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Clem hopes to build on breakout junior campaign

By John Henson
Contributing columnist

While it won’t go down as one of the best in the long and proud history of the Harlan football program, the 2019 season was a good one individually for Ethan Clem.

While the Dragons struggled through a 1-10 campaign, Clem proved to be one of the best all-around players in the region as he rushed for a team-high 740 yards and eight touchdowns while finishing in a tie for sixth place on the team in tackles with 24.

Clem was the team’s primary ball carrier but demonstrated his versatility by moving to quarterback when Connor Scearse went out with an injury that sidelined him for all but five games.

“I think playing so many positions helped me get better, even though it was kind of out of necessity with Connor and some others getting hurt,” Clem said.

“Ethan was our workhorse last year,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “He was kind of our do everything guy. We are expecting more of the same this year.”

“I thought I had a pretty good year, but I’m worried about helping my team,” Clem said. “It was hard with only 15 players at times.”

Perry expects those numbers to improve this year and he likes the leadership being provided by Clem and the team’s five other seniors.

“Ethan is a quiet leader for us who leads by example. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but when he does the other guys definitely listen,” Perry said. “He’s a great kid who comes to work on his craft every day and always has a great attitude. I think he could really have a huge year for us.”

“I feel like I will have a good senior season, if we get to play,” Clem said. “I feel good with our team this year. I feel we have a better chance this year. We have people showing up and working, and that’s all you can do. We have some experience this year. We have to put the work in and show up to practice.”

While getting ready for the season, Clem admits he’s been somewhat distracted at times by the uncertainty of when the season will start because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been crazy. I just want to have my senior season,” Clem said. “It kind of brings me down when I hear something, but I can’t listen to that. It’s all in the Lord’s hands.”

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