MOKANE — South Callaway coach Zack Hess couldn't help but notice, and he promptly addressed it.
Clopton/Elsberry has erupted for a total of 100 points in two consecutive Eastern Missouri Conference wins as the IndianHawks visit South Callaway (5-1, 3-0 EMO) — winners of four straight — for the Bulldogs' Homecoming game tonight. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Clopton/Elsberry improved to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in the EMO after a 50-46 shootout victory last week at home against Wright City. The IndianHawks equalled that output when they outlasted visiting Van-Far/Community in a 50-42 shootout Sept. 14.
"Those were talking points (Monday night) at our meeting, the fact that they had scored 100 points in the last two games," Hess said. "Regardless of who they're playing, they're executing, they're making big plays and you can see it on film that they have some playmakers and some good athletes that have done well for them.
"That was definitely brought to our attention and we're going to have to be ready to go."
Junior quarterback Shawn Yates steers Clopton/Elsberry's spread offense, which includes senior halfback Damian Walker in the backfield. Yates' passing targets are senior Derrick Taylor and sophomore Eddie Bonstell at wide receiver, and senior Trevor Anthony and sophomore Zakk Eivins at tight end.
"(Yates) has got a good arm, he stands in the pocket strong and tries to give his receivers time to get open downfield," Hess said. "He's got pretty good accuracy, but then the thing that was impressive, too, is he can tuck it and run.
"He doesn't seem to do that first — he goes through his progressions — but if he needs to, he's done a good job scrambling. (Walker) is a bowling ball, he's big — he does a good job between the tackles, he runs hard."
The IndianHawks will encounter a South Callaway defense tonight that is playing at a high level. The Bulldogs forced five turnovers — scoring off one — and forged four fourth-down stops last week in an impressive 50-6 EMO rout at Bowling Green.
Hess said the objective will be to prevent Yates and Clopton/Elsberry from delivering dynamic offensive strikes. Senior strong safety Peyton Leeper and senior cornerback Dylan Paschang share the team lead with four interceptions each for South Callaway.
"We have to eliminate big plays and (impact) field position, just trying to make them earn what they get," Hess said. "If you watch the film, a lot of their scoring drives and scoring opportunities have been off of big plays.
"(Yates) does a great job of just throwing the ball up and letting his receivers go make a play. That'll be a challenge for our secondary guys, playing great technique and challenging those balls, being ballhawks."
The IndianHawks have needed their spike in scoring numbers the past two weeks to compensate for a defense that surrendered 86 points combined. That wouldn't seem to bode well against the Bulldogs, who are averaging 41 points during their last three games.
"I think sometimes (Clopton/Elsberry) struggles a little bit with its run fits and just discipline," Hess said. "Hopefully we can take advantage of that.
"They're real aggressive — they'll fly to the ball and they play with a lot of excitement."
Leeper — at quarterback — ran for three touchdowns and also threw for a score in the victory agianst Bowling Green. Leeper has rushed for a team-high 401 yards and eight touchdowns this season, while completing 44-of-83 passes (53 percent) for 715 yards, nine scores and just two interceptions.
Senior running back Bradyn Belcher has also gained 282 yards and scored three touchdowns for South Callaway. Paschang, at wide receiver, tops the Bulldogs with 15 catches for 280 yards and five scores.
"Coach (offensive coordinator Tucker) Bartley has been doing a great job of taking what the defense gives us, especially along the line with their alignments," Hess said. "If we see something that we can take advantage of — whether that's inside or outside — even in the pass game, if they commit another guy in the box, which we've seen a lot of, then we'll try to take advantage of that, too."