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Ethan Burford Breaks Single Season TD Reception Mark In Clarion Area Homecoming Win (10/14/19)

(Above photo by Nate McClaine) Bobcat offense set to go against Owls’ defense)

The Clarion Area Bobcats downed the Bradford Owls 51-6, in District Nine League, Large School Division action, on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium, on Friday (October 12th).

The Owls opened the scoring, on a 54 yard pass play, over the middle, from Caleb Nuzzo to Austen Davis with 9:38 left in the first quarter. They faked the kick, going for a two-point conversion. The play failed and Bradford led 6-0.

The Bobcats answered with 6:45 left in the quarter,with Bobcat signal caller Cal German hitting Cutter Boggess on a scoring pass down the right side from 21 yards out. Beau Verdill’s point after was good and the Cats led 7-6.        

  The touchdown was set up by a beautiful 39 yard run, with Colton Zacherl taking the hand off down the right side and weaving in and out of traffic.

(Photo provided by Laura Burford) Cal German and Ethan Burford

Then at 4:42 of the first, with a 1st and 10 at the Clarion 40, German hit Ethan Burford over the middle at the Bradford 20. Burford who was past the defenders took the ball in stride the rest of the way for a 60 yard touchdown. Verdill’s kick was good moving the score to 14-6, Bobcats.

The touchdown reception was Burford’s twelfth of the year, tying him with Sam Minich (2018), Cody Hearst (2013) and big brother Ty Burford (2016) for first place on the Bobcats’ Single Season Touchdown Reception list.

Former Bobcat All-Stater and current starting guard for Dickinson College Zak Bauer was on hand for the game

With 3:15 left in the quarter, Bobcat linebacker Ben Smith intercepted a Bradford pass at the Owls’ 14 and returned it to the one. Then lining up in the backfield, Smith ran the ball in for the score. Verdill kicked the PAT and the Cats led 21-6 at the 3:09 mark.

Burford stopped the Owls with an interception at the Clarion 27 yard line, with twenty-one seconds left in the quarter.

The Bobcats marched down the field and with 10:06 on the clock, Verdill hit a 31 yard field goal to move the score to 24-6, Bobcats.

Zacherl took the ball in from 13 yards out at 3:47 through the left interior of the line. Verdill was successful again, moving the Bobcat lead to 31-6.   

Kaoz Baker recovered a fumble at the Bradford forty-seven, with 1:06 left in the half.

2019Clarion Area Homecoming Court

Several plays later Boggess took a swing pass and ran over one defender and through a couple more, down the left side for the score. Verdill’s kick was good and the Cats led 38-6 with just over 39 seconds left before the half.

At halftime the 2019 Clarion Area Homecoming Court was introduced, with Kait Constantino and Nathaniel Lerch being crowned Queen and King.

2019 Queen Kait Constantino receiving bouquet

Zacheral had a beautiful return on the second half kickoff, taking it in the middle of the field at the Clarion 15, cutting to the left and down the sideline to the Bradford thirty-four. Several plays later he took it down the left side for a twenty-yard score. Nuzzo blocked the point after try and the Cats led 44-6 with 10:31 left in the third.

With 2:55 left in the quarter, German hit Burford with a behind the line of scrimmage on the right side of the field. Burford found a seam and cut to the center, turning on the jets and outrunning everyone for a 59 yard touchdown. Verdill was successful on the point after and the Cats led 51-6.

Burford now sits alone atop the Bobcats’ Single Season Touchdown Reception board with 13, while moving into second place on the Single Season Receiving Yards list with 886 after accumulating 140 yards on three receptions.

Though neither team scored in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats came up with a nice defensive play. A Bradford runner broke a big run up the middle, but the ball came loose and bounced forward, when he was being tackled by Jason Ganoe and Boggess, at about the Clarion 40. Hunter Craddock recovered the ball at the Clarion 33 yard line.

(Photo by Nate McClaine) Mitch Knepp pressuring Bradford quarterback

The Bobcats outgained the Owls 502 yards to 147, with a balance of rushing yards (239) and passing yards (271).

German completed 11-of-22 passes for 271 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He is tied with Spencer Miller (2016) for third in single season touchdown passes, with 19, trailing John Katis (25 in 2013 and 22 in 2012), and sits in third for single season passing yards with 1,490, behind Katis (2,241 in 2013 and 1,638 in 2012).

Zacherl had 5 carries for 103 yards. Boggess ran for 55 yards on 10 carries and had 6 receptions for 113 yards. Breckin Rex carried the ball 4 times for 43 yards.

Part of the huge Homecoming crowd

CAT QUOTES:

Ethan: “Well, the deep route’s always there for us. That’s our favorite thing to do. It was just send me on the fly and him (Cal) hit me in stride; that’s what usually happens.”

Cal (on throwing the record setting pass to Ethan): “Yeah, it’s great. I love this guy, but it was a great team win. He deserves the record, great player. It was a great team win. We’ve got to keep moving forward.

“We’ve had great line play this whole year.”

Ethan: “It’s a great feeling. (jokingly) I’m excited to go back to my house and rub it into my brother’s face that I broke his record. Other than that, it feels good and I have a great QB to help me out throughout the season to achieve this goal.”

Ben Smith: (on his interception): “I just kind of read it. It was the same play they ran and scored on us. So I kind of expected it, once I saw that tight end release. So I just kind of bit over and the ball came my way.”

(When asked if it was his first offensive touchdown) “It’s actually my second offensive touchdown. I played tight end my freshman year. I got a catch and ran it in against Otto-Eldred in the playoffs. It was pretty fun.”

Mitch Knepp: “Just doing your job on defense and good things will happen. Following the scheme our coaches have for us.”

(On coming back after previous week’s loss) “It feels amazing. As much as it pains me to say, sometimes you need to get humbled in sports. In the long run I think it will help us, because we came in tonight a lot more focused than we were last week, against a lot better of a team. It’s a learning experience, as much as it hurts”

Assistant Coach Dave Eggleton: “I thought offensively we came out with some fire tonight. We got our outside running game going really well and we were able to throw the ball well. Cal and Ethan… Ethan ran good routes; Cal put the ball on the money.

“The guy that really impressed me tonight on offense was Cutter Boggess. Oh, my goodness. He ran the ball hard tonight, breaking tackles and making plays.

“I’m really happy with where we’re at right now. I think we’re just going to keep getting better. And we’ve got to keep getting better, to get where we want to be at the end of the season.”

The Bobcats will visit Brockway on Friday (October 18th).

(Thanks to Nate McClaine for spotting, stats and photos, to Laura Burford for her photo and the Tri-County Sunday for stats also. Great Game, Cats!!!!)