Wurster TD catch vs. Wilmington

Clarion’s Thomas Wurster (89) comes down with a catch during the first quarter of last Saturday’s game against Wilmington. Wurster then outran the Greyhound defense for an 84-yard touchdown grab, the Bobcats’ only points in a 33-6 loss.

Photo by Chris Wechtenhiser

CLARION — Both District 9 football teams still alive in the PIAA playoffs were knocked out in the quarterfinals last weekend by two District 10 powers at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium.

Saturday afternoon, Wilmington ran away from Clarion for a 33-6 win in Class 2A while last Friday night, Farrell blanked Ridgway in Class 1A, 36-0.

Two rounds remain in the postseason with the semifinal round set for this weekend. Here’s a closer look at the six classifications:

CLASS 2A

Wilmington 33, Clarion 6

Early on, the Bobcats found themselves within 7-6 in the first two minutes of the game against the D10 champion Greyhounds.

Just 18 seconds after quarterback Robert Pontius scored on a 1-yard run after a Bobcats fumble inside their own 1 to put Wilmington up 7-0, Clarion struck for what turned out to be its only touchdown of the game on Spencer Miller’s 84-yard TD pass to Thomas Wurster with still 10:15 left in the opening quarter.

But from there, Wilmington scored 26 unanswered points to put the game away. The Greyhounds led 23-6 by halftime and capped the scoring on another Pontius 1-yard run with 5:07 left in the third quarter.

Wilmington outgained Clarion, 514-118, most of it coming on the ground as the run-heavy Greyhounds piled up 473 yards on 55 carries. Jack Patton ran for 219 yards on 14 carries while Bryson Verrelli gained 142 yards on 16 carries with an 85-yard touchdown.

The Greyhounds also got two field goals of 42 and 33 yards.

The Bobcats were held to just eight first downs. Colton Rapp ran for 36 yards on 12 carries and quarterback Spencer Miller completed 5 of 14 passes for 94 yards.

The loss ended Clarion’s season at 12-1 while Wilmington advances to this week’s semifinals at 13-0.

The Greyhounds, coached by Curwensville native Terry Verrelli for the past 40 seasons, now meet WPIAL champion Washington Friday night at Slippery Rock University. Last year, Wilmington blanked D9 champion Kane 42-0 before losing to eventual state champion Steel Valley, 49-13.

On the other side of the bracket, it’s District 4 champion Southern Columbia facing District 2’s Dunmore at Danville High School also on Friday. Southern Columbia routed D12 champion Neumann Goretti, 45-12 while Dunmore squeezed by D6 champion Ligonier Valley, 23-20.

Southern Columbia lost to Steel Valley in last year’s state final.

CLASS 1A

Farrell 36, Ridgway 0

Just like last year, the D10 champion Steelers clamped down on the Elkers in a 36-0 shutout win. Farrell outgained Ridgway, 457-68, and limited the Elkers to just four first downs.

Farrell led 28-0 by halftime and set the PIAA’s Mercy Rule running clock into motion by the 5:20 mark of the third quarter with Tymir Green’s second 4-yard touchdown run.

Quarterback Isaac Clarke completed 11 of 16 passes for 235 yards, almost all of it going to standout receiver Jourdan Townsend who caught nine passes for 226 yards with two going for touchdowns of 73 and 19 yards in the first quarter.

Christian Lewis ran for 115 yards on 11 carries with a 37-yard TD run in the second quarter.

Elkers quarterback Johnny Mitchell led the Elkers in rushing with 27 yards on nine attempts. Neil MacDonald, the team’s 1,000-yard rusher, managed just eight yards on three carries.

Ridgway lost 20-7 last year to the Steelers at Slippery Rock University, gaining just 32 yards of offense. The Elkers’ season ended at 9-4.

Farrell (11-2) meets WPIAL champion Jeannette Friday at Seneca Valley High School. The Jayhawks beat Imani Christian, 35-34, last Saturday.

On the other side of the bracket, Homer Center shocked three-time defending champion Bishop Guilfoyle, 20-14, in the District 6 final. The Wildcats, who lost to BG 52-6 in last year’s D6 final, ended the Marauders’ 59-game winning streak.

The Wildcats meet D3 champion Steel-High Friday at Hollidaysburg High School. It beat D11 champion Williams Valley, 41-6, to advance to semifinals.

In other classifications:

CLASS 3A

District 10 champion advanced to the semifinals with a 45-25 win over D6 champion Forest Hills. The Tigers face WPIAL champion Quaker Valley, which had an off-week after beating Aliquippa 2-0 for the title two weeks ago. They’ll meet Friday at North Hills High School.

In the other semifinal, it’ll be D12 champion Conwell-Egan facing D3 champion Middletown at Rustin High School in West Chester. Conwell-Egan beat D11’s Palisades, 34-17, while Middletown blanked D2’s Scranton Prep, 35-0, to advance.

Middletown reached last year’s final, losing to WPIAL champion Beaver Falls. It’s the only returning semifinalist in the bracket.

CLASS 4A

District 10’s Cathedral Prep, the defending champion, advanced with a 42-17 win over WPIAL champion Thomas Jefferson. The Ramblers meet D3 champion Berks Catholic in Friday’s semifinal at Somerset High School. Berks Catholic won its district title with a 45-24 win over Bishop McDevitt.

The rest of last year’s final four also clinched a return trip with runner-up Imhotep Charter of District 12 blanking D2’s Valley View, 41-0, to get a rematch with D11 champion Bethlehem Catholic, which advanced with a 33-32 nail-biter over D4’s Selinsgrove. Imhotep and Bethlehem Catholic meet Friday in Germantown.

CLASS 5A

WPIAL champion Gateway is the lone team from the western part of the state remaining in the semifinals. It beat D6’s Hollidaysburg, 49-30, to advance to Friday’s semifinals against District 3 champion Manheim Central, which beat Governor Mifflin, 30-29, for the district title. They’ll meet Friday in Altoona.

On the other side of the bracket, D1’s Unionville advanced with 35-25 win over D1’s Springfield. It’ll take on D12’s Archbishop Wood, the defending state champion which beat D2’s Wyoming Valley West, 41-14. They’ll meet Friday in Philadelphia.

CLASS 6A

Defending state champion St. Joseph’s Prep of District 12 advanced to the semifinals with a 49-14 rout of District 11’s Parkland. It’ll face D1’s Coatesville, which beat D1’s Garnet Valley, 35-28. They’ll meet at Downingtown-West High School Friday.

On the other side of the bracket, WPIAL champion Pine Richland beat D6’s State College, 49-21. It’ll face D3’s Manheim Township, which beat Cumberland Valley 24-21 for the district title. They’ll meet Saturday afternoon in Altoona.

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