Statistics, or lack thereof, belie the impact senior Nick Clevenger makes on the Indian Creek offensive line.
Clearing paths for running backs and protecting quarterbacks, which Clevenger does efficiently, don’t show up in box scores.
A three-year starter at right guard, Clevenger is the voice of experience up front. And at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, he also plays defense.
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Not all of the time, but much of the time.
“If we’ve got a real good player like Nick, we try to go full-time one way and split one position another way,” Indian Creek coach Mike Gillin said. “We try to get him out a little bit on defense because he’s such a big part of our offensive line. But Nick is just as to us important defensively.
“We’ve just got some other guys we can get in there a little bit.”
Clevenger lines up at tackle on defense. Yet despite not being an every-down player, his 24 tackles rank fifth on the team.
Indian Creek (4-3), winner of three straight, hosts Broad Ripple (1-6) on Friday.
As returning starters from last season, Clevenger and 6-4, 202-pound junior tackle Noah Maness have had little choice but to exercise patience waiting for the Braves’ younger linemen to develop. And as the season has progressed, junior guard Jake Woodall, sophomore tackle Ryan McGillem and junior center D.J. Wilhelm have done just that.
A running attack bordering on invisibility early has picked up momentum. A victory Friday would be Indian Creek’s fourth straight after a disappointing 1-3 start.
“I feel at the beginning we started out rough because we were a young team that was missing a lot of seniors,” Clevenger said. “I knew once we started practicing right and getting everyone used to their positions that we would be fine.”
Starting for an offense averaging 30 points a game and playing valued snaps for a defense permitting nearly 25 sounds exhausting.
Clevenger doesn’t view it that way.
“I love it because it gives me the opportunity to play both positions,” he said. “I like both, but feel I’m a little bit better on defense because it’s not as much responsibility.
“But I can play both just fine.”