CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Growing up as the middle child meant Ashton Rex was always trying to be the best.
(Above, Ashton Rex runs a pattern against Brookville/photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography. Check out the photo gallery of the game here.)
Squaring off on a daily basis with older brother Breckin, who is now a freshman on the Juniata College football team, and younger sibling Ethan, who is in the eighth grade and the quarterback on the junior high team, made the Central Clarion senior better.
“It’s just always a competition,” Rex said. “It’s good competition.”
Rex shows glimmers of stardom last season as a junior, catching 21 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns.
The speedy 5-foot-11, 165-pounder showed he is determined to elevate his game even more on Friday night in a convincing 42-7 win over Brookville.
Rex caught just three passes from quarterback Jase Ferguson, but he certainly made the most of them by racking up 216 yards on those catches.
He scored on receptions of 91 and 73 yards.
“It was great to see that connection — it kind of picked up where it left off last year,” said Central Clarion coach Dave Eggleton. “He’s dangerous. He’s usually the fastest guy on the field, and I don’t know many guys who can run like he can. Every time he gets the ball in his hands, he can go all the way.”
Rex showed that against Brookville.
His first two catches were on deep balls from Ferguson, who threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
Brookville adjusted, shifting coverage to shade Rex. On his final catch, he turned a short hitch route into a 73-yard catch-and-run to close the scoring.
“I work deeper, mostly because I can get separation with most defenders,” Rex said. “The short ones feel better because running by everyone is pretty fun.”
Rex took more joy, though, from the win.
It was in stark contrast to the way last season started for Central Clarion.
The Wildcats began 0-4, in part because of COVID issues from other teams that canceled a scrimmage, forced them to scramble to schedule a Week 1 game against Slippery Rock and canceled a Week 2 game.
“Last year, we didn’t have much preparation,” Rex said. “This year the coaches put us to work and we were ready for it. I’m just looking forward to building on it and trying to win a District 9 title. But we have to take it one game at a time.”
NEXT COUDRIET UP
After losing Christian Coudriet to graduation after a career in which he threw for 7,130 yards and 67 touchdowns, the St. Marys football team had a four-headed quarterback battle in camp to see who would take over Chris Dworek’s potent offense.
Dworek has been something of a quarterback whisperer over his long coaching career. He tapped Charlie Coudriet — Christian’s brother and one of the leading receivers last season for the Flying Dutch — to take over at the very important position.
So far, so good.
Charlie Coudriet threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 57 yards and four scores as St. Marys took advantage of five Moniteau turnovers in a 47-14 win.
It wasn’t the gaudy passing numbers that Christian put up in his career, but it certainly will do.
Logan Mosier was Charlie Coudriet’s main target, hauling in six passes for 76 yards and one of the TDs.
Mosier was St. Marys’ leading receiver a year ago.
For Moniteau, it was a rough night.
The Warriors were intercepted three times and also lost two fumbles.
The bright spots for Moniteau were Hunter Stalker, who rushed for 70 yards on 15 carries and scored a TD. Matt Martino also shined with nine tackles — three for a loss — and a sack.
Trailing 19-6 late in the first half, things were looking a bit bleak for Brockway at home against Kane.
But a 34-yard touchdown reception by Blake Pisarcik from Brayden Fox cut the lead to 19-13 at the half.
Matt Brubaker’s 1-yard TD run midway through the third quarter gave the Rovers the lead for good at 20-19.
It was the momentum the Rovers needed to hold off the Wolves and win, 28-25.
Kane took that 13-point lead thanks to Ricky Zampogna, who rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown with a little less than six minutes on the clock in the second quarter.
Brockway extended its lead to 28-19 when Pisarcik found the end zone again on a 1-yard plunge — his third TD of the game. The 2-point conversion gave the Rovers a two-score advantage.
It turned out to be very important. Zampogna scored again on an 18-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three.
Brockway’s defense clinched it when Seth Stewart forced and recovered a fumble late in the game.
SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE
Perhaps no two teams will benefit more from the D9 league format shuffle that Bucktail and Sheffield.
Now in Region 3 with schools much closer in size, the two schools will have better footing on Friday nights this season.
The two met in the season opener on Friday. Bucktail came in on a 12-game losing streak; Sheffield was on an 11-game skid.
Braylon Fantaski accounted for three touchdowns and Brody Pentz added two more as Bucktail was the one to snap the string of losses with a 41-12 win over the Wolverines.
Fantaski had a hand in three TDs in three different ways: a touchdown pass, run and fumble return for a score on special teams.
Bucktail rushed for 333 yards as a team.
Fantaski led the way with 107 yards on just seven carries. Pentz added 95 yards on eight attempts.
Jeremiah Richardson led Sheffield with 101 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.