Clarion Dominates Second Half in 42-14 Win over Karns City
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Relisten to the game:
The Bobcats (3-0) and Gremlins (2-1) were tied at 14 at halftime, but three third-quarter touchdowns, including two in the final 2:44 of the quarter, helped Clarion roll to the win.
“At halftime, coach came in and said we have to pick it up,” Clarion offensive lineman/linebacker Ben Smith said. “(He said), you guys know what you are supposed to do, so do it.”
Clarion head coach Larry Wiser credited assistant head coach Dave Eggleton, who was the head coach at Clarion-Limestone last season before the C-L and Clarion programs merged this year, with giving the motivational speech at halftime.
“I’m going to give Dave Eggleton a lot of credit,” Wiser said. “I thought his speech was well-timed. Mine was kind of a soft approach making some subtle adjustments on defense. I thought the kids responded pretty well.”
Karns City seemed to have all the momentum going into the locker room after Kaden Scherer returned a kickoff 75 yards for a score on the last play of the first half to tie the score at 14 after Clarion had taken a 14-7 lead on a 1-yard Kyle Bottaro run with 7.9 seconds left in the half.
“I will kick myself in the butt for two years on that,” Wiser said of the decision to kick the ball deep. “I was going to take a timeout and review everything and make sure we were on the same page. But then we thought they might come out in some spread package that would need to take the time out. In retrospect, I should have gone with my first instinct, which I generally do.”
But instead of letting the Gremlins carry the momentum into the second half, Clarion responded by scoring on the opening drive of the second half with Austin Newcomb, who ran 17 times for 200 yards and four touchdowns, finishing a long drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
“They drove down the opening possession (of the second half) and scored,” Karns City head coach Joe Sherwin said. “That kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit. We weren’t able to recover from there.”
The opening drive of the second half set the tone offensively for the Bobcats, who outgained Karns City 287 yards to 97 yards after halftime.
“It (the kickoff return for a touchdown) could have been a real downer,” Wiser said. “I have to give the kids a lot of credit.
“That is maybe one of the biggest things I walk out of her with tonight. It’s that I think there was some real growth from that standpoint were we faced adversity. I liked the way the kids responded.”
The short touchdown run by Newcomb started a strong second half for the senior from C-L, who scored all four of his touchdowns in the second half while rushing for 200 yards on 17 carries on the night.
“Our line just stepped up big time,” Newcomb said. “Without them, I couldn’t do it. All the thanks got to them.”
Smith played a key role on that line, which helped Clarion gain 438 yards on the night, and for those efforts, he was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game.
“Upfront, it was pretty much everything we discuss during practice all week,” Smith said.
Smith also played a key role on a Clarion defense that only allowed one touchdown – and that on a 23-yard drive following a Newcomb fumble – and limited Karns City’s dual-threat quarterback, Anthony Kamenski, to 73 yards rushing on 11 carries and just 16 passing yards on 2-for-10 with an interception.
“(We) are just doing our jobs,” Smith said. “When everyone does their job, good thing happen. That is what we did tonight.”
Watch all of Smith and Newcomb’s postgame thoughts.
Following the go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter by Newcomb, the Clarion defense rose to the occasion stopping Karns City on downs at the Clarion 24-yard line, and Smith made quick work of the Gremlins defense going 76 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 28-14.
“I thought, for the most part, we did a good job of containing (Newcomb) most of the night,” Sherwin said. “He did get a few runs there in the second half, and that did hurt us. He is a great back.”
Clarion then broke Karns City’s back just under two minutes later when the Bobcats scored again, this time on a 2-yard Newcomb run, on a drive that seemed dead in the water when penalties had Clarion facing a third-and-36 and a fourth-and-18.
But Cal German, who threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, hit Ethan Burford with a 23-yard pass to set up a more manageable fourth-and-13 at the 32-yard line. Clarion then appeared to score when German found Cutter Boggess down the seam for a touchdown, but an illegal motion penalty erased the touchdown.
German, however, hit Boggess again, this time with a 35-yard pass to the 2-yard line. Clarion caught a break on the play when Boggess fumbled the ball out of the end zone for what should have been a Karns City touchback only to have the referees say Boggess’ knee was down. Video replay seemed to show that wasn’t the case.
Newcomb then scored on the next play to make it 35-14.
A nifty 53-yard run by Newcomb in the fourth quarter set the final score, as Clarion outgained Karns City 438-211 on the night.
The Gremlins did lead 7-0 in the first quarter after a Newcomb fumble set Karns City up at the Bobcats 23-yard line.
Luke Garring capped the short drive with a 2-yard run.
A second Newcomb fumble, this time inside the Karns City 5-yard line, thwarted another Bobcats drive, but Clarion tied the game at seven when German hit Burford with a 40-yard touchdown pass 59 seconds into the second quarter. Burford had five catches for 149 yards.
Clarion then took its first lead with 7.9 seconds remaining in the first half on a 1-yard Kyle Bottaro run only to see Karns City answer back with the kickoff return for a score.
Clarion returns to action next week at unbeaten Brookville, while Karns City is hosting Moniteau.
CLARION 42, KARNS CITY 14
Score by Quarter
Karns City 7 7 0 0 – 14
Clarion 0 14 21 7 – 42
KC – Luke Garring 2 run (Owen Colwell kick), 4:28
C – Ethan Buford 40 pass from Cal German (Beau Verdill kick), 11:01
C – Kyle Bottaro 1 run (Verdill kick), 0:7.9
KC – Kaden Scherer 75 kickoff return (Colwell kick), 0:00
C – Austin Newcomb 3 run (Verdill kick), 8:33
C – Newcomb 76 run (Verdill kick), 2:44
C – Newcomb 2 run (Verdill kick), 0:53
C – Newcomb 53 run (Verdill kick), 2:26
Karns City – Stats – Clarion
13 First Downs 116
47-195 Rushes-Yards 27-231
16 Passing Yards 207
2-11-1 Passing: Comp-Att-Int 8-13-0
58-211 Total Plays-Yards 40-438
12-100 Penalties-Yards 10-100
Rushing: Karns City – Anthony Kamenski 11-73, Hunter Rowe 11-34, Zach Blair 3-9, Luke Garing 13-52, Gage Kowski 2-2, Owen Graff 1-1, Kaden Scherer 1-13, Jayce Anders 5-11. Clarion – Austin Newcomb 17-200, Kyle Bottaro 4-6, Colton Zacherl 4-12, Cutter Boggess 2-13.
Passing: Karns City – Anthony Kamenski 2-for-10, 16 yards, 1 TD; Brayden Christie 0-for-1, 0 yards. Clarion – Cal German 8-for-13, 207 yards 1 TD.
Receiving: Karns CIty – Brayden Christie 1-9, Luke Garing 1-7. Clarion – Ethan Burford 5-149, Austin Newcomb 1-12, Christian Simko 1-11, Cutter Boggess 1-35.
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