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Football Boosters Recognize 2019 Bobcats At Annual Awards Banquet (11/26/19)

(Above photo) Bobcat players and others gathered at the banquet

The Clarion Area Football Boosters recognized the 2019 Bobcats, at the Annual Awards Banquet, on Sunday, November 24th, at the social hall at Trinity Point Church of God.

The Bobcats were recognized for their fine 10-2 season, in which they finished in second place in the District Nine League Large School Division at 8-1 and also finished second in District Nine Class-AA.

The Cats scored over 40 points in eight games, with three of those over sixty. They had 517 points for and only 212 against.

(Photo courtesy of Kim Cherico) All-Conference players (L-R): Mitch Knepp, Ethan Burford, Cutter Boggess, Ben Smith, Austin Newcomb and Cal German

After a brief welcome to all in attendance, special recognition was given to many individuals who helped make this season a success. Then coach Camron Kirkland was brought to the mike to offer the invocation and the blessing. Then everyone enjoyed the fine meal provided by the Culinary Arts students at the Clarion County Career Center, instructor Randy Shook and Mrs. H.

The Awards Program began after the meal, with North Clarion Athletic Director Bonnie Wolbert leading the gathering in singing the National Anthem.

Pins and Letters were presented by coaches Lee Weber and Dave Eggleton, followed by the presentation of the Team Awards by the coaching staff.

Coach Wiser

Equipment manager Kevin Slike and head coach Larry Wiser presented the Team Captain Awards to Austin Newcomb, Ben Smith, Mitch Knepp and Calvin German. The Captains then recognized various individuals, businesses and organizations, thanking them for their support of the football program.

The first award presented was the Jerry “Joe” Staley Memorial – Oustanding Senior Award. Coach Doug Knepp, straining to keep his composure, had the pleasure of presenting the award to his son Mitch.

Coach Knepp

Coach Dave Louder presented the Brad S. Leonard – Outstanding Junior Award, which was shared by Cutter Boggess and Cal German. Next was the Garry Ross Lawrence – Outstanding Sophomore Award, that went to Christian Simko.

Coach Eggleton presented Austin Newcomb with the Offensive MVP Award. The Defensive MVP Award was presented to Ben Smith by coach Wiser. The Special Teams MVP went to Beau Verdill and was presented by coach Weber.

Coaches Eggleton and Weber

Coach Knepp took the podium once again and presented the Alex Arth “Hogmeister” – Outstanding Lineman Award to Ben Smith. Tim Burchwell was presented the Blaine Breniman Courage Award by coach Wiser.

A number of players were presented certificates for being named All-Conference in the District Nine League Large School Division.

Ben Smith was named to the Offensive Line and was recognized as the Offensive Lineman of the Year. Austin Newcomb was named at Running Back and Safety and was Co-Offensive MVP.

Mitch Knepp was selected as an Offensive Lineman and as a Defensive Lineman/Defensive End. Ethan Burford was named at Wide Receiver/Slot. Cutter Boggess was named at Linebacker and Cal German was selected at Quarterback.

Coaches Knepp and Louder, (next table back – clockwise) longtime, sports reporter Steve Smail (in red), Mrs. Knepp and coach Knepp, coach Kirkland, Mrs. Weber and coach Weber

The Captains handed out various gifts for the coaches and others, then Coach Wiser and Kevin Slike presented prizes to the auction winners and the players.

Coach Wiser and coach Eggleton shared some closing thoughts on the team and the season, a big theme being the way this team came together as one this year, with the Clarion-Limestone joining in the co-op with Clarion Area and North Clarion.

Coach Wiser mentioned the need for the community getting behind this fine venture, stating that with the enrollments at the three schools this is the only way to safely field a team. This co-op has been a dream of Coach Wiser for many years. He also mentioned how much he enjoyed working with this year’s staff and thanked all the wives for the sacrifices they made during the season.

Yours truly recognized various players for some of their achievements this season:

Austin Newcomb who set the District Nine single season rushing record, with 2,627 yards, last year as a Clarion-Limestone Lion. With that total combined with his 1,276 yards this season and 327 yards as a sophomore, Austin moved in to ninth place all-time in career yards in the district, according to available data at 4,230.

Cal German set two Bobcat team records, single season passing yards – 2,349 and single season touchdowns, at 32. Cal moved into second place in team standings in career passing yards, at 2,672, career touchdown passes, with 39 and single season completions, at 98.

Ethan Burford set two team receiving records, with 23 career touchdown catches and 17 touchdown catches in a season. Ethan’s 1,179 receiving yards this season places him second on the single season list and with 1,468 in his career, thus far, he sits in third place in that category.

Some of those with outstanding stats on defense were: Cutter Boggess with 84 tackles; Ben Smith with 77 tackles (10 tackles for loss) and two interceptions; Koaz Baker with 66 tackles (13 tackles for loss); Hunter Craddock with 65 tackles (17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks; Mitch Knepp with 57 tackles (13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks); Austin Newcomb with 56 tackles and 3 interceptions; and Tyler Schmader with 45 tackles.

(Congratulations to this year’s team on a fine season. And a big shout-out to the Football Boosters on the fine banquet!!!!)