Three QB Rotation; Strong Defense Helps Clarion Beat Winless Lincoln; KC Grad Kelsea With First TD


CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Riding a strong defensive effort, Clarion University overcame having to use three quarterbacks to hand visiting Lincoln (Pa.) its 21st straight loss, 44-7, Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

(Photo of Maverick Kelsea, a Karns City grad, celebrating after his first career TD Saturday in Clarion’s win over winless Lincoln. Phot courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

Despite allowing Lincoln its first points of the season – the Lions came into the game being outscored 87-0, Clarion’s defense held the visitors to 129 totals yards of offense including negative six on the ground and five first downs. Seven of the Lions drives ended with negative yardage.

As such, it turned out to be a big day for the defensive line. Alec Heldreth finished with 10 tackles, two for loss, a sack and three quarterback hurries, while defensive linemate Saif Khan had eight stops, three TFLs and 1.5 sacks. Paul Blendinger, Trent Rogers and Corey Wells all added interceptions to give Clarion (2-1), which has won two straight for the first time since the 2016 season, nine picks in the last two games.

While Clarion’s defense was stellar all day, it took the Golden Eagles offense a bit to get going, and Clarion ended up using three different quarterbacks on the day.

Last week’s hero, Jovante Seard, who replaced Jeff Clement at halftime in Clarion’s win over Lock Haven, shared time in the first half with freshman Tanner Jones and then Clement came out in the second half as the QB.

Seard was decent going 12 of 24 for 169 yards and three touchdowns, while Clement was better this week than last at least not turning the ball over. He was 8 of 10 for 74 yards and a touchdown. Jones, a freshman from Alexandria, Va., threw just one pass, an incompletion, on the day.

Eleven different receivers caught balls for Clarion paced by five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown by Marcus McCoy, while Khalil Webster and had four catches for a team-best 49 yards. AZ Britt (1 catch, 41 yards), Maverick Kelsea from Karns City (1 catch, 21 yards) and Dervonn Holton (2 catches, 32 yards) also had receiving scores.

On the ground, Clarion used eight different runners paced by Scott Florence’s eight carries for 52 yards with Keanu Young chipping in four carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. Offensive lineman Zack Morris also got a late 1-yard touchdown run when the game was out of hand.

It took a while for the Golden Eagle offense to rev up with Clarion first scoring with 3:50 left in the first quarter.

A pass interference call on third-and-7 gave the Golden Eagles fresh life and put them on the Lincoln 25-yard line, and one play later Seard lobbed a 25-yard pass into the back of the end zone for Holton for the score. The Lions blocked the point-after attempt to keep the score at 6-0.

Seard struck again in the second quarter, again from 25 yards out.

Facing second-and-10, he found McCoy for the latter’s third touchdown of the season, and James Metzgar’s extra point put Clarion ahead 13-0. That would end up being the decider as the defense made it stand the rest of the game, allowing just one touchdown – a 42-yard bomb from Victor Espinoza to Dashawn Brice in the third quarter.

The Golden Eagles had one more score in mind before the halftime break, and Wells made sure they had their shot. He pulled down an errant Zach Green pass at Lincoln 41-yard line with 3:09 remaining in the second quarter, and Seard finished it from there, hitting Britt in the end zone in just one play to make it 20-0 after two quarters of action.

In the third quarter, Clemens connected from 21 yards out with Kelsea to give the local product his first touchdown of his career.

Clarion starts PSAC West play at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, when it hosts Gannon.


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