Bobcats Open New Season In New League With Victory Over Chucks (08/26/18)

The Clarion Area Bobcat Gridders opened their 2018 season with a 40-6 win over the visiting Punxutawney Chucks, on Friday, August 25th, at Memorial Stadium.

(Photo by Bri Nellis – Bri Nellis Photography)
Sam Minich fighting for yardage against the Chucks

The win is the Cats’ first ever in the newly formed District 9 Football League. The Bobcats and Chucks are both members of the Large School Division.

Sam Minich got Clarion on the scoreboard, with a 57 run, outrunning the defenders down the left sideline to pay dirt, with 5:55 left in the first quarter. Archer Mills connected on the PAT to give the Cats a 7-0 lead.

The Bobcats’ lead moved to 9-0 with 10:31 on the clock in the second, when Punxy was called for grounding in their own end zone. After the ensuing kick, the Cats drove 52 yards, capped by a 10 yard scoring run by Cutter Boggess. Mills was successful again an the Cats led 16-0 with 6:19 left in quarter number two. One of the key plays in the drive came with the Bobcats facing a fourth-and-eight from the Punxutawney thirty-nine. Clarion set up in punt formation, with Mills, also the Cats’ quarterback, as the punter. The fake was on and Mills hit Andrew Guth with a pass covering 26 yards, to the Chucks thirteen. Boggess ran for 3 yards on first down and covered the rest of the yardage on second down.

The Bobcats would hold force Punxy to punt, on the next series. After receiving the punt, the Cats would set up on their own forty-seven. Several plays later, Mills would hit Minich with a 32 yard touchdown pass. Mills kicked the extra point and the Bobcats led 23-0, with 3:05 left in the half. The score held until halftime.

Mills opened the second half scoring, splitting the uprights on a 23 yard field goal, at 6:38 of the third quarter. The Bobcats now led 26-0. He had a superb all-around game, going 8-for-12 for 108 yards and 2 Touchdowns passing, 4 carries for 44 yards, a perfect 5-for-5 on conversion kicks and the 25 yard field goal.

Clarion forced the Chucks to punt on their next possession and set up shop at the Punxutawney forty-eight, with 5:24 left in the quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Minich covered the distance and with Mills’ kick, the Cats led 33-0 at 5:16.

Punxy’s Alex Gianvito took the ensuing kickoff 77 yards, setting the Chucks up at the Clarion fourteen yard line. Several plays later, with Punxy facing a fourth-and-eleven from the sixteen, Gianvito halled in a pass from quarterback Carter Newcome, in the back of the endzone, for a touchdown, cutting the Bobcat lead to 33-6.

The Cats would close out the scoring when Cal German found Ethan Burford, on a 25 yard aerial for the touchdown, with 11:o8 left on the clock. With Mills kick the final was set at 40-6. This was the first varsity touchdown for either of the two sophomores.

Minich led the Cats with 132 yards rushing, 44 yards receiving, three touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving) a blocked punt and a sack. Cutter Boggess had 87 yards rushing with one touchdown.


Cutter Boggess and Sam Minich

Sam Minich: Really, it was just a team effort. Luckily, I got the ball in my hands and the line just opened up some great holes. I had the most room in the world to run. We just need to cut back on the penalties. Other than that, we were looking pretty good for our first game.

Cutter Boggess: Our line’s doing pretty well. We have just a few things to fix here or there¬† and we should be good. We just have to quit the mental mistakes.

Coach Wiser: I really stress the importance of winning the first ball game, so I’m coming away tonight (there were mistakes tonight), but the non-mistake is winning the game 40-6. I’ll take that any day of the year. You’d like to play a perfect game. You strive to do that every time you walk on the football field.

So we’ve got one under our belt. Now it is how we are going to respond, come back in next week and get ready for the next game. It’s a process and a journey that we take each week. And hopefully we become better football players and a better team as we go through it.

I’m pleased, in a lot of ways, with some of the things we did tonight. There are some things we need to work on. That’s always the case.

Defensively, I thought Lee (Weber) and Cam (Kirkland) did a nice job really getting the kids ready. You really only have one film to look at these guys this year (being the first game). It was interesting prep. They actually came out in a lot of different formations than we expected. We got caught out of gap sometimes, at the beginning of the game. But the kids came back. Imagine, we have a whole different offensive line out there. The defensive front is a complete turnover, with the exception of Nick Porciello.

Two of the linebackers are back from last year and basically a whole new secondary, with Archer Mills moving to free safety. He got a lot of playing time at corner. So I thought they played pretty well.

We missed some gap opportunities. After we get a chance to look at film, well get that fixed.

Monday, we get to see the Junior Varsity. That’s kind of the unknown factor. I don’t know what we have, as far as backups for our starters. There were times out there tonight we had to do some adjusting defensively to get some things going there.

The Bobcats will travel to West Sunbury, on Friday (August 31st), to face the Moniteau Warriors.

(Thanks to Bri Nellis, of Bri Nellis Photography, for her photo. GREAT START TO THE 2018 CAMPAIGN, CATS!!!!)