After slow start, Karr back in Dome with big challenge in No. 1 Neville _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Karr's Aldon Clark (1) delivers a pass through Cecilia defenders on Friday in Cecilia.

Aldon Clark is described by his coaches and teachers at Edna Karr as quiet and humble.

So chances are, you will never hear Clark boasting or about his stellar play as the Cougars’ quarterback.

But ask Clark about his skills as a dancer, and he won’t hesitate in tooting his own horn.

“Yeah, I’m the best dancer on the team,” he says, cracking a smile. “No doubt.”

Running back Tyrik Luckett, one of Clark’s closest friends on the team, validates Clark’s claim.

“Yeah, he’s the best one,” Luckett says.

On Saturday afternoon, Clark is hoping to give the Karr faithful and everyone else in Algiers a reason to dance and celebrate as well when he leads the Cougars in the Class 4A state championship game.

No. 14 seed Karr (9-4) plays top-seed Neville (13-0) at 3:30 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

If Clark is to turn the Dome turf into his personal dance floor, a lot will depend on his right arm.

He has completed 211 of 328 passes for 3,461 yards and 34 touchdowns. He has thrown just eight interceptions, giving him an impressive 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He doubled his passing yards from his sophomore season when he threw for right around 1,700 yards.

Clark wasn’t the least bit surprised when hearing his stats.

“It’s what I expected because I have some playmakers around me and I have an O-line that gives me a lot of time,” Clark said.

His head coach isn’t surprised either. He knew when Clark first arrived on campus that he could blossom into a special talent.

“When Aldon was a freshman, we always knew he had a big arm, so it was never about his arm strength,” Brown said. “It was just a matter of him learning the playbook and the ins and outs of the defensive side of the ball. He really humbled himself and got in the film room and perfected his game. Just the way he has taken care of the ball has been the biggest thing.”

Perhaps even more impressive is that Clark, in his second year as a starter, helped get the team back on track after a disappointing 0-3 start.

“We were like ‘Man, we’re really 0-3,’” Clark recalled of that early slump. “It wasn’t the season we expected. But then that bye week came and we regrouped and just said ‘OK, now it’s district time.’ There were a lot of doubters who stopped riding with us. But we stuck together as a team and rode with each other.”

The Cougars won nine of their next 10 games. The only loss during that stretch was against Easton, but Clark missed that one with an injury. He returned the next week and led a come-from-behind win against McDonogh 35, tossing a late touchdown to seal the win.

“That game really sparked us because of how we had to come back,” said the 6-foot-2, 180 pound Clark.

And that ability to come back has carried over into the playoffs as Karr erased a 22-0 deficit against Bastrop in the quarterfinals and climbed out of a 14-0 hole in the semifinals against Franklinton. But the Cougars know they can’t afford to fall behind like that against Neville, riding a 25-game winning streak.

Neville won the 4A state title last season and is back in the Dome.

Karr is making its return for the first time since 2013 when it lost to East Jefferson.

Clark was a freshman on that team and didn’t play but looks forward to getting his shot, especially since Neville ended his season in the quarterfinals last year.

“I will try to get my mind off the bright lights and just play like I play at Behrman,” Clark said. “I have to play at my highest level.”

It’s something that Clark has tried to do ever since grabbing the quarterback reins as a sophomore. He knew all about the giant footsteps he was following on 3332 Huntlee Drive, with guys like Patrick Surtain, Munchie Legaux and Speedy Noil having played the position.

“Coming behind some great quarterbacks at this school, there is a lot of weight on your shoulders, Clark said. “But you didn’t really think about it. You just play your game and do the best you can do.”

Clark often hears from former Karr players, who have given him advice about playing in the purple and gold.

“They tell me to just enjoy this experience because when you leave, you can never come back and get it,” Clark said.

He would like nothing more than to finish his junior season off with a win in the Dome.

If it happens, Clark will be easy to find.

He’ll be the guy in the No. 1 jersey dancing.

He flashed a smile when asked which dance he’ll break out with.

“Just whatever comes to mind at that moment,” he said.