Bobcat Football Has Celebration Commemorating 500th Win (10/01/17)

The Clarion Football Boosters had a celebration and ceremony, following the Moniteau game, on Friday (September 29th), commemorating the 500th win milestone, that was reached two weeks earlier, in a victory over Keystone.

Superintendent Mike Stahlman reading the Borough proclamation, County Commissioner Wayne Brocious on left

The great achievement was 90 years in the making, with a program that started way back in 1927.

The ceremony was held in the area in and around the concession stand, on the east end of the home stands, and  was highlighted by a huge, timeline banner designed by Milissa Bauer, which listed every coach in Bobcat history, and program milestones.

The Clarion Area Band, directed by Mr. Chris Curry played leading up to the ceremony.

Booster Club President, Chris Hearst was emcee for the event, which featured three proclamations being presented to the school in honor of the achievement. Clarion Area Superintendent Mike Stallman read the borough’s proclamation, which proclaimed Friday, September 29th, 2017 as “Clarion Bobcat Football Day” in the borough. The proclamation was signed by Mayor Daniel Parker.

State Representative Donna Oberlander sharing from the House of Representatives’ proclamation, current Bobcat players behind her

Clarion County Commissioner, Wayne Brocious then read and presented the County’s proclamation followed by Pennsylvania State Representative Donna Oberlander (63rd District) reading and presenting the proclamation from the State House of Representatives.

Hearst then introduced yours truly, who was asked to share some of the history of the program, which I considered a great honor and a humbling experience, but not before the current team members sang “Happy Birthday” to me, as this was my birthday.

I had the great pleasure of introducing three key figures in Bobcat Football history, current coach Larry Wiser, former coach Ray Austin and former and longtime line coach, “Hogmeister” Alex Arth. Wiser and Austin have combined for nearly 300 of the program’s wins and Arth was and assistant coach for thirty-five years.

Bobcat “Elder Statesmen,” Coaches Austin and Arth reminiscing over the timeline poster

This program’s first coach was Walter Doverspike, who also was the first coach for New Bethlehem and Rimersburg. A sign of a winning program is longevity of coaches and coaching staffs. The Bobcats have had only twelve head coaches in their long history and have had and do have many long term assistants. They also have long term support support staff. Among Clarion’s are the Slike family, which have handled the equipment duties for years. Another thing that is needed is community support, including a strong Booster Club, which Clarion has had.

Clarion teams won or shared fourteen conference championships and three District Nine Championships. They also were District Nine runners-up nine times. Oh the great memories players from all those teams must share.

Two of the Bobcats’ former line greats, present for the ceremony along with many former Cats, were introduced: Brad Larson, who is one of three former Cats to achieve All-American status in college and current line coach, Nate McClaine, who is one of five Clarion players two be selected to statewide all-star games.

Past linemen, Nate McClaine and Brad Larson

Larson was an All-American offensive lineman for St. Francis and is joined by current Bobcat assistant Scott “Scooter” Miller, who was an All-American at Lycoming and Tyler McMeans, who was an All-American at Lackawana Junior College. McMeans went on to play for the University of Miami, where he was Honorable Mention A.C.C. and was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Bears, making their practice squad.  He was also a starter for two years for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe.

McClaine, who was in the 2004 East/West Game joined Theo Lawrence, Chuck Ruslavage and John Marshall, all who were Big 33 selections and Kyle Cathcart, who was also an East/West selection.

Coaches Austin, Wiser and Arth, close to a century of accumulated commitment to the Bobcats

Mention was made of the fact that the Bobcats had one High School All-American, Dave Wyncoop, in the early 1960’s. Wyncoop went on to play and start for the University of Virginia. He was one of thirteen Clarion Area players to be selected to play for major colleges, beginning with John “Pat” Dwyer (Army) in the 1930’s through T. J. Armstrong in the 2010’s (Old Dominion). Clarion also had a coach, John Kielb who played for Pitt.

This storied program has had many players who have attained All-State status from First Team through Honorable Mention and many players and coaches who were given the top Little 7-12/KSAC awards.

The Bobcats have three coaches who are members of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame, coach Wiser, coach Robert Moore and coach Norm Zwald.

Clarion had a single season 2000 yard rusher, in Ian Corbett and a career 4000 yard rusher in Kyle Cathcart.

Left to Right: Brad Larson, Chris Hearst, Alex Arth, Ray Austin, Larry Wiser, Mike Stahlman, Nate McClaine

I also got to share what were some of my memories of great moments in games that I witnessed and there are many. And I am sure that everyone involved with this fine program has fond memories of teammates, coaches and others involved making the Bobcats a great team, and memories of great plays, great games and great friends and acquaintances to last a lifetime.

I hope what was shared during the ceremony and in this article gives a brief overview of this great program and its storied history.

But the program isn’t just about those who receive the headlines, it is about all those who put in the hard work and sweat to make the team successful.  One thing that has been a hallmark of this team over the years can be summed up in what has become a team Motto: Team-tradition-me. Team first, honoring the team’s tradition next and me last. When looked at in that order, success follows, no matter what the record is. Everyone who was ever involved in this program can take pride in being part of the 500 wins and this year’s team members can tell their grand kids that they were the ones who brought it home.

The Clarion Area Marching Band playing prior to the ceremony

Who are we? Bobcats!!! Who’s better!!! Nobody!!! Do you believe it? Yes sir!!!

Congratulations to all the Bobcats throughout the years on this outstanding achievement!!!!

(Great work, Chris, Milissa and the rest of the Boosters in putting together this great event. Special thanks to Derek Oberlander for taking some of the photos.)

The 500th win Commemorative Game Program (a labor of love, along with the banner, by Milissa Bauer)