CHERRY TWP — The close calls will stick most with Moniteau when they watch the film of its loss to Clarion Friday night.
The pass at the end of the half that was ruled a touchdown only to be overturned.
The run that came up two yards short as the Warriors were driving to cut the Bobcat lead to one score.
The big things will jump out, too.
The four turnovers.
The 11 penalties for 15 yards.
The 34-14 home setback to Clarion that was much closer than the final score.
“We’re going to take some good things out of this,” said Moniteau coach Bob Rottman. “We were tested. It shows the resolve of the football team that we came back and fought.”
Clarion (2-0) built a 28-0 lead on four big plays.
The Bobcats got a 62-yard touchdown run by Cutter Boggess, and scoring passes of 31, 36 and 57 from quarterback Archer Mills.
Clarion had 252 yards in the first half, but 186 of them came on those four plays.
Moniteau made a believer out of Clarion coach Larry Wiser.
“I’ll give them a lot of credit,” Wiser said. “They can run, block and tackle and they do the stuff that Coach (Chuck) Noll from the Steelers used to talk about. We knew it was going to be tough battle. We broke a few big plays.”
Two of the touchdown passes from Mills were on screen passes in Sam Minich. The other was a back-shoulder throw to Ethan Burford, who shimmied away and raced down the sideline for a touchdown.
“We were a little too aggressive in the first half and got ourselves a little out of position,” Rottman said. “We made adjustments at halftime.”
And they worked.
Clarion had just one first down in the second half until the final two minutes.
In the meantime, Moniteau got its grinding running game going behind Cody Wise. The 6-foot, 215-pound senior churned his way for 137 yards and a pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter as Moniteau cut the Clarion lead to 28-14.
The Warriors had a chance to put points on the board late in the first half, but a fourth-down pass that Mason Mershimer appeared to haul in at the goal line was jarred free.
Mershimer gathered in the deflection and fell at the 2, but it was ruled incomplete and Clarion took possession.
Down by 14, Moniteau forced a fumble and drove to the Clarion 23, but Wise was stopped short on a fourth-down run.
Both teams were plagued by penalties.
Moniteau picked up 11 for 115 yards and Clarion was hit with 13 for 105 yards.
“Penalties hurt us,” Rottman said. “It makes it hard to dig out of those holes.”
Clarion put the game away on a 20-yard pass from Mills to Minich with 1:15 remaining.
The Bobcats faked the extra point, but the pass fell incomplete.
Still, Rottman and Moniteau had plenty to feel good about.
“The second half, I hope we sent a message to Clarion that we’re a better football team than the scoreboard reflected,” Rottman said, “And, we’ll maybe see them down the road again.”