As far back as Matt Jordan and Chad Anderson can remember, Clearview football has played an important role in their lives.
When they were barely old enough to run they played in the grass near the concession stand at Tom Hoch Field as their parents watched the action on the field. As they grew older, they watched older brothers bask in the glory of the Friday night lights.
Now it's their turn to shine.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was about 6 years old, I've always wanted to play football on Tom Hoch Field," Jordan said.
Jordan and Anderson, two-way starters at running back and linebacker, will need to have big senior seasons if the Clippers are to return to their familiar perch atop the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division after a one-year absence.
"Both of these players will be critical to our success as a team," Clearview coach Mike Collier said. "They are different kind of players but they are both exceptionally hard workers who lead by example. Matt is an exceptionally quick running back with great moves. Chad is more of a bruising powerful running back who is a good runner as well as an excellent lead blocker."
When asked about their favorite roles, both agreed with their coach's assessment. Jordan said he prefers play running back because he can, "juke, cut and make a lot of moves with the football."
Anderson said he likes linebacker better because he gets to hit people.
One thing they agree on is the close bonds that have been created among the players on the Clippers roster.
"We all grew up together, we are truly like a family. We are together all the time and we are always talking about football," Anderson said.
Jordan, whose older brother Chad played at Clearview before graduating in 2006, is trying to follow in the footsteps of former great Clippers running backs such as 2009 Lorain County Golden Helmet Award winner Anthony Hitchens.
Jordan had a breakout game last year in the PAC opener against Wellington, when he rushed 22 times for 282 yards and three touchdowns.
He went on to break the century mark in rushing yards three more times in the final six games.
"We have great coaches here that help us become great runners," said Jordan, who has played running back since youth football. "Knowing the tradition of running backs at Clearview makes all of us work even harder every day."
Anderson came to Clearview as a quarterback, following in the footsteps of his brother Zach, who guided the Clippers to their last playoff appearance in 2008. However, an injury in his freshman year forced a switched to running back and Anderson never looked back.
As a junior Anderson carried the ball 72 times, mostly in short-yardage situations, for 249 yards and four touchdowns. But he is most proud of his work on the defensive side, where he tied for the team lead with five sacks.
"I remember all of my sacks," Anderson said. "Making big plays on defense is the most exciting part of the game for me."
Although Jordan was the team leader in 2010 with 889 yards and 11 touchdowns, he also played a vital role on defense with three sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles.
"Because they are both two-way players we have to find spots to get them some rest. Normally that comes on offense because we are fortunate to be four or five deep with talented players at that position," said Collier, who pointed out that Alonso Southard, a senior who played six games in 2010, will also play an important role in the running game.
Anderson said the close-knit nature of the team makes it easy for multiple runners to split the carries without any jealously.
"Everyone is about the team and about winning. None of us look at anyone as taking carries away from anyone. Actually it takes a lot of the pressure off to be able to share the load," Anderson said.
By the time the 2011 season is complete Collier thinks Jordan and Anderson will solidify their places in Clearview football lore.
"We have been blessed at Clearview to have a tradition of having talented kids at the running back position," he said. "Chad and Matt have done everything they could to uphold that tradition and set an example for our younger players in the weight room, during film study and on the field."
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.