Clarion quick-strikes its way to win over Moniteau

The Bobcats scored 35 points in the first half on just 14 offensive plays

By Ryan S. Pugh




Football teams normally script the first 15 plays they will use to begin a game but Clarion didn't need that many on Friday night against visiting Moniteau.

The Bobcats (2-0 overall, 2-0 District 9 Large School) rolled up 35 points and 277 yards on 14 plays in the opening half on the way to a 42-8 win over the Warriors at Clarion-Limestone High School.

Three of Clarion's scores came on one-play drives and the Bobcats' final touchdown of the first half came on a two-play drive.

Clarion quarterback Cal German was unable to connect on his first two passes of the game then went on to complete his next six passes in a row for 245 yards and four scores.

"We looked pretty good tonight," German said. "Our practices leading up to this game were really good and I think tonight showed that we have the talent to do big things, we just have to keep working hard."

The Bobcats' Austin Newcomb rushed for a pair of scores and caught two German touchdown passes. Newcomb rushed for 80 yards on six carries and two scores.

The win took a toll on Clarion's offensive and defensive lines. The Bobcats' Mitch Knepp suffered an apparent arm injury midway through the second quarter while Ben Smith was also limited due to an injury. Clarion was already without starting center Luca Cherico who suffered a leg injury in the Bobcats' 70-6 win over Punxsutawney last week.

"We need to get some depth," Clarion head coach Larry Wiser said. "We need to avoid the injury bug. Losing (Knepp) was a big loss for us offensively and defensively. When we lost (Knepp), it took away some things we wanted to do defensively where we were going to try to move him around a little bit."

With the cooperative agreement in place between Clarion, Clarion-Limestone and North Clarion this season, the Clarion team is splitting its home games equally between the C-L High School and Clarion University's Memorial Stadium.

Moniteau (0-2, 0-2) also came into the game hobbled as the Warriors lost their starting quarterback Brady Thompson last week.

Moniteau's game plan was to establish a running game and keep Clarion's potent offense off the field as much as possible.

The Warriors opened the game by holding the ball for nearly six minutes. Moniteau kept its opening drive alive when Warriors' punter Ethan McDeavitt ran for 12 yards and a first down on a fake punt.

But Moniteau's opening march ground to a halt when Ben Smith dropped Mason Mershimer for a six-yard loss on third down and Moniteau was forced to punt. On the punt attempt, McDeavitt had to drop to one knee to field a low snap and he was whistled down at the Moniteau 23.

On the first play of Clarion's ensuing drive, Newcomb took a handoff from German ran to the line of scrimmage, bounced off two would be Moniteau tacklers, broke right and raced for a 23-yard touchdown.

"He looked pretty spectacular on that run," Wiser said referring to Newcomb's opening touchdown.

There was a bad snap on the Bobcats' extra-point attempt and Clarion kicker Beau Verdill was forced to put up a pass for the Two-point conversion but Verdill's pass fell incomplete leaving the Clarion lead at 6-0 with 6:51 remaining in the first quarter.

Moniteau responded by grinding down most of the remaining quarter holding onto the ball 15 plays until being forced to punt from near midfield. The Warriors picked up three first downs on the drive which included an 11-yard run by McDeavitt on a fake punt. Moniteau got to the Clarion 36 but a holding penalty and an 11-yard sack of quarterback David Stamm by Tyler Schmader pushed the Warriors back into their own territory.

On second down of the ensuing drive, Newcomb broke off a 27-yard run to put the Bobcats at the Moniteau 48. Cutter Boggess and Kyle Bottaro followed with runs of five and three yards, respectively before Newcomb sliced through the Warrior defense for a 14-yard gain.

Facing third-and-7 at the Moniteau 23, German fired a pass down the middle that was batted up in the air by the Warriors' JD Dessicino. Newcomb pulled in the deflection with one hand and walked into the end zone for the 23-yard score.

Newcomb ran in the two-point conversion to push the Clarion lead to 14-0 with 9:50 remaining in the half.

Moniteau drove into Clarion territory on the following drive with Dessicino picking up 19 yards on five carries. But Stamm's third-and-8 fell incomplete and the Warriors chose to punt from the Clarion 38. McDeavitt's punt went off the side of his foot and bounded out of bounds at the Clarion 45.

The Bobcats capitalized on the good field position as German fired a strike to a wide-open Burford at the Moniteau 20. Burford galloped into the end zone to complete the 55-yard touchdown.

Burford raced past Moniteau defensive back Mason Mershimer and was all alone deep in Moniteau territory.

Burford had two catches for 125 yards and two scores.

"Ethan, Austin and Cutter (Boggess) are all great receivers," German said. "And the offensive line did a great job protecting me tonight."

Verdill booted the PAT through the uprights to extend the Clarion lead to 21-0 with 4:25 remaining in the half.

Clarion's defense forced a Moniteau three-and-out on the ensuing drive and Moniteau punted from its own 40. Newcomb returned McDeavitt's punt to the Warrior 35.

One play later, German fired a strike to Newcomb down the seam of the Warrior zone defense. Newcomb hauled in the pass and galloped to the end zone for the 35-yard touchdown.

Newcomb caught two passes for 58 yards and two scores.

Verdill added the extra-point stretching the Clarion lead to 28-0 with 2:41 remaining in the half.

The Warriors drove deep into Clarion territory on their following drive. However, the Warriors saw the drive end in frustration as Stamm got the ball knocked out by a Clarion player near the Bobcat 25 and Clarion's Colton Zacherl jumped on the loose ball at the Clarion 16 with 55 seconds left in the first half.

Clarion was flagged for illegal procedure on the opening play of the ensuing drive. From the Clarion 11, German fired a strike to Cutter Boggess for a 19-yard gain. On the next play, German dropped back and fired a pass down the right sideline that was pulled in by Burford and Burford charged to the end zone to complete the 70-yard touchdown pass.

Verdill's extra-point pushed Clarion's lead to 35-0 with 15 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Bobcats opened the third quarter by putting together a seven-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a three-yard touchdown run by Newcomb.

The biggest play for the Bobcats on the drive was a 43-yard pass on third-and-long from German to Hunter Craddock which put Clarion at the Moniteau 43.

Zacherl had two carries on the drive for 30 yards.

Moniteau put together its lone scoring drive in the fourth quarter marching 55 yards in nine plays. Nick Martino capped the drive with a punishing four-yard run as he plowed through three Clarion tacklers on the way to the end zone.

McDeavitt ran in for the two-point conversion trimming the Clarion lead to 42-8 with 3:39 remaining in the game.

The Warriors would draw no closer as the accelerated "mercy rule" clock wound down the remainder of the game in short order.

Clarion will host rival Karns City at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium Friday (Sept. 6). Both Clarion and Karns City come into the game unbeaten in a four-way tie with Brookville and Kane for first place in the District 9 Large School division.

It gets no easier for the Warriors as they are scheduled to host Ridgway Friday.

"I'm not totally displeased with how the game went because I saw flashes from my team that has me excited about moving forward," Moniteau head coach Bob Rottman said. "I saw stuff tonight I didn't see last week. I anticipated a slower start to the season because of the lack of experience we have on our roster but the potential is there."


Moniteau 0- 0- 0 -8 8

Clarion 6- 29- 7 -0 42


First Quarter

C Austin Newcomb 23 run (pass failed), 6:51

Second quarter

C Newcomb 23 pass from Cal German (Newcomb run), 9:50

C Ethan Burford 55 pass from German (Beau Verdill kick), 4:16

C Newcomb 35 pass from German (Verdill kick), 2:41

C Burford 70 pass from German (Verdill kick), :15

Third Quarter

C Newcomb 3 run (Verdill kick), 7:36

Fourth Quarter

M Nick Martino 4 run (Ethan McDeavitt run), 3:39

TEAM TOTALS (Moniteau; Clarion)

First Downs: 12 ; 12

Rushes-Yards: 50-137; 16-119

Passing Yards: 8; 245

Comp-Att-Int: 1-7-0 ; 6-9-0

Total Yards: 145; 364

Penalties-Yards: 6-55; 6-65

Fumbles-Lost: 1-1; 0-0


Rushing Moniteau, JD Dessicino 17-64. Nick Martino 13-52, David Stamm 14-9, Ethan McDeavitt 2-23, Mason Mershimer 2-(-3), Chaz McGuire 1-4, Team 1-(-12). Clarion, Austin Newcomb 6-80, Colton Zacherl 3-33, Cutter Boggess 1-5, Kyle Bottaro 1-3, Breckin Rex 2-(-4), Cooper Shall 2-2, Zachery Hopkins 1-0.

Passing Moniteau, David Stamm 1-6-0 8, JD Dessicino 0-1-0 0. Clarion, Cal German 6-8-0 245, Christian Simko 0-1-0 0.

Receiving Moniteau, AJ McElravy 1-9. Clarion Ethan Burford 2-125, Austin Newcomb 2-58, Hunter Craddock 1-43, Cutter Boggess 1-19.