AMBOY – Bailey Appleman was flattened. The Amboy/LaMoille linebacker was crushed by a thunderous block by North Shore Country Day’s Ayo Okesanya.
The play happened two plays before the half. Appleman, also the Clippers’ fullback, shook off the cobwebs, rumbled for 102 yards and helped Amboy to a 36-12 win over the Raiders in a Class 2A first-round playoff game on Saturday evening at The Harbor.
“I’m still feeling it,” Appleman said of the Okesanya’s block. “I’m feeling it in my head and neck. I’ve had a few concussions, so it’s nothing new. I felt all right, I guess – good enough.”
Quarterback Tyson Powers and Appleman led the way for the Clippers (8-2), who advanced to a second-round date at Orion (6-4) this Saturday.
Powers piled up 151 total yards – 78 passing and 73 rushing – passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more.
“Our offensive line started to impose their will and wear them down,” Powers said. “With our style, we have to stay patient and the big play will come. We hit a couple big plays that really helped.”
Things did not start well for Amboy. The Clippers went three-and-out to start the game, and the Raiders’ Kendrick Hales bolted 69 yards to a touchdown on Country Day’s second play.
Amboy quickly responded, as Powers sprinted 47 yards for a touchdown. Both teams’ points after failed, and it was 6-6 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
The Clippers went up 14-6 with 4:36 left in the half when Powers hit Taylor Ikens with a pass for a 45-yard touchdown, and running back Cooper Nelson added the two-point conversion.
Country Day made it 14-12 with a 38-yard touchdown pass with 1:15 left in the half, but Amboy promptly answered.
The Clippers’ Spencer Johnson, who is nursing a bad ankle and was used sparingly, busted a 30-yard run before Powers hit Damon Quest for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Powers’ two-point run made it 22-12 with 28 seconds left in the half.
In the second half, Appleman tacked on a 45-yard TD run and Powers a 42-yard TD run. Powers also had a two-point pass to Jordan Ernst.
After being outgained 181-167 in the first half, Amboy outgained the Raiders 152-25 in the second half, including 152 to minus-2 on the ground.