CUP Weekend Sports Roundup: Football Holds Spring Game

Clemens
CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion University football team held it’s annual spring game Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, giving the CU faithful their first glimpse of what the 2017 Golden Eagles will look like when they take the gridiron in the fall.

(Photo: Jeff Clemens. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

The game was organized into four separate scenarios meant to highlight the different units on the Golden Eagles squad.

Scenario one was a series of small squad battles that featured one-on-ones between offensive and defensive lines as well as a seven-on-seven battle pitting wide outs and defensive backs against each other. Scenario two featured full squad offense vs. defense inside the 35 yard-line, while scenario three simulated a drive that started outside the 35. The final scenario was a pair of offensive drives that started at the offense’s own 10-yard line.

OFFENSE:

– Quarterbacks: Probably the biggest story going into Saturday was at the QB position. With Connor Simmons graduated, the job is most likely to fall to one of the QB’s featured in Saturday’s practice, redshirt sophomore Jeff Clemens or true sophomore Deandre Clayton. Both bring pedigree, however stylistically Clemens is more of a traditional drop-back passer, while Clayton has dual-threat capability and can easily make plays with his legs.

Fans in attendance got a chance to see those contrasting styles action on the three drives.

Clemens, who saw action in much of last season, delivered a perfect 12-yard strike over the middle to wideout Marcus McCoy for a touchdown to end one drive and remained comfortable and poised throughout the day.

Clayton demonstrated some elite escape-ability, several times evading pressure in the pocket to get off throws and avoid the sack. He also connected on a number of deep balls down field that went for huge chunks of yardage.

– Wideouts: Kyle Evans and McCoy looked more than eager to step up and fill the holes left by Kevin Genevro and Matt Lehman at WR.

Evans showcased speed and deception as both a runner and pass-catcher, especially between the tackles, breaking off a number of big gains and making a few defenders miss with his moves inside.

The 6-foot-3 McCoy displayed some soft hands hauling in the touchdown catch from Clemens in the first series and gave fans a look at his athleticism and hops, coming down with the rock on a number of jump balls.

– Running backs: Clarion’s backfield will also have a new look this year as well. While Evans will probably get looks out of the backfield and in the slot, Scott Florence and Devin Clarke could emerge as horses pounding the rock. Clarke was particularly impressive, busting off a couple huge runs around the outside and making cuts to keep the play alive. Both offensive units ran lots of play action and play-fake options on their various drives.

– Offensive line: While Clarion’s offensive line returns a lot of familiar faces, there is one new addition that most CU fans already know: former Golden Eagle wrestler Evan Daley. The former heavyweight 285-pounder is out of eligibility on the mat, however since he still has one more semester of school left he was able to walk on to the football team. Although he hasn’t played football in nearly five years, Weibel is still excited to see what someone with Daley’s size and strength can bring to the left guard position and what he can add to an already veteran core in the trenches.

DEFENSE:

Secondary: Probably the most impressive unit as a whole on the afternoon. Clarion has the luxury of returning nearly every major player in the defensive backfield from a year ago and that experience shone through in a big way. The CU secondary was smother all afternoon providing tight coverage and making aggressive plays on the ball when targeted. Saftey Colton McKay and defensive back Hakeim McKenzie both recorded interceptions on the afternoon, while Quinlin Lambert and Myles Edmonds broke up a number of big passing plays with some aggressive defense of their own.

Linebackers: Powerful and positionally sound, that’s the best way to describe the line-backing core on display Saturday. Rising junior Layne Skundrich stepped up and made a number of crushing tackles, including a few for loss in the Clarion backfield. As a whole, the unit was aggressive, pressuring the quarterback when an opening appeared, as well as making a number of nice plays on the ball to deflect passes. Jacob Craig will not be an easy replacement to make for the CU defense this year, however, Clarion’s linebacking core is an interesting blend of youth and could very likely be a spot where new stars emerge in 2017.

Defensive line: Some of Clarion’s younger defensive lineman stepped up and made an impression on the field Saturday, a good sign for the Golden Eagles defense moving forward. Dante Paul had a near-interception breaking up a pass from Clayton, while Will Baird junior college transfer Alec Heldreth stepped up and filled in holes all afternoon, making important stops and not letting the ball carrier escape.

BASEBALL SWEPT SUNDAY BY SETON HILL

GREENSBURG, Pa. – The Clarion University baseball team dropped both decisions in a Sunday afternoon twin bill against the Seton Hill Griffins, dropping game one by a score of 19-3 and game two 8-0. The losses drop the Golden Eagles to 11-30 (4-20 PSAC) on the season. The Blue and Gold will return to action on Tuesday when they host Lake Erie College for a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader at Memorial Stadium.

Seton Hill opened up the game in dramatic fashion, smacking five hits for five runs to open up a sizable gap on the Golden Eagles, and initially, the game had all the makings of another high-scoring barn-burner. Clarion answered back immediately in the bottom of the first. Mitch Holmberg scored on a SAC fly to right field to cut the deficit to 5-1 shortly before a Dillon Wolbert single drove in Joe Lopez from third to make it 5-2.

Seton Hill would answer back with four more runs in the second to blow things wide open. CU added one more run in the bottom of the second, however, Seton Hill’s bats were simply too much to contain, as the Griffins ended things on a high note, 19-3.

Game two featured some more nice work from the SHU bats, as well as a commanding performance from Griffin pitcher Don McWreath. McWreath tossed a complete-game shutout, giving up just four hits and a walk while striking out five to stifle the Clarion offense.

John Finke enjoyed a strong outing on the bump as well, scattering four hits over 4.2 innings for two earned runs.

Seton Hill managed it’s first run after a high throw down to second base allowed CF Craig Lewis to score and put the Griffins ahead 1-0. It was a war of attrition after that, as SHU added a run in the fourth as well as a pair of runs in the fifth, sixth and, seventh to close things out 8-0.

WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD

The Clarion University track & field team took part in the annual Paul Kaiser Classic at Shippensburg University Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles will wrap up the 2017 season beginning on May 4th when they head to Bloomsburg for the PSAC Championships.

Tatiana Cloud provided one of the most memorable highlights of the afternoon for the Blue and Gold, running an impressive 1:01.61 to earn a first overall finish as well as a provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA National Championships, putting her 30th overall on the national list.

The 4×400 relay team of Cloud, Courtney Corban, Letizia Collini, and Danni Tarr also enjoyed a historic afternoon, breaking the Clarion program record by two seconds with a final time of 3:53.67, good enough to finish second overall in the event.

Collini also earned a PSAC qualifying mark in the 400 meter, finishing fifth overall with a final time of 59.86 to lead al CU runners. Tarr finished not far off, coming in seventh with a final time of 1:00.33, while Nicole Young rounded out the top-ten overall for the Blue and Gold with a final time of 1:00.71, both coming within .5 seconds of a PSAC qualifying mark.

Rikki Brumbaugh and Breanna Leidy kept the momentum going as the meet progressed, taking 17th and 22nd overall in the 800 with times of 2:27.34 and 2:31.01, respectively.

In the distance events, Taylor Donia earned a 6th overall finish in the 5,000 meter with a mark of 19:23.01, while Hayley Redmond finished third in the 10,000, crossing the line in 44:11.97. The 4×100 relay team of Corban, Young, Jess Shomo, and Amanda Batey took 4th overall with a final mark of 49:10.

In the field events, Lauryn Greggs took ninth in the javelin while Katie Helwig took 11th in the pole vault, jumping a final height of 3.0 meters. Shomo took 19th in the long jump, leaping an incredible 5.03 meters.

Kari Steuer secured a 6th-place finish in the shot put courtesy of a 13.12-meter toss, while Krista Mosi and Summer Murray finished neck and neck in the discus, taking the 15th and 16th overall spots. Katie Brest took ninth in the hammer throw with a distance of 38.72 meters, while Abby Gluvna took eighth in the javelin at 36.40 meters.


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