PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It wasn’t the best of starts for the Central Clarion football team.
The finish was just fine, however.
(Pictured above, Central Clarion quarterback Jase Ferguson was named the Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game)
The Wildcats struggled out of the gate, falling behind 6-0 and clinging to a 13-6 lead at the half.
But over the final two quarters, Central Clarion got back into a rhythm, putting up three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away from Punxsutawney in a 41-13 win on Friday night to remain unbeaten at 4-0.
“We kind of just stopped ourselves the whole time, so we really cleaned that up a bit and came out running the ball and establishing that a little bit in that first drive (of the second half),” said Central Clarion coach Dave Eggleton. “That opened up more passing.”
Jase Ferguson had another big night at quarterback for the Wildcats.
The junior threw for 246 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
His 22-yard hook-up with Tommy Smith in the first quarter tied the game at 6-6.
Braylon Beckwith gave Central Clarion the lead for good at 13-6 with a 2-yard run midway through the second quarter.
Ferguson and the Wildcat offense then got hot.
Mason Burford caught a 38-yard TD pass from Ferguson to open up a 20-6 lead early in the third quarter.
After Punxsutawney (2-2) closed again to one score on a 3-yard TD run by Landon Martz, who had a huge game, Central Clarion outscored the Chucks 21-0 in the final 12 minutes to escape Punxsutawney with the win.
Ferguson connected with Hayden Hindman on a 4-yard scoring pass, then found Dawson Smail for the backbreaker on a 77-yard pitch and catch with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the game.
“I thought Jase was very accurate tonight,” Eggleton said. “A lot of quick stuff we hit, especially early, and then we started to run the ball and opened up the play-action. That’s when we hit for some big plays.”
Brady Quinn put the exclamation point on the win with a 78-yard interception return for a score with 4:02 left in the game.
Smail finished with five receptions for 117 yards.
Ferguson also led the ground attack for Central Clarion with 97 yards on 13 carries.
Martz was the workhorse for Punxsutawney.
The senior rushed for 194 yards on 28 carries. Beau Thomas added 41 yards on seven attempts as the Chucks churned out 224 yards on the ground.
“We’re not afraid to get into a slugfest if we need to,” Eggleton said. “We kind of had that against Brookville in the first half. We had a little bit against Port (Allegany). I think our depth, though, makes a big difference when we hit that second half. Having a lot of guys fresh is a huge asset for us.”
Steve Smail contributed to this report