BANGOR - In preseason Michael Clarke was planning to be Bangor's starting tailback. When Phil Vass was moved from wide receiver to the backfield, Clarke became the back up.
It's worked out well for the Slaters. Vass leads the Colonial League in rushing.
When Vass went down with an ankle injury Friday night, Clarke took the opportunity to shine, running for a career high 185 yards and four touchdowns in a 46-14 win over Northwestern.
"I've been ready since game one," said Clarke, who had just one touchdown this year before last night. "Even with Phil going down, we still have the opportunity to put some points on the board. Our line will block for anybody. They don't just block for one kid."
Clarke doubled his total carries for the season, running 20 times. And he nearly equaled his career touchdown total (5) in one game.
"He does anything you ask him to do," said Bangor head coach Frank Scagliotta. "He's a consummate team player. In summer he was probably going to be our starting tailback. To have a game like this on senior night, I'm really proud of him."
The Slaters controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They opened holes for 324 rushing yards, while holding the Tigers to negative yardage on the ground (minus-10)for the game.
"They dominated the line of scrimmage and made a ton of plays," said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder. "We were outmatched. At one point we had two freshmen and two sophomores on the offensive line."
The Slaters went up 7-0 on Clarke's first touchdown, a 14-yard scamper.
The Tigers answered with two big pass plays as Tyler Richardson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
The Slaters responded with a seven-play drive that ended with Clarke's second score. They converted an onsides kick then drove 39 yards for Clarke's third run to pay dirt, making it 20-7 with 10:28 left in the first half.
Bangor made it 26-7 with a four-play drive late in the second quarter that was capped by Clarke's 4-yard run.
With Northwestern trying to move the ball and get some more points before halftime, Bangor's Elonn Plummer picked off a Frank Dangello pass and went 65 for a backbreaking touchdown that made it 33-7 at halftime.
"That was deflating," said Snyder.
Bangor added a pair of Tim Viccario touchdowns in the second half.
The Tigers got another score in the final two minutes when Dangello hit Richardson with a six-yard strike to make it 46-14 with 1:41 left in the game.