We’ve made quite a bit of progress since then. We need to play a much cleaner game this time around. We need to control the football and make some big plays as they are a tough defense to score on.”