Barry Lewis: Decarius Clarks making impact as Wagoner's QB
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, October 22, 2012
10/22/12 at 5:16 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: Wagoner's Clark makes impact at QB
It's never easy to be the successor of a starting quarterback who helped lead his team to a state championship.
Wagoner senior Decarius Clark, however, has made that transition as smoothly as possible after the graduation of 2011 quarterback Taylor Bosco.
Clark has completed 68-of-110 passes for 1,144 yards and 15 touchdowns with only three interceptions for the Bulldogs (7-1), who are No. 2 behind Cascia Hall in the Tulsa World's Class 4A rankings.
"He's got good numbers and makes good decisions on when and where to throw," Wagoner coach Dale Condict said.
Clark has surpassed the expectations Condict had for him before the season.
"I was looking for him to be more of a game manager, but he worked a lot on his accuracy during the summer and he has been very efficient in the passing game," Condict said.
Clark showed his accurate arm on Wagoner's first offensive play in a 40-24 victory over Cleveland on Thursday as he connected with Kerwin Thomas on a 97-yard touchdown bomb.
Of course, as Clark admits, it is a big help for a quarterback to have offensive teammates such as Thomas and Lawrence Evitt, who is the state's leading rusher with 1,969 yards.
"It's been very fun," Clark said. "And our offensive line is really good. On that touchdown pass, I knew they couldn't play him that close and if they did, he was going to get open."
Clark also makes an impact on defense and on special teams. As a cornerback, he shifted to cover Cleveland's Derek Reeves in the second half and held him to one catch after Reeves was a big factor in the first half with four receptions for 93 yards.
"He took it upon himself to go where No. 12 (Reeves) was as much as possible in the second half," Condict said. "With Decarius, we've tried to take some things off him so he could focus on being quarterback, but he does such a good job for us in many roles."
Clark, who made a 29-yard field goal that opened the scoring in last year's state title game, had only tried one kick before Thursday when he filled in and made both extra-point kicks he tried. He also was inserted into the game as a punt returner.
Wagoner trailed, 24-20, going into the fourth quarter against Cleveland for the first time in its seven-game winning streak.
"Winning a game against a good team like Cleveland is just going to make us a better team and help us win state again," Clark said.
The Bulldogs can clinch the District 4A-3 title with a victory at winless Webster on Friday.
Elsewhere in 4A: Condict was so impressed by Cleveland that he said after the game, "I think they should be ranked higher than No. 9 even thought they lost."
Teams rarely move up in the rankings after a loss, but events resulted in Cleveland moving up one position to No. 8 after last week's eighth-ranked team, Sallisaw, lost 35-28 to Broken Bow, which enters the rankings at No. 10.
Condict also said about Cleveland quarterback Chas Stallard, who had 354 total yards against Wagoner, "They have the best quarterback in 4A."
Cleveland will have another challenge this week as it hosts No. 9 Catoosa on Friday. That game will decide which team hosts a first-round playoff game. The loser will have to open the playoffs on the road.
Catoosa is coming off a 42-20 win over Webster. Senior quarterback Austin Potter completed two passes, both for TDs, in three attempts for 67 yards.
Hunter Harrison had 12 carries for 68 yards and two TDs plus nine tackles, while twin brother Hagen had a rushing TD and 11 tackles.
Ponca City prevails: Ponca City, despite an 0-6 start, kept its 6A playoff hopes alive with its second straight win, 26-23, over Booker T. Washington on Thursday. Ponca City will likely go to the playoffs if it can win at Bartlesville on Friday.
Nick Hamilton was a standout for Ponca City as he caught two TD passes and had a game-saving interception in the final seconds that kept the Hornets from a winning TD. The Hornets, who would've been in great shape for a playoff berth if they had won, had rallied from a 26-8 deficit with a pair of Cordale Grundy TD passes to Tarik Brantley.
Air Force offers Atyia: Union quarterback Hunter Atyia visited Air Force during the weekend and was offered a scholarship by the Falcons. Atyia, who was the starting QB on Union's 6A title team last year, has passed for 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Dutch battle for playoffs: Holland Hall (3-5 overall), despite three straight losses, can clinch the Southwest Preparatory Conference North zone's final playoff berth with a win when it hosts Dallas Episcopal (2-6) on Friday. A loss would keep the Dutch from the playoffs for the second straight year.
Photo Day on Tuesday: Athletes and coaches from all area high schools are invited to attend the Tulsa World's Winter Sports Photo Day that is scheduled from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Union High School UMAC's Redskin Room. Coaches from basketball, wrestling, swimming and other winter sports are asked to bring their top five to six athletes. Football teams that missed the World's Fall Sports Photo Day in August also are invited to attend.
Wagoner quarterback Decarius Clark takes the snap behind Tanner Epperson as Cleveland's Logan Shultz looks to rush in the first half of their game Thursday in Wagoner. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World