SMETHPORT — Mistakes and missed opportunities proved costly for Clarion-Limestone in a 28-18 loss to Smethport last Friday night on the road.
Leading 18-14 after Austin Newcomb’s 1-yard run five seconds into the fourth quarter, the Lions couldn’t hold on as Smethport scored twice and beat the Lions in a Small School crossover division matchup.
“We left a couple touchdowns on the field and a few times we didn’t tackle when we were in position,” said C-L head coach Davey Eggleton, whose team takes a 1-1 record in its division game at Keystone Friday. “I told the kids that we have to fix those small details if we want to be successful. We had some of those last week too, but tonight we saw a much better football team, so obviously those mistakes were bigger tonight.”
Holding a slight 267-264 advantage in yardage over the Hubbers, two interceptions one of which was returned for a touchdown, hurt the Lions. C-L also dropped a pair of passes which would have gone for at least long gains. The Lions also had a long run by Ayden Wiles called back on a penalty.
Newcomb was good again, rushing for 100 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns while catching three passes for 42 yards with another score. Wiles caught three passes for 66 yards and rushed seven times for 33 yards.
Lions quarterback Colby Himes completed 9 of 17 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Nathan Hollowell led the Hubbers ground game with 63 yards on 15 carries. Blake Kinner added 49 yards on seven attempts, including a 20-yard TD run late that sealed the game.
Quarterback Grant Ognen completed 10 of 18 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns. Bryent Johnson caught five passes for 78 yards with a score. Alex Sanderson added four catches for 48 yards.
Smethport (2-0) opened the scoring when Logan Christie returned an interception 25 yards for a score with 5:28 left in the first quarter. Ognen connected with Sanderson for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The score remained 8-0 until early in the second when Ognen connected with Johnson on a 26-yard score. The conversion pass failed and the Hubbers led 14-0 with 10:38 to play in the second.
“They have a really good football team,” said Eggleton. “We were in position on some of those throws and we just missed a couple interceptions. He made some nice throws so you have to give him credit for that.”
C-L answered just two minutes later when Newcomb scored from a yard out. The conversion run failed and Smethport led 14-6 with 8:18 to play in the half. A key play to the drive was a 31-yard completion to Wiles which placed the ball at the 1.
The Lions pulled to within two points with 13 seconds left in the half on a 9-yard pass from Himes to senior Ian Callen, a recent addition to the team’s roster. The conversion failed and Smethport led 14-12 at halftime.
There was no scoring in the third. Newcomb once again scored on a one-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter. A penalty on the conversion kept the score 18-14 C-L with 11:55 remaining in the game.
Hollowell then caught his only pass of the game, but it was a big one that went for a 17-yard TD. Noah Costa added the point-after kick as Smethport took the lead for good at 21-18 with 8:25 to play.
After a failed fourth down attempt by the Lions from their own 20 with just over two minutes to play, Smethport converted quickly as Kinner scored from 20 yards out on the first play and Costa added the point-after for the 28-18 final.
“It was late and I felt it was our last drive and we needed to try and do something at that point,” said Eggleton of going for it deep in their own territory. “Our defense was wearing down, so I felt if we punted we may not have been able to stop them and get the ball back anyway.”
C-L will try and get back in the win column when they travel to Keystone.
“I haven’t seen Keystone on film yet but I know they are an improved football team so we’ll have to be ready for the challenge,” said Eggleton.