CLARION — After a sluggish first half by the Clarion offense against Karns City who was tied 14-all at the half. The Bobcats came out and reeled off 28 unanswered points in the second half with Austin Newcomb scoring all four touchdowns for a 42-14 victory at Clarion University Memorial Stadium.
Newcomb had fumbled twice in the first half while rushing for just 64 yards in the opening half before exploding for 146 second half yards with the four scores.
“He got down on himself a bit after those two fumbles,” said Clarion head coach Larry Wiser. “He’s tough to defend against and I’m glad he’s on our sideline. If the defense puts 10 in the box and he gets past the line of scrimmage he’s tough to catch. If they grab him by the legs he’s able to shake out of those tackles as well. He’s a strong kid and he’s a great kid overall.”
Much like last week against Moniteau, it was Karns City who controlled the clock, but had nothing to show for it after a nine play drive to open the game, but the Gremlins were forced to punt.
Karns City recovered the first Newcomb fumble at the Clarion 24 yard line after four Bobcats offensive plays. Six plays later Luke Garing scored from two yards out for the opening score of the game. Owen Collwell added the PAT kick to give Karns City a 7-0 lead at the end of one quarter.
Clarion drove to the Gremlins eight before another fumble ended the drive.
The Gremlins were unable to do anything with the turnover and ended up punting from their own nine yard line.
Clarion (3-0) took over at the Karns City 40 yard line.
he Bobcats needed just one play as Cal German connected with Ethan Burford on a 40 yard touchdown pass just a minute into the second quarter. Beau Verdill added the first of his six PAT kicks to tie the game 7-7 with 11:01 remaining in the half.
German finished the game 8-of-16 passing for 191 yards with the one touchdown. Burford caught four passes for 130 yards.
Karns City drove the ball from their own 28 to the Clarion 25 before Newcomb intercepted an Anthony Kamenski pass.
The two teams then traded punts before Clarion took over at the Gremlins 46. Nine plays later Kyle Bottaro plunged into the end zone from a yard out giving Clarion a 14-7 lead with seven seconds remaining in the half.
The Bobcats decided to kick the ball deep and Kaden Scherer made them pay by returning the kick 83 yard for a touchdown which tied the game at halftime.
“The kids were down after that kickoff return,” said Wiser. “We are still having trouble in the kicking game and that’s something we will continue to work on. Dave (Eggleton) gave a great halftime speech. The kids really responded to that and it really showed in how they played in that second half.”
The Bobcats took the opening kickoff of the second half and used seven plays which was capped by a Newcomb two yard run giving Clarion a 21-14 lead at the 8:33 mark. The big play of the drive was a 59 yard pass from German to Burford.
Karns City (2-1) then used 12 plays taking the ball from their own 29 to the Clarion 24 before an incomplete pass turned the ball back over to Clarion.
Once again it wouldn’t take long for the Bobcats to strike as Newcomb took the hand-off and raced 76 yards for a Clarion touchdown to increase the lead to 28-14 with 2:44 to play.
“I thought that fourth down stop when they were deep in our end was big,” said Wiser. “It might of only been one score at the time, but you never know in football how momentum might change. We got that stop and I think we got a score right away so that really changed things in our favor.”
Clarion then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and took over at the Gremlins 29.
During the next drive the Bobcats had two big gains, plus a touchdown called back by penalties. Facing a third down and long yardage German completed a 23 yard pass to get half of the yardage needed back. German completed an apparent touchdown to Cutter Boggess on fourth down from 32 yards out, but it was called back by a penalty. Facing another fourth down, German and Boggess hooked up again which moved the ball to the two yard line. Newcomb then scored from two yards out extending the lead to 35-14 after three quarters.
Karns City drove to the Bobcats 21 and faced a fourth down. Ben Smith then tackled Hunter Rowe for a four yard loss which turned the ball back to Clarion.
Three plays later Newcomb would score the final touchdown of the game from 53 yards out setting the final score of 42-14.
“We were a little rugged all week in practice,” said Wiser. “We lost a couple guys last week to injuries so we were plugging people into those spots. The guys really came out with a purpose after the halftime talk. We’re 3-0 and that’s where we’re at. We still have a lot to work on. We know we have things we’re doing well so we need to continue with that. We also know we have areas where we need to improve on so we’ll keep working on those improvements.”
Kamenski led the Gremlins ground game with 75 yards on 11 carries. Garing added 43 yards on 11 attempts with a score.
Clarion held a 244-190 advantage on the ground while Clarions passing held a 191-16 advantage.
Clarion will travel to Brookville on Friday for a game featuring two 3-0 teams.