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Derby’s Braxton Clark – Athlete Spotlight – Presented by Madrocks

By Joanna Chadwick

Being the starting quarterback comes with pressure, then you add in playing for Derby, which equals more pressure. Then on top of that, you add in being the head coach’s son, and your difficulties are much higher. 

Incoming senior Braxton Clark’s dad, Brandon, has always been his best friend and has always been “coach.” 

Now the pressures of starting as Derby’s quarterback have become his best friend. 

“This offseason has been great. I feel like our team has really come together,” Clark said. “I think we all got a lot to prove because we lost a lot of guys, and some people have some big shoes to fill. But I know we can get the job done week in and week out.” 

Clark isn’t too worried about the obstacles facing him, though. He stepped in during a tough situation last fall when he started in place of Brock Zerger, who suffered a broken leg. Clark helped Derby get to the semifinals.

The Panthers do have some questions to answer themselves after falling to eventual Class 6A champion Manhattan in the semis.

A primary question has been “what’s next?” as they graduated an excellent 2023 class that included Colorado signee Dylan Edwards, the 4-star running back who the Panthers leaned on for the last three years. 

Those questions have been addressed already. Despite it being summer, Derby has been locked in and kicked off their 2023 campaign with a good step in the right direction after a 10-0 weekend at the KC Elite 7on7 event. 

“I feel like the team’s chemistry got much stronger,” Clark said after the 10-0 finish. 

With a whole new backfield, Clark and first-year starting running back Derek Hubbard look to show their maturity as they both bolster huge chips on their shoulders. 

“I feel like we got a lot to prove as I and him are both first-year starters,” Clark said. 

The chip on the shoulder is for the whole team, though, as they look to return to the state championship weekend in Emporia. 

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