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Bobcat Gridders Win At Punxy In Season Opener; Get To Be Part Of Great Pregame Tribute (09/04/17)

The Clarion Bobcat Football Team opened the 2017 campaign with win at Punxsutawney on Friday night (September 1st). Details of the game in a bit.

Old Glory being carried the length of the field

The game was played at the newly renovated Jack LaMarca Stadium. The improvements are something to behold: refurbished home stands and ticket booths, beautiful press box, scoreboard, new visitors bleachers large state of the art field house, with home and visitor locker rooms, refreshment stand and restrooms.

But perhaps the finest and most meaningful addition is the new flag pole, probably the tallest by far in District Nine, along with the accompanying monument, with the emblems of each of the branch of the military at the top, which reads: “RAISED IN THE YEAR 20017 THIS FLAG POLE IS DEDICATED IN THE MEMORY AND IN HONOR OF ALL THE STUDENTS IN THE PUNXSUTAWNEY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT WHO HAVE SERVED, CONTINUE TO SERVE… AND WILL SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES”

Bobcats, refs and fans standing at attention during Patriotic pregame ceremony

There was a pregame ceremony to dedicate the upgraded stadium, the monument, flag pole and flag, which the Bobcats were invited to be a part of. With both team standing at attention on their respective sidelines, along with the fans, the Punxsutawney Area Band played the “Armed Forces Medley” as Boy Scout Troop 245 and the Jefferson County Veterans Honor Guard carried the largest United States Flag, that I have ever seen at a high school facility, the length of the field. When they began raising the Stars and Stripes, the Band, some 100 strong played our great country’s National Anthem.

The Stars and Stripes making its ascent up the Flag Pole

As the Flag went higher, when each person who’s task of holding it came to an end, they stood at attention, saluting and gazing up at Old Glory.

Most touching high school pregame ceremony I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Great Job, Punxsutawney! AND THANK YOU, VETS!!!!

Now for the game:

Colton Rapp led the Bobcats with 179 yards rushing (including a 61 yard run), on 13 carries and 2 touchdowns, in their 43-0 win. The Cats rushed for 469 yards total.

Rapp scored the opening touchdown on a 1 yard run at 11:41 of the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by an earlier 39 yard run by Rapp.

Colton Rapp led the Cats with 179 rushing yards and 2 TDs

Archer Mills was good on the PAT, his first of five on the night, without a miss and the Cats led 7-0.

The Bobcats would score three more times in the opening stanza. Mills was on the receiving end of a 9 yard scoring strike over the middle, from quarterback Spencer Miller, at the 6:13 mark. The extra point made it 14-0. Miller had a nice 34 yard run during the drive. A 4 yard run by Camden Boggess, at 4:52 and the PAT pushed Clarion’s lead to 21-0. The drive was set up by defensive lineman Colt Stimmell who had a tackle for loss and the a fumble recovery, deep in Punxy territory.

The last score of the quarter came on a 77 yard run, by Brendan Zerfoss, who went through a nice hole in the line and outraced the defenders to paydirt. Mills’ kick made it 28-0. Brendan had 96 yards on the night, on four carries.

A nine yard touchdown run by Rapp, with 1:37 left in the half, along with the extra point, moved the score to 35-0 and provided for a moving clock for the second half.

Cutter Boggess scored the Cats’ last touchdown on a 5 yard run at 2:08 in the third. Mills set up for the extra point, but with a miss connection on the snap, he picked it up, rolled right and found Camden Boggess for the two point conversion to set the final.

Camden Boggess finished the game with 65 yards on 12 carries. He had a tackle for loss on defense. Cutter Boggess had 35 yards on five carries and Colton Zacherl had a 25 yard run.

The offensive line did a good job, with some nice push off the line to open up some nice holes.

Zak Bauer, in addition to his good work with his O-line mates, had a real strong performance on defense, with 9 tackles, 5 of them for loss, including a sack. Colt Stimmell had three tackles for loss, including a sack, to go along with the fumble recovery. Tom Wurster had 4 tackles, 3 for loss, including two sacks. Nick Porciello and Nick Cherico each had a sack and Keeven Weaver added a tackle for loss.

After the game, both squads were treated to pizza, provided by former Clarion and now Punxy resident Tom Burleigh Sr. Tom’s son, Tom Jr. was an outstanding quarterback for the Bobcats in the late ’90s. Thanks Tom!!!!

CAT QUOTES

Coach Wiser: The line did a good job. You don’t run for that many yards (without them doing well). We need to work on maintaining our blocks on pass plays. Spencer got pressured a little bit.

We were further ahead, obviously, than last year. And what was really nice, last year we started out with 10 or 12 penalties just in the first half. So we maintained our discipline, staying on sides. and Spence did a good job getting people drawn off, which helped us on some of those drives and so forth.

Overall, we talk about winning each play is a little script. There’s probably 170 or 180 little scripts out there tonight and it’s important that 11 guys win each one. That was kind of our theme tonight. Stay focused, don’t get ahead of ourselves, don’t look at the score, stay within the system. And the system is, ‘we don’t want to be talking about winning championships, we want to be talking about preparing each week to be a better football team. That’ll be my message to them tonight: ‘When you win, that’s great. But the next thing is you’ve got to come out and step it up again, get better during the week, fix the things we didn’t do well and continue doing the things we do well.

I thought we were pretty well balanced, defensively, offensively, special teams. Other than the first kick, I thought Archer got the ball deep and the kickoff team pinned them down pretty good. They did a good job of keeping them inside the thirty. You hold them inside the thirty and there is a betterchance of them not scoring and you getting the ball back and you scoring. That’s been a nice theme with them. Scott Miller has done a nice job coaching them.

We made all our PATs. That’s a good sign. I don’t think we punted at all.

We have to keep working on our passing attack. We dropped some balls we shouldn’t have. We’ve got to get to a balanced attack. We’ll have people in our face, if we don’t get that ball down the field and so forth.

It was nice seeing Colton back. We haven’t had him in the scrimmages. Got some young, good kids behind him, too. We’ll go from there.

Colton Rapp: I thought we kind of hit a turning point. No one was really happy with the outcomes of the scrimmages. We made a lot of mental errors. And we really tightened up tonight. We cleaned up a lot of those mistakes and we looked pretty good out there. But, like coach says, its a progression. You’ve got to work to get better every week. I know I’m already thinking about Brookville. We’re getting ready for them now.

I thought all around, we looked good across the board. Some things we’ve got to work on, but I thought we looked good as a team.

Good game. We were out there. We were firing. I think we were pretty fired up off the bat. That kind of gave us the edge on them. I don’t think they were quite ready for us and we came out, we’re ready to play four quarters hard.

Colt Stimmell: I thought we came out and played well. We practiced for Punxy and everything we did, we came out and executed almost perfectly. We ran and I thought we set the tone early with that kickoff and never looked back. I had a sack and I’ll call it another tackle in the backfield. Not just me, the whole team showed up. The D-Linemen, the backfield, everybody played excellently.  Get back on the field Monday and start working towards Brookville.

Zak Bauer: I think we played great tonight as a team. I think we had a good outing and showed everyone here that Clarion Football is here to come out and perform this year. And I couldn’t have asked for a better night for my team. We’ve got a really strong line. I couldn’t be more proud to have those guys to line up beside me and we’re going to keep working hard each and every week to get better.

(Good start to the season, Cats!!!!)