Central Crossing's Clark setting example
Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr believes senior Tory Clark has set a standard for future Comets.
Clark is considered the top threat on the team, which is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Central Division entering its game Friday, Sept. 21, at Hilliard Davidson.
The versatile Clark has played running back, slotback and wide receiver, and he is the Comets' top defensive back, whether at cornerback or safety.
He also returns punts and kickoffs.
"Whether he knows it or not, he's paving the way for the Comets of tomorrow," Harr said. "The future Comets are hopefully going to be able to do great things because he kind of set the bar where it is with the work ethic and the attention. We've never received much attention in football and now people are interested and he's a big part of it."
Clark, who also leads the boys basketball team at point guard, has rushed for 346 yards and four touchdowns this season. He also has 231 yards receiving and two scores.
In a 35-12 victory over Franklin Heights on Sept. 7, Clark finished with more than 400 all-purpose yards. He had 174 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 10 carries and three receptions for 69 yards and a score.
Clark has received interest from several colleges to play football and has made visits to Ohio University, Northwestern and Princeton.
"No one from Central Crossing has received bigger attention than Tory is getting," Harr said. "I would hope it's a good reflection on the program."
Harr expects colleges to pursue Clark to play defensive back.
"He could be a safety in college, but he does everything for us," Harr said.
"Punt and kick returns, running back, receiver. If we needed him at quarterback, he could play quarterback. Safety, corner. He doesn't really come off the field a whole lot. We try to give him a rest on some special teams."
In track and field, Clark qualified for the Division I regional meet in the long jump as a freshman and finished seventh (20 feet, 11 1/2 inches). The top four advanced to state.
Clark missed the postseason in track last spring after tearing the rotator cuff in his right shoulder during a regular-season meet.
Clark, who also is a sprinter, hopes to close his track career by again qualifying for regional and then state.
Harr has become a mentor for Clark, as the two meet nearly on a daily basis to discuss Clark's future on and off the field.
"Coach Harr has been setting me up with different recruiters, different coaches," Clark said. "Coaches have come watch me play. He's been telling me to be a leader and step up. He can't decide what I want to do, it's how bad do I want it and if I want to keep working hard then I can be successful. He's never doubted me on anything."
Junior Luke Duncan continues his development as the Comets' quarterback, as he has completed 47 of 87 passes for 578 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Central Crossing fell behind Olentangy Liberty 42-0 in the second quarter and lost 56-34 on Sept. 14.
Clark rushed for 139 yards on 17 carries, including a 78-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He added a 5-yard touchdown reception from Duncan later in the quarter and had more than 300 all-purpose yards.
"I like the way I've been playing," Clark said. "I like the new (spread) offense and the way it isolates me with certain players like the linebackers or corners. It gives me a chance to show my talent."
Jake Welch had four receptions for 111 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.
"We had five interceptions, a fumble and two blocked punts," Harr said. "I don't care who you are, you're not going to win games when you have eight turnovers. We're going to focus on that again. We cleaned up the ball security stuff from a couple of weeks ago. We haven't fumbled a whole lot since then. The blocked punts is an easy fix. We just have to get a little bit better on the interceptions."
Harr and his team are looking forward to playing Davidson, which leads the series 5-0.
"We're real exited to play them," Harr said. "We're at their place again. It's smash-mouth football. They grind it out, eat the clock and our style of offense completely contrasts theirs. It's two different styles that will be going at it. We'd like to think if we can get a lead on them that takes them out of their element a little bit. We want to make them do something that they don't want to do."