Clarion University Football 5-0 After 41-27 Win Over Mercyhurst on Saturday

weibel_Simmons_icsCLARION, Pa. – Clarion qb Connor Simmons passed for 431 yards and 3 td’s and receiver Matt Lehman grabbed 8 passes for 90 yards and 1 td as the Golden Eagles marched to a 41-27 win over Mercyhurst on Saturday afternoon in a key PSAC-West game at Memorial Stadium.

(Photo: Coach Chris Weibel & QB Connor Simmons Discussing Strategy.)

Clarion is now 5-0 to start the season for the first time since 1983.

Also Clarion’s Homecoming Day Game and part of ALF week, Clarion first year head coach Chris Weibel’s team is now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the PSAC-Western Division and Mercyhurst dropped to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the West.

Simmons, whose 431 passing yards is the third most in a single game in Clarion history, collected his second 400+ passing yard game so far this season.

Clarion took the opening kickoff and marched 75-yards in only 6 plays to hit paydirt. Simmons hit Lehman on passes of 13 and 7 yards, and Delrece Williams rushed for 18 to the Laker 37. A 5-yard pass to Kyle Evans and a 20-yarder to Gage Clark put the ball on the Laker 12. On first down Simmons dropped back and waited for Delrece Williams to clear the coverage and dropped off a pass to Williams underneath and he went 12-yards for the td. Phil Esposito’s PAT was good and Clarion led 7-0 at 12:18 of the first quarter.

Mercyhurst QB Brendan Boylan fumbled the snap on Mercyhurt’s first play from scrimmage and Kwame Bell was right there to recover the fumble at the Laker 31. Simmons hit Kevin Genevro for 11 and Williams rushed for 5 to the Mercyhurst 15, but the drive stalled and Phil Esposito came on to boot a 30-yard field goal and Clarion led 10-0 at 10:14 of the first.

Mercyhurst came right back and drove 47-yards to paydirt, scoring on a pass from Boylan to John Matarazzo covering 21 yards at 7:44, cutting Clairon’s lead to 10-7.

Clarion started a drive at its own 26 late in the first quarter, when Simmons hit Kyle Evans for 20 to the Clarion 46. A Mercyhurst personal foul put the eagles at the visitors 41, and Simmons hit Genevro on a 41-yard td pass at 1:31 of the first for a 17-7 lead.

Mercyhurst went 65-yards in 9 plays and scored again on a Boylan to T.J. Latimer 1-yard td pass at 12:09 of the second. Mercyhurst trailed 17-14.

Clarion took the kickoff and again marched 65-yards to score. Simmons to Clark for 29 yards opened the drive, while three completions to Lehman put the ball on the Laker 19. On third and 4 at the Mercyhurst 8, Simmons dropped back to pass, and with all of his receivers covered, sprinted out to the right and turned up field and dove into the endzone for an 8-yard td run. Clarion led 24-14 at halftime.

Mercyhurst opened the second half with a 75-yard, 16-play scoring drive. The td came on a Boylan to FJ Williams pass for 2 yards at 6:14 of the third quarter making the score Clarion 24 Mercyhurst 21.

Clarion answered the call, scoring again on its next possession. Simmons opened the drive with a 46-yard completion on a post-pattern to Jaron Moorer to the Mercyhurst 39. On third and 10 at the 39, Simmons lofted a perfect over-the-shoulder pass to Mark Nicholas who took the pigskin to the Laker 6. On third at the 1, Simmons scored on a qb sneak to give Clarion a 31-21 lead at 3:44 of the third.

After Mercyhurst turned the ball over on downs at its own 41, Clarion scored the clincher on a 15-yard scoring pass from Simmons to Matt Lehman. Esposito’s PAT made it 38-21 at 10:30 of the fourth.

The Eagles from their own 14 to the Laker 18 late in the fourth and Esposito came on to boot a 35-yard field goal at 2:41 to make it a 41-21 lead.

Mercyhurst scored on a FJ Williams 26-yard catch from Zach Emerick with 4 seconds remaining. Kwame Bell blocked the Pat and Clarion won 41-27.

Clarion totaled 482 yards of offense including 431 passing and 51 rushing.

Simmons hit on 26 of 33 passes for 431 yards and 3 td’s, plus rushed for 9 yards and 2 td’s. Hit 431 passing yards are the third most in a single game in Clarion history. Craig Ray passed for 473 vs West Chester in 1994 and Mike Carter passed for 472 against Ferris State in 1989. Simmons opened the season with 407 passing yards against Lock Haven, which is now the 6th most in a single game.

Matt Lehman had 8 catches for 90 yards and 1 td, giving him 10 td reception on the year. Kevin Genevro posted 4 grabs for 103 yards and 1 td, and Gage Clark had 2 grabs for 49 yards.

Delrece Williams rushed for 56 yards on 16 carries, plus caught 3 aerials for 31 yards and 1 td.

The Clarion defense was led today by Chris Liberto who had 11 tackles and 1 tfl, Adam Lynch with 9 hits and 2 break-ups, and Kwame Bell with 9 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery and a blocked PAT.

Mercyhurst finished with 314 yards of offense with 103 rushing and 211 passing. Boylan hit on 21 of 32 passes for 141 yards and 3 td’s. T. J. Latimer caught 8 passes for 38 yards and 1 td, while FJ Williams had 5 catches for 37 yards and 2 td’s.

Brandon Brown-Dukes had 12 carries for 100 yards.

Clarion is back on the road next Saturday as the Golden Eagles travel to Edinboro for a 2pm kickoff.

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