KNOX — Ground and pound was the message Clarion-Limestone gave to his team and the Lions responded to the tune of 411 rushing yards with six of their eight touchdowns coming via the ground as they rolled to a 50-6 victory over Keystone on Friday evening in Knox.
Lions Austin Newcomb and Ayden Wiles combined for 357 of those yards with five touchdowns between them. Newcomb racked up 212 yards on 16 carries with two scores while Wiles also carried 16 times gaining 145 yards with three scores. Trenton Keighley added a late touchdown on a 24 yard run as part of his 27 rushing yards.
“Offensively tonight we controlled the line of scrimmage,” said C-L head coach Davey Eggleton. “We just pounded the ball with Ayden and Austin who both ran hard. Our O-line was blocking for them and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Clarion-Limestone (2-1 overall, 2-0 Small School South) finished the contest with a 558-121 advantage in total yards, but the Lions defense held the Panthers (1-2 overall) to minus 13 yards in the second half.
“We made some adjustments going into the second half,” said Eggleton. “The quarterback (Isaak Jones) scrambling hurt us a few times in the first half. We decided we wanted to put pressure on him and keep him in the pocket and it worked out well for us.”
Jones rushed for 55 yards on seven carries in the first half including the Panthers lone touchdown was held to just three yards rushing in the second half. He also completed just 8-of-22 passes for 91 yards.
Jayden Blazosky caught four passes for 32 yards.
Keystone won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
The Lions took the opening kickoff and began at their own 28 yard line. Newcomb and Wiles each carried the ball four times in the opening drive which ended on a Wiles 13 yard run for a touchdown. Newcomb ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Lions lead with 8:53 to play in the first.
Both Wiles and Newcomb gained 36 yards on the opening drive.
Keystone was forced to punt after three plays on their opening drive, but a running into the kicker penalty extended the drive for the Panthers. However, they would be unable to take advantage and were forced to punt again. This time the snap sailed over the punters head and C-L took over at the Panthers 38 yard line.
Four plays later the Lions used a reverse play with Wiles taking the handoff and then handing the ball to Newcomb who raced 29 yards for the Lions second score. The kick failed and C-L led 14-0 with 4:42 to play in the quarter.
After trading punts the Panthers took over at their own 42. Jones connected with Brandan Kapp for 13 yards giving the Panthers their second first down of the game. A 30 yard completion to Hunter Langharst moved the ball to the C-L 15. A four yard loss by Altman moved the ball to the 19 at the end of the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter Jones was able to elude pressure and scramble for a 19 yard touchdown run. The kick was blocked leaving the score 14-6 with 11:51 to play in the half.
Clarion-Limestone then answered with a methodical nine play drive which ended on a 10 yard scoring pass from Colby Himes to Wiles at the 7:19 mark. The two-point pass failed the Lions led 20-6. Himes completed all three of his passes in the drive for 43 yards.
The next Keystone drive ended after three plays when Jason Ganoe intercepted a Gavin Hogue pass and returned it 10 yards to the Lions 46.
On the first play after the interception, Himes connected with Newcomb on a 54 yard scoring pass. The two-point run failed extending the lead to 26-6 with 5:16 to play and would remain until halftime.
Things didn’t start well for the Panthers in the second half as they lost 14 yards on three plays and were forced to punt.
Clarion-Limestone took over at their own 42. Four plays later Wiles would score his third touchdown of the game on a 14 yard run. The kick failed and the Lions went ahead 32-6 with 8:19 to play.
Exactly five minutes later Newcomb ended a nine play drive which consisted of all rushing attempts when he raced to the end zone on a 44 yard score. Once again the kick failed and the Lions led 38-6 with 3:19 to play.
Wiles would add an 18 yard run with 38 seconds remaining in the quarter to push the lead to 44-6 and setting the mercy rule clock into motion for the fourth quarter.
Keighley added his touchdown run with 1:31 remaining in the contest to set the final score.
“We know we have a tough one next week against Coudersport so we’ll have to get better,” said Eggleton. “I’ve been telling people that I think we are going to be a better football team at the end of the season than we were at the beginning.”