Mercyhurst Crushes Clarion, 57-10
CLARION, Pa. – The Mercyhurst offense rushed for over 300 yards and the Laker defense forced five turnovers as Mercyhurst cruised to a 57-10 victory over host Clarion University Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
(Photo courtesy of Mercyhurst Athletics)
Redshirt junior running back Garrett Owens had a monster day rushing for 192 yards and three touchdowns. It was the third time this season that Owens crossed the goal line three times. Included in those numbers was a school-record 98-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
The Lakers wasted little time against the Golden Eagles stopping the first Clarion possession with an interception by Hunter Merritt. Doug Altavilla found Marcus Placke for 34-yards on the first play from scrimmage for Mercyhurst to make it 7-0 just over three minutes into the contest.
Mercyhurst extended their lead on their next drive going 80 yards in nine plays capped by a 14-yard strike from Altavilla to Jason Armstrong to push the advantage to 14-0. The Lakers picked up where the second where they left off the first moving the ball to the Clarion 11-yard line before settling for a Mark Shafer Jr. field goal to make it 17-0 with 14:13 remaining in the second quarter.
The Golden Eagles moved the ball on their ensuing possession, but Merritt intercepted his second pass of the game at the Laker 1-yard line and returned it 69 yards to the Clarion 30. Penalties slowed the Laker progress before Clarion got their first take away with an interception. The momentum was short-lived as Jon LoChiatto made the third interception of the game for the Lakers and returned it to the Golden Eagle four. Two Owens rushing attempts later the Lakers held a 24-0 advantage with 4:34 remaining in the second.
On the opening possession of the second half, Owens scored his second touchdown of the game this time on a 36-yard run capping a 51-yard drive. Owens record-setting run came at the 7:03 of the third going 98 yards to extend the lead to 36-0.
The shutout continued late into the third and the Laker special teams got involved blocking a Clarion punt and setting up the offense at the Golden Eagle 21. Cortez Watson covered the entire 22 yards on the ground pushing the Laker advantage to 43-0 with 1:01 remaining in the third.
Clarion broke the shutout with a touchdown at 14:13 of the fourth quarter. DaQuan Isom answered for the Lakers punching in a one-yard touchdown with 4:58 remaining in the game.
The Mercyhurst defense put an exclamation point on the game when Jacob Holl returned a fumbled lateral 37 yards for a touchdown to make the score 57-7. The Golden Eagles would add a late field goal to set the final.
Clarion’s offense did not pick up much traction until the second half, doing most of their damage in the final 30 minutes of action. Quinn Zinobile had eight catches for 85 yards, while Kahliq Muhammad made a number of impressive sideline grabs in posting seven catches for 70 yards. Zinobile was pressed into duty as a kick returner and did well, averaging 34.3 yards per return.
On defense, Sam Fareri had a game-high 10 tackles and recorded his first interception of the year, thwarting a Laker drive by picking off a pass in the end zone. Saif Khan finished with seven tackles and a sack, while Chris Gildea had eight stops and a pass break-up.
Owens added 26 yards receiving to his 192 on the ground. Watson chipped in 72 rushing yards and a score. Altavilla finished 10-for-14 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Alex Zacharyasz led the Lakers with eight tackles. Holl picked up six tackles as well as his fumble return touchdown. Merritt added three tackles to his two interceptions.
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