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Big Plays Propel Central Clarion Past DuBois @Coach_Egg57 @DASDBeavers

Written by: on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

 

The Central Clarion Wildcats celebrated Senior Night on Friday by scratching out a hard-fought win over the visiting DuBois Beavers.  The Wildcat offense generated nine plays of 20 yards or more against a Beaver defense that had been playing extremely well as of late.  Central Clarion’s stout defense, which included an inspired goal line stand near the end of the game, forced four DuBois turnovers and came up large when it had to.  Wildcat head coach Dave Eggleton said, “I’m so happy for our seniors on Senior Night, to send them out on the last home game, possibly, with a win.”

Things didn’t start off well for DuBois on their first 5 drives as 18 plays netted 33 yards and two first downs.  Things didn’t go much better for Central Clarion as they literally fumbled away a couple of golden opportunities to score.

After forcing a three and out on the opening possession of the game by DuBois, Central Clarion marched 62 yards down to the Beaver 5 before a holding call stopped their momentum.  Three plays later the Wildcats failed to convert on fourth down, giving the ball back to DuBois.

C.C. forced another DuBois punt and took over at their 41-yard line.  On the first play, Christian Simko snared a Jase Ferguson pass and raced 57 yards before being brought down at the Beaver two.  On the very next play the Wildcats lost two yards and the ball as DuBois recovered.

DuBois proceeded to return the favor by throwing an interception which was brought back by Ashton Rex to the Beaver four-yard line.  Disaster struck again after Ryan Hummell gained three to the one.  On second down, the ball squirted out during a scrum up the middle and was recovered in the end zone by the Beavers.

Five plays later DuBois fumbled the ball back to Central Clarion when a DuBois receiver was leveled which jarred the ball loose.  The Wildcats’ fourth consecutive trip into the redzone finally resulted in a touchdown when Simco beat a Beaver defender and snagged Ferguson’s first of 3 TD tosses.  By the way, young Jase Ferguson is only a freshman.  Charlie Franchino’s PAT gave his team the 7-0 lead only seconds into the second stanza.

Later in the quarter, DuBois embarked on a 54-yard drive that was capped off when Austin Henery broke free down the sidelines for a 32-yard touchdown jaunt which tied the game at 7 after Charlie Harmon’s extra point.  That would be the only touchdown Central Clarion’s defense would allow the visitors.

DuBois gets ready to snap the ball moments before Henery scores a touchdown.

A muffed reception of the ensuing kickoff put the Wildcats in a difficult position at their own 6, then a short punt gave the Beavers excellent field position at the 25 with two minutes remaining in the half.  A 10-yard run by quarterback Cam-ron Hays put DuBois at the 15-yard line, but the next 3 snaps only netted six yards.  So, with 38 seconds on the clock Harmon nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the Beavers their first and only lead of the night.

Most teams in Central Clarion’s position would have been content to go to the locker room trailing 10-7, knowing they were going to get the ball to start the second half.  But not the Eggleton, his Wildcats, and Ferguson in particular.  What happened next was one of a couple plays that was key to Central Clarion’s win.  When Ferguson dropped back to pass, he couldn’t find a receiver to throw to as DuBois was in a prevent defense.  He then spied an opening and a seam, made a couple of moves on DuBois defenders and sped 46 yards to the Beaver 21.  On the next play, Breckin Rex hauled in Ferguson’s pass for an improbable touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Speaking to a question about Ferguson’s scramble of 46 yards Eggleton had this to say, “he didn’t like what he saw so he stepped up in the pocket and took off and made a big play.  His growth week to week is unreal as a freshman.  The team has really rallied around him.”

Central Clarion offense as they drive in DuBois territory.

The third quarter proved to be uneventful as far as scoring goes.  Central Clarion’s Ryan Hummell thwarted one DuBois drive that began in Wildcat territory with an interception and the defense said ‘no’ to another DuBois possession by stopping the Beavers’ 4th down attempt at the C.C. twenty.

Then came the other key play of the game which possibly had a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.  Facing a second and eighteen from the twelve, Ferguson went back to pass, was pressured by the DuBois defense, and fumbled the ball inside the five which was recovered by the Beavers.  But, stop the press.  Thirty yards downfield as a Wildcat receiver broke free on a crossing route, he was grabbed by a Beaver defender and a holding penalty against DuBois was called, which resulted in Central retaining possession.  “I thought it was a pass, but they (the referees) called it a fumble.  But they grabbed our receiver going vertical,” stated Eggleton.

As it turned out that same possession turned into points for Central Clarion as they drove 80 yards and scored when Simko caught his second touchdown pass of the game, this time a 21-yarder on a third down play.  That score gave the Wildcats some breathing room with 9 minutes to play as they now led 21-10, but the game was far from over.

With four minutes to go DuBois kicked their offense into high gear.  Beginning from their 3-yard line the Beavers steadily travelled downfield 96 yards to the Wildcat one.  With second and goal staring at them, the Beavers tried two successive quarterback sneaks and failed to get anywhere.  Calling a timeout with a minute and a half to play to regroup, DuBois still had a chance to score and recover the onsides kick.

DuBois stacked the backfield and tried the sneak one more time with push from the behind, but the Wildcat defense refused to yield and stuffed Hays for the third straight time which was eerily similar to what happened to Brockway the week before against Port Allegany.  “That goal line stand was huge you know.  I told the guys ‘this is all about pride fellas’.  They went out, puffed their chests up and said they’re not scoring on us.  That stand is something we can hang our hats on,” Eggleton stated.

Notes, quotes, and stats: “DuBois is a hard-nosed football team that likes to run.  To get ahead really took them out of their game plan.  They had to do something they weren’t comfortable doing I think,” observed Caoch Eggleton.  He continued, “Beating a team like DuBois, who was really playing well, I think going into the playoffs we are going to surprise some people.”  Wildcat lineman Kaoz Baker and Christian Simko echoed those sentiments and added that it was a nice win against a good football team and a big boost in confidence heading into the playoffs.

Central Clarion outgained DuBois 368 to 246.  Of those 368 yards 279 came on just 9 plays.  The other 89 yards were gained on 47 plays proving the DuBois defense played very well saving three short of a dozen plays.

Ferguson was the star of the game completing 14 of 19 passes for 236 yards and the 3 TD tosses.  He also had a net of 52 yards rushing.  Simko gets the number 2 star with seven receptions for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Breckin Rex ran for 67 yards and caught 3 balls for 31 yards and the other TD.

From left to right – Jase Ferguson (#1), Breckin Rex (#20), and Christian Simko (#5).

DuBois was led by Hays who rushed for 65 yards and threw for 96.  He did have the 3 interceptions though and appeared to be under a lot of pressure most of the time from the Central Clarion defense.  Beaver punter Brycen Dinkfelt had a nice game averaging 48 yards for his three kicks.

Central Clarion’s record now stands at 4-4 but they’ve won four in a row.  The Wildcats travel to Clearfield next week to take on the undefeated Bison in what should be a good game considering the way Central Clarion is now playing.  DuBois falls to 5-4 and will journey to Karns City to play the once beaten Gremlins in their season finale.

The Central Clarion Marching Band with a nice halftime performance.

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