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Bobcat Football Team Finishes Regular Season Undefeated, 10-0 After Victory Over Raiders (11/03/13)

Bobcat Football Team Finishes Regular Season Undefeated, 10-0 After Victory Over Raiders (11/03/13)

The Clarion Bobcat Football Team traveled to Brookville on Friday night and downed the Raiders 56-13, to finish the regular season at 10-0. This is the second year in a row that the Cats have gone undefeated in KSAC play.

Clarion opened the scoring at 4:56 of the 1st quarter, on a two yard run by Damien Slike, his first of 5 touchdowns on the night. The PAT was blocked and the Cats led 6-0.

(Photo by Bri Nellis – brinellisphotography.shutterfly.com) Undefeated Back to Back Champs!

(Photo by Bri Nellis – brinellisphotography.shutterfly.com)
Undefeated Back to Back Champs!

The Bobcats’ next drive was set up when Ian Corbett recovered a loose ball from a bad snap by the Raiders, at the Brookville 37. After Slike ran the ball to the 12 on a first and ten from the 25, Ian got the call and ran through the middle of the line for the score. John Katis hit Slike with a pass on the two point conversion but it was called back on a penalty. The next try was unsuccessful and the Cats led 12-0 at 10:13 of the second quarter.

A three yard touchdown run by Slike, at 1:26 and a run by Ian for the conversion closed out the first half scoring. Clarion took a 20-0 lead into the locker room.

The crowd was treated to a very special halftime performance. Instead of the usual halftime where the visiting band performs then the home team band, both bands lined up as one unit on the field. With alternating rows of Raiders, Cats, Raiders, Cats… one band played a song, then the other, for a couple rounds. Then they finished off with both bands playing the final selection. Great job to both bands!!!!

Slike scored his third touchdown on the night, on a 6 yard run around the right side, capping 56 yard drive on the Cats first possession of the second half. Antonio Troese’ extra point kick was good and the Cats led 27-0, at 9:52 of the third quarter. A key play in the drive was a 51 yard pass from Katis to Cody Hearst down the left sideline, from the Clarion 35 to the Brookville 14.

Clarion needed only one play to score their next touchdown, as they tackled the Brookville punter on the Raider one yard line, after he picked up a bad snap in the endzone and decided to run it out. Slike ran for the 1 yard score. The 2 point conversion failed and the Cats led 33-0, with 7:10 left in the third.

The Raiders put together a nice drive on their next possession, moving the ball as far as the Bobcat fifteen. But a bad snap on fourth down resulted in Ian Corbett tackling the Brookville player at the Clarion 33 yard line. On the Cats’ first play from scrimmage, Katis hit Hearst with a pass down the left sideline, to the Raider twenty-four. Three plays later, Ian Corbett ran the ball around the right side and cut back to the middle of the field for a touchdown and with the extra point, the Cats led 40-0, with 16 seconds left in the quarter.

The Raiders’ next drive resulted in their first score with less than a minute gone in the fourth quarter. With Brookville at their own 49, Zach Vroman hit Braden Smith with a beautiful pass down the right sideline. Smith hauled it in at the Clarion 25 and took it the rest of the way, cutting the Cats’ lead to 40-6.

After the kickoff Clarion set up at their own 41 yard line. On the first play Slike ran the ball up the middle and turned it outside, and took it in for a 59 yard score. As was the case all evening, the line provided nice blocking. With the successful PAT, the Cats led 47-6, with 11:04 left in the game.

The Raiders answered on the first play of their next possession, on a nice run by Vroman. He took the snap and ran the ball up the middle, cut outside and took it down the right side for a 60 yard touchdown. The kick was good and the score was now 47-16.

After a long score by Tanner Corbett was negated by a penalty, Troese hit a diving, tight end Matt Verne for a 13 yard touchdown over the middle. Troese then kicked the PAT. The lead was now 54-13 at 3:12.

The final two points were scored when Verne, Thomas Plummer and Ben Babington tackled a Raider in the endzone for a safety.

After the game I had the opportunity to talk to several players. Slike said, “Brookville came out firing, but our line was faster than theirs. And they kept opening huge holes, and that’s why Ian and I tore it up.”

On going undefeated two years in a row, Slike said, “It feels pretty good. I think it’s because our guys have been dedicated over break and they’ve been in the weight room. We did it last year and so were like hey why not. Let’s do it again.”

Lineman Stephen Hartley said, “We retained a lot of talent and it all started at camp. You know, we’ve been working all summer to prepare for exactly this. Not a surprise, but I’m glad we did it.” Slike, “Shout out to the HOGS.” Hartley echoed, “Shout out to the HOGS.”

Hartley commented on the way the game went, “They were playing pretty tough on us. But they threw some stuff at our line and we were smart and communicated and we busted a couple of big plays.”

Speaking of the Raiders, Slike said, “They were tough hitters.” Hartley said, “Most of the game was a lot of just grinding out, like eight yard plays all the way down the field, which took up a lot of time and really wore them down. So our line’s a lot to credit that and so are the backs.  The playoffs are going to be tough, so that was a good game for us.”

On the part the line plays on the team, Hartley said, “It makes me really proud. I mean, we have a really talented team. Our skill players are just excellent but being a part of the line, you feel really good when Johnny’s not getting sacked and we’re busting up big plays. You feel like you are something bigger and it’s a really good time. (Note: the Line hasn’t given up a sack all season.)

Center Zach Miller had praise for his teammates and his line coach. “That’s the best part about it, not having anybody touch Johnny and everything. I’m proud to play for these guys. This is the best team I’ve ever played for out of all of the Clarion history I’ve been a part of.  It’s an honor to be starting on this offense with them.

Commenting on going 10-0, Miller said, “It feels great. We’re going for Hershey. That’s what we’re going for. D-9 first but we’re going for Hershey.”

On the line’s coach, Coach McClaine, he said, “He’s the best linemen coach we’ve had. I’ve been with a lot of linemen coaches and stuff. He really knows how to connect with us, and he’s been there and that helps. But I’ll tell you what, soul and passion – he comes out every game, every practice. He really makes us want to go out and get it every week.”

(Slike led Clarion with 206 yards rushing, on 16 carries and a catch for 11 yards. He also had 13 tackles on defense. Ian Corbett had 69 yards, on 7 carries, with a touchdown and a two point conversion, a catch for 20 yards and 9 tackles, a fumble recovery and three sacks.

Tanner Corbett had 6 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Hearst had 2 catches for sixty-five yards. Verne had 1 catch for 14 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker, Destin Strauser had his usual great game, with 16 tackles and a sack. He has gone over the century mark, with 114 tackles on the season.)

The Bobcats now enter the District Nine Class A Playoffs as the number one seed. They will host Union on Friday, in the first round game at Memorial Stadium.