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Westinghouse Too Much for Central Clarion as Wildcats Fall, 44-8, in First Round of PIAA Class 2A Playoffs

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Central Clarion head football coach Dave Eggleton stood in front of his players, some standing, some kneeling, and pointed at the scoreboard at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.

It read Westinghouse 44, Central Clarion 8.

“We’re going to come back next year,” the coach’s voice boomed, “and we’re going to flip that score around.”

The Wildcats have set a precedent for that. Last year, they lost the District 9 Class 2A championship game, 35-7, to Karns City; This year, they won the title, 35-0, over Brookville, before clashing with Westinghouse in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.

“I think we can do it,” Eggleton said. “We have a great core group coming of guys coming back. I’m just so proud of them this season. It was a fantastic season. I can’t say enough about them and my seniors and their leadership.”

It just wasn’t meant to be on a frigid Friday night.

Central Clarion football coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.

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The first three drives set the tone.

For the Wildcats it was three plays, minus-5 yards and punt; three plays, minus-5 yards and punt; three plays, minus-4 yards and punt.

Central Clarion was able to stop the high-powered Westinghouse offense on its first two possessions.

Not the third.

Squatty and powerful fullback Shaun Robinson burrowed into the end zone from the 3 and Davon Jones caught the 2-point conversion pass from Keyshawn Morsillo, and the Bulldogs were up, 8-0, and on their way.

Central Clarion (10-2) struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half with just five first downs and 67 yards of offense.

Meanwhile Westinghouse (12-0), the District 8 champ, was able to get chunk yardage through the air and on the ground in building a 20-0 lead after two quarters.

Morsillo heaved up a prayer under heavy pressure and Taymir O’Neal came down with it for a 38-yard gain on third-and-4 to later set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Morsillo to Jones for a 14-0 lead.

After Central Clarion was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 at the Westinghouse 47 with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Bulldogs wasted little time scoring again.

Another key 38-yard pass from Morsillo, this time to Jones, set up a 3-yard TD run by Khalil Taylor to put Westinghouse up by three scores at the break.

“That’s a really good football team,” Eggleton said. “We knew that coming in.”

Central Clarion was able to move the ball better in the third quarter, but the score dictated the Wildcats had to take some chances.

They didn’t pay off.

Jase Ferguson was sacked five times and finished 9 of 19 for 89 yards with a late touchdown pass to Tommy Smith.

“We knew that he was a great athlete and a great football player and that he was a tough kid,” said Westinghouse coach Donta Green of Ferguson. “We knew we had to prepare for it. That was a heavy emphasis during the week we because we had to come out and play fast and play fast early. We knew what they were capable of doing offensively. We gave our guys a challenge and our kids answered.”

Westinghouse tacked on two more touchdowns on its first two drives of the second half to move ahead 36-0 and trigger the mercy rule. Morsillo plunged in from the 1 with 8:11 remaining in the third, and then Roderick Jeter scampered 21 yards for a score five minutes later.

After the Smith 9-yard TD reception from Ferguson in the fourth, Westinghouse capped the scoring on a 3-yard run by Khalil Green with 12 seconds remaining for the 44-8 victory.

Westinghouse also had a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns called back because of penalties.

The Bulldogs showed why they have been so dangerous this season and why they are still undefeated heading into the PIAA Class 2A semifinals next weekend.

Morsillo finished 9-of-17 passing for 168 yards and touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 44 yards and a score.

Taylor led the Bulldogs with 78 yards eight carries and Jones had three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.

“That’s what makes me excited about our offense,” Green said. “Any give play, any one of those guys can take it 60 or 70 yards or make big plays on a short pass. It makes me sleep well at night.”

For the most part, though, Central Clarion did a good job on defense, despite the final score.

Westinghouse had one of its lowest yardage outputs of the season at 380 yards.

“I feel like we made them work harder than just about anyone I’ve see,” Eggleton said. “The defense in general, I thought they played their hearts out. It’s just, sometimes, the other team is just a little bit better. I think that was the case tonight. I feel like we are closer than the score indicates, if we could just make a few of those tackles. We walked off here and I think that they’re better than us. Sometimes that’s humbling.”

Central Clarion had just two yards rushing because of the quarterback sacks.

Senior Connor Kopnitsky led the Wildcats with 19 yards on nine carries.

Senior Ashton Rex had five receptions for 40 yards.

“I’m just super proud of my seniors,” Eggleton added. “The way that they’ve led tis program this season, coming out of last season the way it went. We have six seniors and they were really good ones. But we have a whole lot of guys coming back next year and it’s going to depend on them in getting back here and going farther. I think they have the mentality to do it.”

Central Clarion football coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.
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