CLARION - Central Clarion freshman Jase Ferguson had a big night as he threw for three TDs to help the Wildcats overcome five lost fumbles on the way to a 33-14 victory over Ridgway at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium Oct. 8.
The Wildcats' defense helped assuage the Central Clarion turnover bug by limiting the Elkers to just 30 yards rushing for the game.
"Coach Louder and the rest of our coaches do a good job preparing our defense each week," said Central Clarion head coach Davey Eggleton. "Ridgway gives you a lot of different looks and our guys did a good job of recognizing some of that and we were able to limit their big plays."
After forcing the first of six punts for Ridgway on the opening drive of the game, the Wildcats took over at their own 22.
Eight plays later --with seven of the plays coming on the ground -- Ferguson scored on a 12-yard run. Charlie Franchino made the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead at the 7:03 mark of the quarter.
The Elkers gained their initial first down of the game on the ensuing drive but Ridgway still ended up punting the ball back to the Wildcats.
The first of Central Clarion's five lost fumbles turned out to be costly as Domenic Allegretto picked up the fumble and raced 55 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick was blocked keeping Central Clarion on top 7-6 with 2:32 to play in the first.
Central Clarion (2-4 overall) took just three plays to respond. After Breckin Rex gained seven yards on first down, the Wildcats lost seven yards when Ferguson recovered a fumble. Ferguson then connected with Ashton Rex on a 70-yard touchdown pass. Franchino made the PAT kick for a 14-6 lead after one quarter.
Central Clarion had a hard time mustering much offense in the second quarter as the Wildcats lost three fumbled while punting on their other two possessions of the quarter.
However, even with all of the Wildcats' miscues Ridgway could only muster one score in the quarter at the 2:31 mark of the quarter when quarterback Jonathan Hinton connected with Cam Marciniak on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The two also connected on the two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14 at halftime.
"We need to clean those fumbles up moving forward," said Eggleton. "Some of those were just guys fighting for extra yards which is hard to fault guys for. However, we do need to do a better job of holding onto the football moving forward."
Ridgway attempted a 35-yard field goal at the end of the half that sailed wide right.
Central Clarion took the opening kickoff of the second half to take the lead for good. A four-play drive that would be capped off by a 38-yard touchdown pass from Ferguson to Christian Simko. Franchino made the PAT kick for a 21-14 lead at the 10:07 mark of the quarter.
Ridgway would drive from their own 28 to the Wildcats 35 before being stopped on downs turning the ball back to Central Clarion.
The Wildcats would take advantage using eight plays to drive the 65 yards with Ferguson and Simko connecting on their second score of the evening, this time coming from 21 yards out. The kick failed which left the score 27-14 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
Ridgway would use the rest of the quarter and first minute of the fourth quarter to drive from their own 44 to the Central Clarion 11-yard line before being stopped on downs.
Central Clarion would drive from their own 11 to the Ridgway six on a 16-play drive taking over eight minutes off the clock. Although the drive ended in another fumble, it severely hampered any Ridgway comeback attempt.
Four plays after his own fumble, Breckin Rex intercepted a Cameron Larkin pass and returned it 20 yards for the final touchdown of the game with just 16 seconds left in the contest to set the final score.
Rex finished the game with 162 yards rushing on 24 attempts. Ryan Hummell rushed 14 times for 88 yards.
"We showed Breckin some things on film and he was a much better runner tonight," said Eggleton. "I have to give our O-line credit for a lot of that as well because they were opening holes for our guys all night."
Ferguson completed 7-of-12 passes for 196 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Simko caught five passes for 114 yards with two scores while Ashton Rex caught two passes for 82 yards with a score.
For Ridgway, Hinton completed 14-of-25 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions before leaving the game with an injury. Cameron Larkin completed 3-of-7 passes for 30 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
"I keep telling our guys that I think we turned a corner in the second half of the St. Mary's game," said Eggleton. "If we keep playing like we've been and clean up the fumbles I think we can be very competitive the rest of the way."
Central Clarion will travel to face Bradford Friday.
CENTRAL CLARION 33 , RIDGWAY 14
Ridgway 6- 8- 0 -0 14
Central Clarion 14- 0- 13 -6 33
CC- Jase Ferguson 12 run (Charlie Franchino kick), 7:03
R- Domenic Allegretto 55 fumble return (kick blocked), 2:32
CC- Ashton Rex 70 pass from Ferguson (Franchino kick), 1:21
R- Cam Marciniak 12 pass from Jonathan Hinton (Hinton pass to Marciniak), 2:31
CC- Christian Simko 38 pass from Ferguson (Franchino kick), 10:07
CC- Simko 21 pass from Ferguson (kick failed), 3:20
CC- Breckin Rex 20 interception return (kick failed), :16
TEAM TOTALS (Ridgway; Central Clarion)
First Downs: 11 ; 19
Rushes-Yards: 22-30 ; 45-270
Passing Yards: 200; 196
Comp-Att-Int: 17-32-1; 7-12-0
Total Yards: 230 ; 466
Penalties-Yards: 8-70 ; 4-45
Fumbles-Lost: 8-70; 4-45
Rushing Ridgway, Domenic Allegretto 7-(-4), Cam Marciniak 6-18, Jonathan Hinton 2-4, Maurice Bullers 1-1, Eric Hoffman 2-1, Cameron Larkin 4-10. Central Clarion, Breckin Rex 24-162, Ryan Hummell 14-88, Ashton Rex 1-12, Jace Ferguson 4-22, Team 2-(-14).
Passing Ridgway, Jonathan Hinton 14-25-0 169, Cameron Larkin 3-7-1 30. Central Clarion, Jace Ferguson 7-12-0 196.
Receiving Ridgway, Will Howard 2-12, Tyler Merritt 5-77, Domenic Allegretto 3-50, Cam Marciniak 6-63, Eric Hoffman 1-(-2). Central Clarion, Christian Simko 5-114, Ashton Rex 2-82.