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By GREG HIGGINS
Chris Clark is entering his third year as Defensive Coordinator for the North Lamar Panthers and he has worked with Coach Felty for 11 years total. Clark is also in charge of the Safeties. “Coach Scudder helps me with the secondary. I take the safeties, and he takes the corners,” Clark adds.
He worked as the secondary coach before being promoted to the Defensive Coordinator spot. However, Coach Clark will tell you this isn’t a one person show.
“I sit here and say I’m the Defensive Coordinator, but we all do it in the office,” Clark says. “We all have a say in what we’re going to do and what we’re going to game plan.” He would also add, “It’s not just me going in there as a dictator. We’re all one. We’re all a family and that’s how we’re going to approach everything.”
Clark came to North Lamar from Bonham and Coach Felty is glad he did. “He’s really been an asset and a good coach,” says Felty.
Clark was glad to see his team scrimmage Daingerfield last week in preparation for the upcoming season. “You’re scrimmaging a team that’s top five in the state in 2A, fast got a lot of speed and real athletic. They’ve got three state championships in the last five years. They’re no pushover and it was a good test for us and it was good for us to see.” He knows there still some work to do but overall he said, “It looked pretty good” when talking about his defense in the scrimmage.
Coach Clark knows that for his team to have success in the upcoming season they are going to have to rely on their technique. “We face a lot of guys that if you give them an inch, they can take it to the house,” Clark says. “It’s not that we’re not an athletic team. We’ve got a bunch of great kids, some athletic kids that play hard, but we have to focus a lot more on technique. We’ve got to get lined right and be in the right place. Those two things right there will get you beat quicker than anything.”
Clark also knows that they have to be better on 3rd down this year. “Where we’ve got to get better from last year is we’ve got to get better on 3rd down. There was a lot of times last year we would have 3rd and long situations, and we would let them convert the 1st down when we should be coming off the field. That’s a momentum breaker.”
Already, he’s had to deal with some adversity on his defense when Reed Scudder got injured in the scrimmage against Prairiland. “Losing Reed at corner, that’s a big loss.” This is Reed’s senior year and he was a two year starter. Clark described him as leader of the team, leader in the dressing room, well liked with the team, and well liked in the office. “That was a big loss for us, and have to overcome that. Good or bad, you have to move on.”
The Panthers’ defense will be moving on starting this Friday night in Commerce and Coach Clark is confident in his team. He knows bad things will happen but you have to be able to forget and move on. “Bad things are going to happen. Usually your championship quality teams, good football players, and your good athletes are the ones that can overcome those bad things. You have to have a short memory on the football field, especially on the defense.”
Clark knows overcoming adversity is key to winning. “If we can overcome adversity, and overcome the bad things, then we’ll be alright.”
When Clark isn’t on the football field, you can probably find him with his wife, Amber and their two children. You might find him out duck hunting as well. Clark says that to get away from football and relax, though, he “loves spending time with his family.”