PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – After last week’s thriller in Karns City, the Central Clarion Wildcats needed no such comeback this week turning Punxsutawney mistakes into touchdowns in their 49-14 rout of the Chucks in Punxsutawney.
(Article by Steve Smail. Photo by Dave Cyphert / ProPoint Media Photography)
Four of the Wildcats six touchdowns came as a result of Punxsy miscues. A blocked punt and a bad snap on another punt set up two short touchdown runs by Cutter Boggess while a pair of fumbles in the third quarter, one which was returned for a touchdown while the other set up the final score for the Wildcats.
“I’m real pleased with our defense tonight,” said Central Clarion head coach Larry Wiser. “We got a number of key turnovers which gave us a short field and we were able to take advantage of that. Given what happened last week we really spent a lot of time on defense in practice this week in trying to fix that.”
Punxsutawney gained one first down on their opening drive of the game before being forced to punt. Central Clarion then drove from their own 33 to the Punxsutawney 28 before Kameron Falgout intercepted a Cal German pass in the end zone to thwart a Wildcats scoring chance.
After the interception, the Chucks lost 16 yards on three plays and were forced to punt out of their own end zone.
The punt was blocked and recovered at the one-yard line. Boggess then plunged into the end zone for the first score of the game at the 4:32 mark. Beau Verdill made the first of six PAT kicks for a 7-0 lead.
Once again, the Chucks were forced to punt after three plays on their next possession. This time the snap sailed over the punter’s head which moved the ball from the 42 back to the 15. Five plays later Boggess would score from a yard out to push the lead to 14-0 after one quarter.
Punxsutawney would use a 10-play drive which began at the end of the first quarter and moved through the first four minutes of the second before being forced to punt again.
Central Clarion took over at their own 30 following the punt. German hit Boggess on a 45-yard pass play on first down. Two plays later German connected with Ethan Burford on the first of their three touchdown connections. This one from 22-yards out which put the lead to 21-0 midway through the quarter.
Late in the half the Chucks would move from their own 34 to the Central Clarion 23 before a bad snap with Falgout in the shotgun formation turned the ball over to the Wildcats.
Central Clarion (5-1 overall) got the ball to start the second half and needed just three plays to score after starting at their own 37. Breckin Rex gained 30 yards on the opening play of the half. A two-yard completion to Boggess then set up a 31-yard strike from German to Buford to push the lead to 28-0 with 10:42 to play in the third.
The Wildcats then attempted an onside kick which they recovered at the Punxsy 47. Eight plays later German and Burford teamed up once again on a five-yard scoring pass for a 35-0 lead with 7:09 to play in the third. The score put the mercy rule running clock into effect for the remainder of the game.
On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Christian Simko recovered a fumble and handed the ball to Kyle Bottaro who ran 30 yards for another Wildcats touchdown to put the score at 42-0 with 6:36 to play in the third.
“Davey (Eggleton) did a nice job of making some offensive adjustments for the second half,” said Wiser. “We kept them off balance with our play calling.”
Another fumble recovery by Central Clarion late in the third quarter set up the Wildcats final score which came early in the fourth. Verdill lined up for a 23-yard field goal, but the snap was high to holder Christian Simko who was able to run into the end zone for a 49-0 lead.
Punxsutawney then scored on a two-yard run from Zeke Bennett with 6:50 to play with Peyton Hetrick adding the PAT kick putting the score 49-7.
Alex Phillips then caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Falgout with just 13 seconds left. Hetrick’s kick set the final of 49-14.
Rex paced the Central Clarion rushing attack with 72 yards on eight carries.
German completed 12-of-21 passes for 192 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Boggess caught five passes for 96 yards while Burford caught four passes for 73 yards.
“It’s hard to believe that we’ve played six games and now we’re getting ready for the playoffs,” said Wiser. “We’re pretty sure we’ll be playing Karns City again, but we haven’t gotten official word on that yet.”
Bennett led Punxsutawney with 65 yards on 19 carries while Falgout added 28 yards on 14 attempts.
Falgout completed 5-of-9 passes for 36 yards with Noah Weaver catching two passes for 20 yards.