After watching his younger brother play football for several years, Jared Clark thought he’d give it a try.

So Clark went out for the football team as a freshman at Columbus East. Three years later, he and his brother Zach are bookend offensive tackles for the Olympians.

“Definitely, part of it was him playing football,” Jared Clark said. “He’s talked about the competitive drive we have, so he definitely encouraged me to pick that up.”

While their experience levels differ, mostly similarities exist between Jared, a senior left tackle, and Zach, a junior right tackle.

Both stand 6-foot-4 and weigh 250 pounds. Both throw the shot and discus for the East track and field team. Both are in the National Honor Society.

“They’re talented players,” East offensive line coach David Miller said. “They both are good size, long arms, good feet and they work hard in the weight room. They’re physically strong football players. They work hard on the field. They’re quiet kids. They don’t say much, but they do a good job of leading by example.

Despite being only his second year as an offensive lineman, Jared Clark is drawing attention from college football programs.

St. Francis has offered a scholarship. Morehead State, a Football Championship Subdivision non-scholarship school, has offered a roster spot.

“He’s a really good technician, a really good blocker,” East head coach Bob Gaddis said. “He’s still going to get a lot bigger because he has that big frame. He’ll probably be a 270-pound lineman when he gets to college.”

Jared Clark, who has bulked up from 230 pounds last year to 250 this season, was a defensive end his first two years of high school. When the Olympians went to summer camp last June, he was a tight end.

By the start of last season, Jared Clark was the starting left tackle.

“Last year was my first year playing any O-line, so it was really starting off from scratch,” Jared Clark said. “Getting that experience under my belt really helped me improve as a player.”

Meanwhile, Zach Clark was one of East’s first two backups on the offensive line last season. Most of his action came at the junior varsity level.

This summer, he earned the starting job at right tackle.

“I was really looking forward last year,” Zach Clark said. “I knew I’d have to work hard, and I’m enjoying every second of it.”

Gaddis said Zach Clark also could play some defensive tackle this year.

So far this season, Gaddis has been happy with the play of his offensive line, including his tackles.

“They’ve done a great job,” Gaddis said. “We’re fortunate to have them to play on the offensive line for us. Jared is a guy that has a lot of experience, and then Zach got a lot of reps with the first team in practice (last year), so he was ready to step in and go. They’re really hard workers in the offseason. They’re the epitome of that offensive line mentality.”

Zach Clark said there is a healthy competition between him and his brother, not only on the field, but at home.

“Everything is really a competition,” Zach Clark said. “Practice doesn’t end when it ends. It goes on until you’re home, and anything you do to mess up, it’s always constant pressure and competition. But it’s good. It forces both of us to always work hard.”

The Olympians began the season with a 62-7 rout of Bloomington North before falling 30-13 at Columbus North on Friday. That snapped East’s 44-game regular-season winning streak.

Jared Clark said that despite the loss, the Olympians took a step forward last week.

“Starting off the season, we’ve gotten better each week,” Jared Clark said. “Obviously, we would have liked to bring home a win last week, but we’re still on track for all of our goals this season, which is win (Hoosier Hills Conference) and make a run in the playoffs.”

His brother agreed.

“Just because we lost to North, our season’s not over,” Zach Clark said.

Jared and Zach Clark

Name: Jared Clark

School: Columbus East

Year: Senior

Position: Left tackle

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 250

Other activities: Track and field, National Honor Society

Favorite sport: Football

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Name: Zach Clark

School: Columbus East

Year: Senior

Position: Right tackle

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 250

Other activities: Track and field, National Honor Society

Favorite sport: Football

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.