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Wildcats Down Chucks In Regular Season Finale (Posted 10/19/20)

(Above photo) Wildcats’ defense sets up against the Chucks’ offense

The Central Clarion traveled to Punxsutawney on Friday (October 16th) for the Chucks’ Senior Night game and came away with a 49-14 victory in the last regular season game in the Wildcats’ inaugural season.

Neither team scored on their opening possession.

Then the Central defense came up big, during the Chucks’ next possession, which started with an interception by Kameron Falgout, in the endzone for a touchback. With Punxy facing a second and nine from their own twenty-one, Hunter Craddock and Kyle Bottaro combined on a sack, moving the ball back to the eight. On the very next play, Cutter Boggess wrapped the quarterback up, stopping him at the four, with Craddock helping with the sack.

The Chucks were now forced to punt from their endzone and with major pressure coming from Craddock, the ball careened off a Punxy player and fell to the ground at the one yard line and was recovered by Central’s Brandon Beish.

On the Cats’ first play from scrimmage, Boggess followed a great line surge, through the middle, for the game’s first score. Beau Verdill’s point after was good, giving Central a 7-0 lead with 4:32 left in the first.

Punxy’s next drive stalled and there was a high snap on the punt. The punter covered the ball at his own fifteen, where the Wildcats took over, with 2:13 left in the quarter.

Breckin Rex, following his blockers, had a nice run down the right side to the five yard line. Cal German rolled out and hit Noah Naser along the right sideline, advancing the ball to the two. Two plays later, Boggess ran took it through the middle for a one yard score. Verdill tacked on the extra point and Central led 14-0, with fifty-one seconds left in the quarter.

Central held Punxy once again. And on the first play from scrimmage, at their own thirty, German hit Boggess on a swing pass to the right, which Boggess advanced to the Punxsutawney twenty-six. Two plays later German rolled to the right and found a leaping Ethan Burford in the middle, front of the endzone, from twenty-three yards out. Verdill’s kick was good, giving the Cats a 21-0 lead, with 6:23 left in the half.

The score would remain the same until the third quarter.

On the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage at their own thirty-seven, after receiving the second half kickoff, Rex took a handoff and raced down the right sideline to the Chucks’ thirty-two. And on second and two, from the Punxy thirty-one. German hit Burford, who was behind the coverage, over the middle in the endzone. Verdill’s kick moved the Cats’ lead to 28-0, at 10:42.

Central used some trickery, with an on-side kick from Verdill, which in a rarity, he recovered the ball himself, at the Punxy forty-seven. This had to be a week for Verdill to remember, as he also had a game winning overtime goal for the Clarion-Limestone Lions’ Soccer Team, against Brookville, a day earlier.

The Cats marched down the field. And on third and goal from the five, German rolled to the left side line and cut back toward the middle of the field, where he found Burford in the back of the endzone, for their third touchdown hook-up of the night, at 7:09 of the third. Verdill made it 35-0, with the point after.

Christian Simko recovered a fumble at the Punxsutawney thirty-three yard line, on the ensuing kickoff.

On the first play from scrimmage, Bottaro took a handoff around left end for the score. Verdill was successful again, giving the Cats a 42-0 lead with 6:36 left in the quarter.

Central held Punxy on their next possession, with Dawson Smail recovering a mishandled snap, at the Chucks’ twenty-eight.

German picked up a first down, on a third and thirteen from the forty-two, on a run down the right sideline to the thirteen.

Several plays later, just into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats facing fourth and goal at the four, set up for a field goal. The snap was low, the holder, Simko alertly picked it the ball up. He dropped back, looking for a receiver. But a Chucks’ defender broke through. Simko avoided him, ran to the left sideline and into the endzone. Verdill was accurate again and the Cats’ led 49-0 with 11:05 left in the game.

Punxy would score two touchdowns with the game winding down.

Punxsutawney Seniors and their parents during Senior Night recognition

The Chucks’ first score came on a one yard run up the middle by Zeke Bennett, with 6:50 left. Peyton Hetrick’s point after was successful, making the score 49-7, Wildcats.

The last touchdown of the night came with Punxy facing a second and goal from the nine, with quarterback Falgout, a fine athlete, faking a handoff to the right, then rolling left and finding a sliding Alex Phillips who kept his feet in-bounds on the left side of the endzone, with thirteen seconds left. A really nice looking play. Bennett was good on the kick to set the final at 49-14.

The Wildcats will now enter the District Nine Class-AA Playoffs. They will host Karns City this Friday (October 23rd), at Memorial Stadium.

This is the 22nd season (21st since 1995) that a Larry Wiser coached team has made the playoffs, including the last twelve in a row. (The Bobcats also made the playoffs in 2011, the season Judd Allen was the head coach.)

Some key Wildcats’ stats:

Cal German – 13 completions in 19 attempts, 193 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception; Ethan Burford – 5 catches for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns; Breckin Rex – 8 carries for 73 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 catch for 8 yards; Cutter Boggess – 4 catches for 91 yards, two rushing touchdowns, 6 tackles (3 solo), 1 hurry (Cutter went over 500 receiving yards for the season and now stands at 516.);Christian Simko – 1 touchdown; Kyle Bottarro – 2 carries for 31 yards and 1 touchdown, 9 tackles (7 solo), 1 sack, 1 fumble caused; Beau Verdill – 7-for-7 on PATs and the onside kick recovery; Kaoz Baker – 7 tackles (5 solo), 2 hurries, 1 fumble caused, 1 fumble recovery; Dawson Smail – 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 fumble recovery; Branden Beish – 1 recovery of a *punt block.

CAT QUOTES

Coach Wiser

Dawson got at least two turnovers, the one on the punt and the one he pulled out there. He’s coming along each week, the little things he improves on. I’m very pleased defensively. I thought after as many points as we gave up last week.

Dave (Eggleton) did a nice job going in to the second half last week. But our kids came out this week; I was glad to see how we shut down the run. We’ve been a little succeptable to that. I’ve been real pleased with the secondary. And getting Kyle Bottaro back, and putting him in at linebacker obviously helps us a lot right there, too.

But overall, I thought the defense responded with their game plan and did a really good job.

Kaoz Baker is one of the best defensive linemen in the league, if not the best. And we went up against one of the best offensive linemen in the league, that number 74 (Brandon Ishman). He’s a good kid.

(Punxy quarterback Kameron Falgout) is doing a nice job. Coach Nichols will bring this program back. He’s been a good coach over the years.

It’s kind of interesting that you played the team once and then turn around for a second time. It’s not a playoff situation, but it’s kind of interesting to change around some of the things you did from the first game to the second game.

We obviously learned some things from that first game. We got to go back and really tear that first game apart. I thought it was good for the kids to go back and look at it, to see how far they’ve come offensively and defensively.

And special teams wise, we spent last night looking at Punxy’s first game with us.

I’m pleased. I’m pleased. Excited to go to the playoffs.

I want to make sure I give a lot of credit to my assistant coach, Dave Louder. I’ve got a heck of a staff. Dave Louder did a great job getting his secondary prepped. All of the guys get in and they get involved in the game plan, looking at different things, suggesting things.

We really came out in a new defensive game plan, I’ve never used. I want to thank all these guys for their contributions into it this week.

(Good Work, Wildcats!!!! Go Get ‘Em In The Playoffs!!!!)