CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Doing just enough on offense while using a bend but don’t break defensive approach turned out to be the winning recipe for the Central Clarion Wildcats in a 15-7 victory over Dubois in a combination Senior Night and Homecoming at Clarion University Memorial Stadium on Friday evening.
(Article by Steve Smail. Photos by Dave Cyphert / ProPoint Media Photography.)
(Prints & digital downloads are available from this game here)
Central Clarion had several opportunities to score, but they were turned away by either being stopped on fourth down or by losing the ball via a fumble. The Wildcats defense also stopped the Beavers on a pair of drives inside the 20 with interceptions.
“I thought we moved the ball well enough offensively,” said Central Clarion Co-head coach Davey Eggleton. “We just had some miscues and whatnot on a couple of plays. A couple of plays I wish we would have called differently but that’s how it goes.”
The first half turned into a defensive battle with Central Clarion (3-1 overall) scoring the only touchdown of the half on a 40-yard pass from Cal German to Cutter Boggess on the opening drive of the game. The score capped a seven-play 70-yard drive. The PAT kick failed leaving the score 6-0 with 8:41 to play.
The Wildcats would enter Dubois territory three other times in the first half but would fail to score. On one possession Central Clarion was stopped on downs at the Dubois 21. Another one in the second quarter the Wildcats faced a fourth and six from their own 36 and lined up to punt. An offside call on Dubois moved the ball to the 41 for a fourth and inches. The Wildcats then decided to go for it and Boggess reeled off a 52-yard run taking the ball to the Dubois seven. However, four plays plus a penalty netted a loss of six yards which turned the ball back to Dubois at their own 13.
After a Dubois punt, Central Clarion again moved from their own 23 to the Dubois 37 before being stopped on downs again.
Ten straight rushes by Zach Henery moved the ball from their own 37 to the Central Clarion 19. A pair of incomplete passes with another one that netted a loss of three yards. However, the Wildcats would be whistled for a late hit penalty on that play moving the ball to the 11-yard line. Another penalty on the next play moved the ball to the six. Boggess then intercepted a pass and Central Clarion would be able to take a knee to end the first half with a 6-0 lead.
“Defensively our guys stepped up,” said Eggleton. “We bent but we didn’t break. We were able to keep them off the board until that touchdown late in the game. They have a big O-line and some strong backs running behind them. I think tonight our defense gets the credit for this win. Coach (Larry) Wiser and Dave Louder did a great job preparing our guys for tonight.”
Dubois took the opening kickoff and moved the ball from their own 40 to the Central Clarion 35 in 11 plays before turning the ball over on downs.
The Wildcats moved from their own 35 to the Beavers six-yard line before Beau Verdill connected on a 23-yard field goal to extend the lead to 9-0 with 3:21 to play in the third. Breckin Rex had the big play with a 46-yard run during the drive.
Rex finished with 114 yards on 13 attempts.
Dubois would be stopped on downs while Central Clarion would have a pass intercepted on their next possession leaving the score 9-0 after three.
Central Clarion would drive from their own 18 to the Dubois eight before a fumble was recovered by the Beavers early in the fourth.
The Wildcats would then get the ball back four plays later when Ryan Hummell intercepted a pass at the Dubois 35.
A five-yard run with a 15-yard penalty moved the ball to the Beavers 15. Rex would add a six-yard carry to put the ball at the nine. Boggess then took a hand off and bulled his way for a nine-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick was blocked leaving the score 15-0 with 4:17 to play.
Central Clarion would get another Hummell interception but would be unable to capitalize and punted the ball to Dubois with just over a minute to play in the contest.
The Beavers took over at the Clarion 42 after the punt. Four plays later quarterback Cam-Ron Hays connected with Austin Mitchell for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds to play. Ironically, that would be the only catch for Mitchell in the game. Nick Graeca made the PAT kick to cut the lead to 15-7.
Central Clarion’s Dawson Smail recovered the onside kick, and the Wildcats were able to run out the clock to end the game.
Cal German completed 10-of-22 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Ethan Burford caught five passes for 110 yards including a 42-yard reception in the fourth quarter putting him over 2,000 receiving yards for his career. He came into the game needing 91 yards to eclipse the mark.
Boggess finished the game with 74 yards rushing on eight attempts with a score while also catching four passes for 59 yards with a score.
Henery finished the game with 114 yards rushing on 27 attempts to lead Dubois.
Hays completed 11-of-24 passes for 92 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Dale Kot pulled down five receptions for 43 yards to lead the way.
Central Clarion will travel to Karns City next Friday for a key battle in the District 9 Class AA playoff race.
“It’s always tough going down there to play,” said Eggleton of Karns City. “They are a physical team and they run the ball well. I haven’t watched much film on them yet, but we’ll have to get the kids ready for another physical football game next week.”