The Cardinals recovered from a 21-0 deficit with back-to-back scores in the third quarter and had the momentum after Tatum Lewis blocked a punt at the Indians' 25-yard line with 8:46 remaining.
However, the Cards failed to convert on the opportunity.
Three running plays, combined with a holding call produced minus 16 yards and a fourth-down pass play led to an interception by the hosts. The miscue resulted in an 82-yard touchdown by Ricky Rhodes for the final margin with 6:37 remaining.
"We were right there, but some things just didn't go right on offense," said Lewis, who had two sacks to go along with his blocked punt.
The loss ended a long season for the Cards, which lost its first six games, before winning three of their last five contests to close out the campaign.
"We're very disappointed that we didn't get more wins and go deeper into the playoffs," Clark coach Paul Columbia said. "We gave a good effort, but just lacked some playmaking at crucial times. Offensively, we just didn't make the plays. We had a lot of chances."
Madison Central coach Kenny Turner said his team's defensive effort was a difference in the outcome.
"That's the way we were playing earlier in the year, and that's the type of things we need," he said. "We need our defense to come up with big plays, because it just makes everything tougher on our opponent."
Turner's troops made it especially tough on the Cards early in the contest, capitalizing in costly mistakes by Clark's offensive unit.
Two turnovers led to a pair of scores by the hosts' in the opening half.
On the Cards' third possession, a fumble by Travis Conner led to Central's first score. Following the miscue, Central quarterback Chaz Hope connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Avery Bellfield. A conversion run by Rhodes gave the Indians an 8-0 advantage.
With 1:22 remaining in the first half, Keshawn Simpson picked off a Dougie Mason pass and returned it 66-yards to the end zone, giving Central a 14-0 halftime lead.
Hope completed 8-of-12 passes for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Rhodes was the top rusher with 132 yards on 13 carries and one score.
Simpson and the Indians increased the lead to 21-0 two plays into the second half when the Central running back hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Hope.
Clark followed with a score of its own when Lewis hauled in a 32-yard pass from Mason, trimming the margin to 21-7 with 9:24 remaining in the third frame.
The Cards narrowed the margin to 21-14 on the team's next series on Michael Clark's 5-yard run with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter. Mason highlighted the drive with a 19-yard pass to Lewis and completed a 35-yard completion to Zack Hardiman.
Despite a pair of interceptions, Mason threw for 93 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts. Williams was the top rusher for the Cards with 70 yards on 15 carries.
Central 00 14 07 06 - 27
Clark 00 00 14 00 — 14
MC — Bellfield 29 pass from Hope (Rhodes run). MC — Simpson 66 interception return (pass failed). MC — Simpson 71 pass from Hope (Short kick). GRC — Lewis 30 pass from Mason (Saporito kick). GRC — Clark 5-run (Saporito kick). MC — Rhodes 83-run (kicked failed).
Records: Central 7-4. Clark 3-8.