Clarion U. Football Finally Captures Milk Jug with Win Over Slippery Rock

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CLARION, Pa. – Kevin Genevro capped a monster game with the go-ahead touchdown with 1:05 left in regulation, and the Clarion defense stood tall to punctuate a 27-23 win over Slippery Rock at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles (3-6, 2-4 PSAC West) claimed the Milk Jug trophy. It was the first time in six tries since the Milk Jug started being played for in the rivalry that it resides in Clarion.

The game featured the return of Connor Simmons to the quarterback spot after he missed the last three games due to injury, and the senior signal-caller immediately re-formed his connection with Genevro. Genevro went off with 11 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns, none bigger than the one that game late in the fourth quarter. After the defense halted The Rock on 4th-and-8 at the Clarion 37-yard line to take possession, the Golden Eagles went to work on driving the ball down the field. Facing a 3rd-nd-2 from the Slippery Rock 7-yard line and with 1:05 left to play, Simmons found Genevro diving towards the sideline to conclude the eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive that gave Clarion a 27-23 lead.

The Rock never gained any traction on the ensuing offensive drive, with Avery Howsare and Tyrone Archieblowing up the first play from scrimmage with a sack of Augustus Necastro. Now 4th-and-12, Kevin Allenstopped Drew Scales well short of the lead stick to lock up the important victory.

Simmons finished by completing 22 of 43 passes for 369 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. He became just the second player in program history to crack 60 career touchdown passes, with the game-winner to Genevro marking the 61st tally of his career, as well as the second player to break 7,000 passing yards in a career.

Genevro wasn’t the only receiver to have a big day. Matt Lehman finished with four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, giving him 24 career receiving scores. With one more, he’ll tie Terry McFetridge for the program record. He also surpassed Pierre Odom for fourth place in program history in career reception yards, with 2,342 yards in his career.

The Rock struck first on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Necastro to McNally, but the Golden Eagles responded immediately. With 6:43 left in the first quarter Simmons led the team on an eight-play, 91-yard drive that started with a 36-yard strike to Genevro. Genevro got the Golden Eagles down to the 22-yard line with a 15-yard grab and Simmons found Lehman on the next play to tie the score.

A fortunate bounce saved the Golden Eagles late in the second quarter, and they took advantage of it by following it with a score. Simmons was intercepted on a 1st-and-10 pass from the Rock 32-yard line, but Kyle Hall was whistled for pass interference to give the Golden Eagles 15 yards and a clean slate. Three plays later Simmons completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Greg Leonard to put Clarion ahead 14-7. The Rock responded with a touchdown drive on the next possession, and the teams remained tied entering halftime as Sam Fareri defused a Rock drive with an interception in the endzone with 36 clicks left in the half.

Slippery Rock struck with a touchdown to open the third quarter, but a key play by Saif Khan paid dividends later. Khan blocked Jake Chapla’s extra point attempt to make it just a 20-14 score, and that point played a key part later in the game in that it permitted Clarion to take the lead later in the quarter. Simmons fired to Genevro with 4:22 left in the quarter and Phil Esposito booted the point after to make it 21-20. The Rock booted a field goal on the first drive of the fourth quarter to go ahead 23-21, but Genevro’s heroics put Clarion on top for good.

All the while, the Clarion defense stood tall all game long, especially in the red zone. Slippery Rock finished with 445 total offensive yards but was just 3-of-5 inside the Golden Eagle 20-yard line. Layne Skundrich and Brandon Vocco each recorded 10 tackles, with Vocco adding a half-sack, while Archie had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack.


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