Wildcats Down Warriors On Senior Night/Clarion Area Homecoming Night

Above image courtesy of Nate Girvan: Ashton Rex with the catch for the Single Season Receiving Yardage Record for the Central Clarion Wildcats!

The Central Clarion Wildcats celebrated Senior Night and Clarion Area Homecoming on Friday night (October 7th) with a victory 46-14 victory over the Moniteau Warriors at Memorial Stadium. With the win the Wildcats are now 7-0 on the season.

Prior to the contest, senior members of the football team, marching band and cheerleaders were recognized along with their parents. The Wildcat players recognized were, John Burke, Dawson Hotchkiss, Ryan Hummell, Connor Kopnitsky and Ashton Rex.

The Wildcats opened the scoring when quarterback Jase Ferguson hit Tommy Smith with a fifteen yard touchdown pass with 1:31 left in the first quarter. Thomas Uckert was successful on the point after and Central Clarion led 7-0. The touchdown was set up several plays earlier, when Ferguson hit Rex with a long pass, that gave Rex the Wildcats record for single season reception yardage.

Central moved their lead to 13-0, on a one yard run up the middle with 6:12 left in the second quarter. The PAT was blocked. Neither team would score for the rest of the half.

Homecoming Crowning took place at halftime, with Bri Pierce being crowned as Queen and Bailee Verdill being selected as King.

2022 Clarion Area Homecoming Queen Bri Pierce and King Bailee Verdill
Image by Mindi Verdill: Back (L-R)Tyler Bingham, Will Clark, Bailee Verdill, Reece Geiger, Gary Matus Front (L-R) Adia Needham, Maddie Watterson, Bri Pierce, Anna Gribik, Abby Frederick.

Then talk about coming out on fire. The Wildcats had a scoring outburst, to start the second half, that had to be seen to be believed.

In the space of the first two minutes and twenty-one seconds of the quarter, Central took a 13-0 score and turned it into 39-0, setting the Mercy Rule Clock in to play.

Rex opened the second half by taking the kickoff down the left sideline for a seventy-four yard touchdown. Uckert’s kick was good and with 11:47 on the clock the lead was now 19-0.

It was Rex again, with a thirty-one yard interception return, at the 11:00 mark. Uckert was successful on the point after, giving the Wildcats a 26-0 lead.

A fumble recovery by the Central defense, one of four on the night, at the Moniteau twenty-two set up the next touchdown a couple plays later. Ferguson hit Dawson Smail in stride, in the right front corner of the endzone for an eight yard touchdown at 10:18 and with Uckert’s kick, the score was now 33-0.

Then, Rex recovered a fumble at the Moniteau thirty-two. And on the first play from scrimmage, Ferguson hit Rex in stride on the right side of the endzone, giving the Wildcats a 39-0 edge, at 9:29.

Ferguson and Rex would hook up on a sixteen yard strike with 3:30 left in the third. Uckert’s kick was good, moving the lead to 46-0.

Moniteau would score twice in the fourth quarter, Trent Beachem on a one yard run at 10:36, and a six yard run by Hunter Stalker at 2:38 (the two-point conversion failed). Beachem ran for the two-point conversion and the final was set at 46-14.  

The Wildcats outgained the Warriors 312 yards (202 passing, 110 yards rushing) to 220 yards (207 yards rushing, 13 passing).

Ferguson was 10-of-20 for 202 Yards and 4 touchdowns, with an interception. He reached some milestones on the night also, going over 1,500 yards on the season (now 1581) and 3,000 career yards (now 3,201). He has 21 touchdowns, one shy of Cal German’s Wildcats’ single season mark. He also had 5 carries for 32 yards.

Rex had 3 catches for 93 yards. He now has 7 touchdowns on the year, three behind the Wildcats’ single season mark of 10, shared by Ethan Burford and Christian Simko.

Kopnitsky had 9 carries for 40 yards. Smail had 3 catches for 64 yards and Smith had 2 catches for 42 yards.

Stalker had 24 carries for 117 yards and Matt Martino had 12 carries for 60 yards, for the Warriors.

About the big turn around, Wildcats Coach Davey Eggleton said, “We came out a little slow in the first half, just some miscues. And we give Moniteau credit. They made some plays and we didn’t. I thought we easily could have had another two touchdowns that first half, if it wasn’t for maybe a dropped ball, a missed throw, a missed block here or there.

“But, we really responded the second half. I don’t think I’ve been a part of a game that really turned that quick. We scored four touchdowns, I looked back and there was still nine and a half minutes left in the third quarter, in the matter of two and a half minutes.

“Ashton tonight was just phenomenal. On all facets, kick return, interception return and then a couple big catches as well. Just a fantastic night for him.

“And I’m proud of the way the guys responded at halftime. Obviously, we were disappointed with how we played. And there’s two ways to respond. They could have came out and put their heads down and kept playing that way, or you come out and you dig your heels in the ground and you start digging out of that hole. I thought we were down, just because we felt like we were down, because of the way we played.

“I’m just proud of the way we responded to that adversity.”

About his quarterback, “Again, tonight I thought Jase made some really great plays, extending plays, finding open guys.

On the team’s play in general, “Defensively, I thought we bent a few times. But they’ve got some big backs that run hard.

“Overall though, the first defense pitched a shutout tonight. So I’m just happy with the effort all around, especially the way we responded in the second half.”

Coach Eggleton also had some great things to say about Rex’s night. “He got the single season record tonight. I forgot to give him the ball. I’ll have to give it to him in the locker room. Just a special accomplishment.

“The program in general is young but we’ve had some good receivers here. Just a great accomplishment for him to do it in just seven games. Just electric. He’s a big play waiting to happen all the time.

“He’s going to get all three receptions, yards, touchdowns. I have little doubt on that.”

The Wildcats will travel to DuBois next Friday (October 14th).

(Way To Go, Wildcats and Congratulations to Bri and Bailee!!!! Thanks to Mindi Verdill and Nate Girvan for their pics, and Steve Smail for the official stats!!)