Wildcats Move To 6-0 With Thrilling Overtime Win Over Gremlins

All images by Nate Girvan: Above: Wildcat players signaling the winning touchdown

The Central Clarion Wildcats downed the visiting Karns City Gremlins, 26-20, in overtime in a key District Nine League contest at Memorial Stadium on Friday night (September 30th).

With the win, the Wildcats move to 6-0 and put some distance between them and the Gremlins in the race for the District Nine Class-AA seeding.

Central opened the scoring at 10:15 of the first quarter, with Ashton Rex hauling in a forty-seven yard touchdown pass from Jase Ferguson. Thomas Uckert’s point after was good and the Wildcats led 7-0.

Textbook tackle: Ryan Hummell also had a big night defensively.

Karns City tied it up at 6:50 of the quarter, with Levi Hawk taking it in from two yards out followed by Colson Ritzert’s successful kick.

The Wildcats went up 14-7 with 1:05 left in the second quarter on Ferguson’s one yard keeper up the middle and Uckert’s second PAT of the evening. The score held through the half.

The Gremlins Zach Kelly returned the second half kickoff ninety yards for six points. The kick was blocked, and the Wildcats lead was now 14-13.

Central scored again at 2:58 of the third, with Ferguson hitting Rex in the left side of the end zone from twenty-six yards out. The kick was blocked and Clarion held a 20-13 lead.

Karns City answered with a forty yard touchdown pass from Eric Booher to Nate Garing, with thirteen seconds left in the quarter. Ritzert’s extra point was good, knotting the score at 21-all.

Neither team scored in the fourth, to set up overtime.

Karns City had the first possession. But several plays in, Ferguson came up with a fumble recovery.

On third down and goal from the eight, Ryan Hummell took the handoff, to the right, and with some good footwork, took it between a couple of defenders for the touchdown and 26-20 victory.

Fantastic game on both teams’ part.

Wildcats rush the field to celebrate

The Wildcats ran well. Ferguson had 17 carries for 138 yards. Braylon Beckwith had 20 yards on 5 carries. Connor Kopnitsky carried 6 times for 38 yards. Hummell had 4 carries for 24 yards. Brady Quinn rushed for 17 yards on four carries.

Ferguson threw for 209 yards, completing 16 of 30 passes, with the 2 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Rex caught 7 passes for 108 yards. Dawson Smail had 46 yards on 4 catches. Brady Quinn caught 2 passes for fifteen yards. Three Wildcats had one catch: Hummell for 15 yards, Tommy Smith for 13 yards and Dawson Hotchkiss for twelve yards.

For Karns City: Booher was 6 of 16 passing for 137 yards and the touchdown, and ran for 36 yards on nine carries. Garing caught 4 passes for 106 yards.

On the fumble recovery in overtime, Coach Davey Eggleton said, “(Jase) was the one that popped up with it. I really couldn’t see. It was kind of on the other side of the field. And Jase popped up holding the ball. It was kind of like a confusion, waiting to see what the call was. I couldn’t see what happened.

“I thought we tackled, and he (the Karns City ballcarrier) was down and we were getting ready to play another snap.

“All the sudden he popped up with the ball and (the official) called it our way. Just a big play from those guys. I don’t know who stripped it.”

And about Hummell’s touchdown,. “Ryan’s been bugging me all season, ‘Coach put me in.’ And it just seemed that him in the backfield, the line just got an extra spark there. (They) just really wanted to move guys off. All five linemen, our tight end, our fullback just came off the ball that third down play and just blew guys off the ball, it looked like. The line wasn’t going to be stopped.”

“He (Ryan) had two hands on the ball, shoulders square, just took it in to the end zone. I don’t think anyone was going to stop him from getting it.”

And Coach Eggleton’s assessment of the game as a whole. “But over all tonight, a great effort. We made a lot of mistakes that we got to get fixed up, penalties and turnovers. But I thought, we hadn’t really played a full four quarters of football in a long time. So that was a good test for the guys to get to and see how they responded in that fourth quarter. I think we really showed good heart and good conditioning and responded. We were winning the battle up front there in the fourth quarter.

“We gave up three big plays, two big pass plays and the kick return. Other than that, we played really solid. Solid defense, other than the two big pass plays. We have to fix that kick coverage up. We get rid of those three big plays and it’s maybe not so close a game. We just have to fix those up and take care of the turnovers.

“Good to come out and fix mistakes with a win, rather than the other way around.”

The Wildcats are scheduled to host Moniteau this Friday (October 7th) at Memorial Stadium, for Senior Night and Clarion Area Homecoming. (SENIOR NIGHT and Clarion Area Homecoming).  

(Keep it going, Wildcats!!!! Thanks to Nate Girvan for his pics!!)