Many people would tell you that you need a veteran quarterback, preferably a senior, to have success in the pressure-packed world of playoff football.
Many people have yet to meet Clearview quarterback Roger Engle.
Engle, a sophomore, will be in a familiar place Friday night, under center, as the seventh-seeded Clippers take on No. 2 seed Ottawa-Glandorf in a Division IV regional quarterfinal matchup at Findlay High School’s Donnell Stadium.
With two years of experience under the Friday night lights, Engle has the maturity and poise to match just about any player in the area.
“I remember coming in my freshman year thinking everything was going 100 miles an hour, now everything has really slowed down for me on the field,” Engle said.
The only thing that hasn’t slowed down is the pace of the Clippers’ offensive attack.
During the regular season, Clearview averaged 27.6 points and 350 yards of total offense per game with a balanced attack that produced 20 touchdowns on the ground and 17 through the air.
The Clippers went 7-3 this season after going 4-6 a year ago and Engle nearly doubled his passing output, averaging 165.7 yards a game.
Engle said he worked hard in the offseason both in passing drills and in the weight room to become a better quarterback. However, he said most of the credit for his, and the team’s success, goes to his teammates.
“We’ve been very successful both running and passing the ball and that all starts up front with the offensive line,” Engle said. “Chad (Anderson) ran the ball exceptionally well this year. When I didn’t have my best games passing-wise, the team always knew it could rely on Chad to get the yards for us.”
Anderson, who has been the heart and soul of the Clippers on both sides of the football, finished the regular season with the second-best stat line of any running back in Lorain County, rushing for 1,544 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Having a quarterback like Engle to complement Anderson has been a dream come true for Clearview coach Mike Collier.
“As a sophomore, you would not expect a quarterback to be as poised as Roger has been,” Collier said. “He worked hard in the offseason to build his strength and skill level and went to camps. He’s put the time in to improve his game, and the results have been apparent this season.
“The balance in our offense has been huge for us because teams can’t really gear up for one facet of our game. Any coach would want the balance that we’ve been able to have this season.”
The highlight of Engle’s season came in Week 6 against Fairview, when he was 30-for-42 passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter, game-winning touchdown pass to Gerrell Williams to give the Clippers a 32-27 win.
It was Engle’s second 300-yard game of the season. He also threw for 319 yards in a 36-14 Week 2 win against John Marshall.
He will face his stiffest challenge yet against an Ottawa-Glandorf team that is ranked No. 2 in the final AP Division IV state poll.
“We have to just go there and approach it as a normal game and play the way we’ve played all season,” Engle said. “We’ve been practicing hard and our offense has had success all season, so we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Collier, who is taking a team into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, is confident Engle is ready for the biggest game of his career.
“Roger has done a great job of managing the offense all season,” Collier said. “Obviously we are pleased with his progress this year. We would not be in the position we’re in right now if we didn’t have his leadership on the field.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.