CLARION — Scoring 42 unanswered points after giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, the Karns City Gremlins rolled to their sixth straight District 9 title in a 42-14 win over Punxsutawney in last Thursday’s Class 3A Championship game at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium.
Karns City (7-4) won its second 3A title while the previous four were in Class 2A before the expansion to six classifications. Now 7-4, the Gremlins advance to the PIAA playoffs Friday night against District 10 champion Sharon also at Clarion University at 7 p.m.
Dalton Beham ran for 121 yards on 14 carries and four touchdowns on runs of 3, 5, 7 and 33 yards. Clay Garing ran for 114 yards on eight carries and ran for a 7-yard TD.
Karns City trailed 7-0 after the Chucks (4-7) scored on Dylan Ishman’s 7-yard TD pass to Tyler Richardson. But Gremlins quarterback Anthony Kamenski’s 23-yard TD run at the 9:01 mark of the third quarter set the PIAA’s Mercy Rule running clock at 42-7.
The Chucks, who fell 42-32 to the Gremlins during the regular season, scored their other touchdown on another Ishman to Richardson pass of 14 yards late in the fourth quarter.
Karns City won its 11th district title in 18 years under veteran coach Ed Conto.
In other playoff games last week:
Class 2A Final
At Brockway, Sam Minich’s 4-yard run with 2:42 left in the game broke a 21-21 tie and Clarion held off a late Kane drive to avenge last year’s championship game loss and win the Class 2A title in a hard-fought 28-21 victory at Varischetti Field.
The Bobcats (11-0) won the battle of unbeatens and ended Kane’s three-year title run and 39-game winning streak against D9 foes and get a state playoff matchup with District 5’s Chestnut Ridge Friday night at Windber High School starting at 7:30 p.m.
Clarion quarterback Spencer Miller, who missed last year’s final with an injury, ran for 105 yards on eight carries and started the game’s scoring with a 26-yard run in the first quarter. He then put the Bobcats 14-0 with a 3-yard TD pass to Clayton Adams with 1:38 left in the first quarter. He completed 10 of 16 passes for 75 yards.
But Kane (11-1) scored twice in the second quarter, including quarterback Reed Williams’ 11-yard TD pass to J.T. Stewart with 3.4 seconds left in the first half, and the teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter to set up a tight finish.
After Minich’s tie-breaking TD, the Wolves drove from their own 26 to the Bobcats’ 11, but were stopped on downs with just over 19 seconds left in the game.
It’s the fourth title for the Bobcats and the first since 2013. They also won crowns in 1997 and 2009.
Erik DeLong ran for 90 yards on 18 carries. Williams was 18-for-39 with 191 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Class 1A Semifinal
At DuBois in the first game of the Class 1A doubleheader at Mansell Stadium, the second-seeded Elkers built a 27-0 lead by halftime in a 47-6 rout of the Falcons.
The Elkers (8-3) limited the Falcons (6-5) to just 122 yards of offense. Neil MacDonald scored three touchdowns, two of them on runs of 2 yards to start the game’s scoring. His 23-yard fumble return gave the Elkers their 27-0 halftime lead with 7:46 left in the second quarter. He ran for 76 yards on 14 carries.
Quarterback Johnny Mitchell ran for 131 yards on just eight carries, scoring on runs of 70 and 12 yards while throwing a 21-yard TD pass to Josh Thorwart early in the fourth quarter.