Clarion U. Rally from 21 Down at Cal U. Falls Just Short

CALIFORNIA, Pa. – The Clarion football team scored 19 unanswered points in a wild second-half comeback attempt, but the Golden Eagles came up just inches short of forcing overtime in falling 21-19 to California (Pa.) on Saturday.

(Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

Clarion (1-6, 1-3 PSAC West) will host Senior Day at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21 against IUP.

The Golden Eagles very nearly battled all the way back from a 21-0 deficit, scoring three touchdowns against the Vulcans in the second half and almost forcing overtime as a result. However, the Vulcans were able to thwart each of the Golden Eagles’ final two extra-point attempts, edging out Clarion in the final seconds of action.

After going into the locker room at halftime trailing by three scores, Clarion came out hot in the second half. Bryson Craven returned a California punt 62 yards to the 10-yard-line early in the quarter but the Vulcans stuff Asiantii Woulard at the one-yard-line on 4th-and-Goal to escape with no damage. However, the defensive line stood tall on the ensuing possession, forcing a three-and-out and making the Vulcans punt deep in their own end zone.

With the drive starting on the California 39, it was a steady dose of Jeff Clemens passing and Kyle Evans rushing that moved the Golden Eagles into scoring position. With 1st-and-10 at the California 15, Evans gashed the Vulcans for seven yards to get inside the 10 and Mylique McGriff did the rest, rushing up the middle for his first career touchdown. James Metzgar’s extra point made it 21-7.

The defense continued to hold its ground in the second half, with the Vulcans only having a missed field goal attempt to show for their efforts entering the fourth quarter. Clarion forced another punt deep in California territory in the fourth quarter, giving them excellent starting field position but only 3:36 left to play. Clemens took his team 43 yards down the field in just two passes completed to Mason Standard, including a 19-yard score to give Standard his fifth receiving touchdown of the year. Metzgar’s point-after try was blocked, though, keeping the deficit at 21-13.

The Golden Eagles were not deterred, though, and forced one more California punt before taking over at their own 29-yard line with 2:02 left to go. After McGriff ripped off a 28-yard run on the first play of the drive to enter Vulcan territory, the drive stalled momentarily. Facing 4th-and-10, Clemens broke off a 13-yard run for the first down and also drew a personal foul from Nigel Garnett, giving Clarion a 1st-and-10 at the California 15-yard line. A pass interference call put Clarion at 1st-and-Goal at the 5 and Evans did the rest, scoring with 29 seconds remaining to make it 21-19. However, Clemens’ two-point attempt fell incomplete and the Vulcans held on for the win.

McGriff finished with 14 carries for a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown, the first 100-yard game of his career. The Golden Eagles finished with 205 yards on the ground, their best team total of the year. Defensively, Avery Howsare led the Golden Eagles with nine tackles and a forced fumble, while Sam Fareri scooped up the loose ball.

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