Golden Eagles Stay Perfect with 44-29 Win Over Seton Hill

rp_primary_williams_ics1[1]CLARION, Pa. – Clarion posted a record 676 yards of total offense, QB Connor Simmons passed for 432 and 4 td’s, Matt Lehman grabbed 7 passes for 159 and 1 td and Delrece Williams rushed for 201 yards and 1 td and 108 receiving yards and 1 td as the Golden Eagles rolled past Seton Hill 44-29 in a PSAC-Western Division game on Saturday afternoon.

Held at Memorial Stadium, Clarion raised its record to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the PSAC-West, while Seton Hill 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the West.

The two teams combined for 1,106 yards of offense.

Clarion, at 7-0, has matched its best start since 1983 when the Golden Eagles were 7-0 under former head coach Gene Sobolewski. Clarion went on to a 9-2 record, the Western Division title and a PSAC Championship game win over East Stroudsburg by a 27-14 score. In 1996 the Golden Eagles started 4-0 in the PSAC-West, won the PSAC-West title, and finished the season 11-3, losing in the NCAA semifinals with Chris Weibel at Quarterback – the same Chris Weibel who is in his first season as head coach of the 2015 Eagles.

“We were moving the ball in the first half, but we had to settle for field goals,” said coach Weibel. “We stayed patient and kept attacking and the scores eventually came. We showed really good patience on offense, and stood up on defense when we needed to. It was a pure team win today.”

A game that was produced for TV by Sportsfever, Clarion opened the game with the first possession, in a heavy snow squall, and drove 75-yards in 5 plays into the wind for a 7-0 lead. Delrece Williams opened the game with a 44 yard run to the SH 31, then Connor Simmons ran 14 yards to the 17. A 7-yard pass to Jaron Moorer to the ball to the 10, and Simmons hit Kevin Genevro on a look-in pass for the 10-yard score at 13:23.

Seton Hill answered with a 77-yard drive and tied the game on a Brandon Stout 1-yard run at 10:32.

Seton Hill took a 10-7 lead on a Jesser Boulnemour 20-yard field goal with 41-seconds left in the first quarter. It was the first time in 2015 that Clarion has trailed in a game.

Midway through the second quarter Clarion drove from its own 4 yards line to the Seton Hill 1, but the drive stalled and Phil Esposito booted a 22-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 at 7:05.

Starting its next drive at its own 17 with 1:30 remaining in the half, Simmons navigated the Eagles downfield with two passes to Williams for 24 yards and two passes to Moorer for 26 yards and Clarion had the ball at the SH 33. Nine yard passes to Mark Nicholas, Matt Lehman and Williams put the ball at the 6, but Esposito came on and booted another 22-yard field goal to give Clarion a 13-10 halftime lead.

Seton Hill took the second half kickoff, but linebacker Jacob Craig forced and recovered Larry Joshua’s fumble at the SH 30 to give the Eagles another opportunity. Clarion advanced the pigskin to the 8, but again the drive stalled and Esposito kicked his third field goal of the day from 25-yards and Clarion led 16-10 with 14:19 left in the third quarter.

Clarion started its next drive at its own 16 and drove 84-yards in only 5 plays. Simmons hit Genevro for 17 yards and Matt Lehman for 17 in the drive to put the ball at the SH 39. With the ball at the SH 44, Simmons hit Williams again for 21 yards to the 23, then Simmons found Matt Lehman alone on the right side of the endzone for a Clarion td. The td catch was Lehman’s 13th this season, tying him for the single season record with former great Alvin Slaughter who had 13 in 1998. Clarion led 23-10 at 9:58 of the third.

The Eagles got the ball again at their own 18 and drove 82 yards to score. The big play was a 53-yard pass and catch from Simmons to Lehman that took the ball from the Clarion 39 to the SH 8. After a holding penalty, Simmons found Delrece Williams on the right side and Williams scampered in for the Eagles td – giving Clarion a 30-10 lead with 6:37 left in the third.

Seton Hill scored on a 17-yard pass from Christian Strong to Ty George at 3:32 to make it 30-17.

Clarion came right back and went 79-yards in 78 plays to score. Delrece Williams started the drive with runs of 6, 19, 11 and 8 yards to move the ball to the SH 35. Simmons hit Lehman for 18, then Seton hill was called for pass interference in the endzone. Two plays later Williams rushed outside right end for a 7-yard td and Clarion boosted its lead back to 37-17 with 59-seconds left in the third.

The Eagles put the game out of reach driving 84 yards to score on its next possession. Williams again keyed the drive with runs of 37, 8 and 5 yards to the SH 34. Simmons again went to Lehman for 27 yards to the SH 7. On second down Simmons found tight end Gage Clark on a crossing route for a 6-yard td strike. Esposito’s PAT made it 44-17 with 10:26 left to play.

Seton Hill tacked on 2 fourth quarter td’s to make the final 44-29.

What a day for the Clarion offense. Clarion had 5 touchdown scoring drives of 75 yards or more on the afternoon. The 676 yards of offense shattered the old record of 612 against Ferris State in 1989. Clarion passed for 432 and rushed for 244 yards. Connor Simmons completed 28 of 51 passes for 432 yards and 4 td’s. His 432 yards are third most in a single game, bettering his 431 against Mercyhurst a two weeks ago. His 51 attempts are third most in a game, and 28 completions sixth most.

Matt Lehman caught 7 passes for 159 yards and 1 td. His 13 td catches this season ties him with Alvin Slaughter for the single season record of 13 – that slaughter set in 1998.

Delrece Williams had a career day as well. He rushed 25 times for 201 yards and 1 td – averaging 8 yards per carry. His 201 yards are 13th most in a single game and career best. He also caught 8 passes for 108 yards and 1 td – giving him 309 all-purpose yards.

Phil Esposito’s three field goals give him 13 on the season, third best all-time and only three field goals behind former All-America kicker Bill May who had 16 in 1979.

Clarion’s defense was led by Chris Liberto with 9 tackles, Myles Edmonds with 7 stops and 1 interception, and Kwame Bell who had 3 tackles, 2 tfl’s, 2 pass break ups and 1 blocked kick.

Seton hill posted 430 yards of offense including 74 rushing and 356 passing. Christian Strong hit on 25 of 50 passes for 356 yards and 2 td’s.

Clarion travels to California next Saturday for a 3pm kickoff.

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