Clarion’s Bobcats Win KSAC Title by Upending the Karns City Gremlins
Written by: Phil Myers on Saturday, October 14th, 2017
Clarion won the KSAC Large School Division Friday by defeating Karns City at Clarion University’s Memorial Field, 44-17. “It’s awesome,” declared Bobcat coach Larry Wiser. “I enjoy playing Karns City. They bring out the best in you,” he continued. Quarterback Spencer Miller and running back Logan Minich each scored two touchdowns to lead Clarion offensively and move the Bobcats’ undefeated record to 7-0 on the year.
The Bobcats fell behind twice in the first quarter, but used big plays to bounce back until the defense could settle down. Miller took off on a 56-yard TD run just sixteen seconds after the Gremlin’s Sebastian Troutman gave the visitors a 6-0 lead 3 minutes and sixteen seconds into the contest. Then, after Troutman scored again, Sterling Conner tied the game with a dazzling 88-yard kickoff return.
From that point on, Clarion won the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, which ultimately translated into a convincing victory. Karns City’s first two drives covered 132 yards in 18 plays and took 7:41 off of the clock. For the rest of the game, the Gremlins gained 115 yards in 29 plays and only had the ball for 9:52. Coach Wiser explained why KC was so successful on their first couple drives by saying, “We were anxious and kept getting out of our gaps. We weren’t being disciplined.” Meanwhile, Clarion garnered over 400 yards of offense and never punted. The only time they didn’t score points was on their last drive when the Bobcats stalled out at the Gremlin 26.
Karns City received the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards right down the field with the big play being a 45-yard jaunt by Troutman. Troutman later crossed the goal line from two yards out to put his team up 6-0. Miller answered with the long TD run and Clarion had a 7-6 when Archer Mills was successful on his extra point attempt. The Gremlins came back by going 62 yards in ten plays capped by Troutman’s two-yard plunge. A half back pass from Josh Wimer to Noah Kepple for two points sent KC back into the lead 14-7 with 3:52 remaining in the opening quarter. But Sterling Conner made all the right moves during his kickoff return for a touchdown 12 seconds later to tie the game at 14.
Clarion stopped Karns City on the Gremlins’ next drive and proceeded to take a lead that they would not relinquish. The key play was a third and five from the Bobcat thirty-one. Miller hit Archer Mills over the middle for 32 markers to the Gremlin thirty-seven before the end of the first quarter. From there, Clarion took ten plays to cover the final 37 yards. Logan Minich had the honors of plowing in from a yard away making the score 21-14. To round out the scoring for the first half both teams connected on field goals. Mills hit from 20 yards and Clay Garing nailed a 33 yarder as time expired to get Karns City to within one score, 24-17.
Clarion thoroughly dominated the second half scoring three touchdowns and giving up a total of 26 yards and two first downs while recovering a fumble too. Conner returned the second half kickoff forty-one yards to the KC 49. Minich topped off the drive by going the last nine yards for the tally. Mills’ PAT made it 31-17 in favor of the orange and black of Clarion. “Our offensive line was just knocking people off the ball,” stated a happy Coach Wiser.
Later, with 55 seconds left in quarter three, Keeven Weaver weaved his way into the end zone from 19 yards out and just like that Clarion was sitting on a 38-17 lead. Finally, midway through the final stanza, Miller rolled to his left looking for a receiver, and not spotting anyone he reversed his field and traversed 21-yards for the evening’s last score. “We’d like to get Miller outside and get him to improvise like he did tonight,” Wiser said of his quarterback and possible future plans.
Game Notes: This was the second week that Clarion’s leading rusher, Colton Rapp, has not played. Wiser said he hopes to have him back at some point in the coming weeks. D-9 100-meter sprint champ, WR Brendan Zerfoss went down with an injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Minich finished the game with 146 yards on 24 carries and the two touchdowns. Miller carried the rock eight times for 95 yards and two scores. Weaver chipped in 48 yards on only four tries. Thomas Wurster had the fumble recovery for the Bobcats. Karns City was led offensively by Troutman who had ten totes for 94 yards.
It appeared Karns City only had ten men on the field when Miller scored his touchdown on Clarion’s first play from scrimmage. How many times does a team have one offensive play, the other team has eighteen and yet the score is tied 14-14? That is how Clarion began the game. Both teams are home next Friday. Clarion 7-0 hosts Union/A.C. Valley 0-7 and Karns City 5-3 welcomes Moniteau 2-5.
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