Turnovers Costly in Golden Eagles Loss to Cal

kevin genevro ics1CALIFORNIA, Pa. – Clarion qb Connor Simmons passed for 367 yards and 3 td’s and Delrece Williams ran for 112 yards and 1 td, but six costly interceptions were the Golden Eagles undoing on Saturday as California upset #25 Clarion 42-28 at Adamson Stadium in a constant rain.

(Photo: Kevin Genevro)

Clarion drops to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the PSAC-West, and California is now 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the West.

Down 42-14 late in the third quarter, Clarion made a valiant attempt at a comeback.

Clarion got the ball at its own 25 yard line with 19 seconds left in the third and Simmons hit Matt Lehman with a 22-yard completion to the Clarion 47. On the play Cal’s Aaron Terry was hit with a targeting penalty which took the pigskin to the Cal 38. A pass to Kevin Genevro to start the fourth quarter put the ball on the Cal 22. Two runs by Delrece Williams for 8 yards had the ball on the Cal 14. On fourth and 2, Simmons hit Kyle Evans in the endzone for a td to make the score 42-21 with 13:05 left in the game.

On Cal’s next possession running back Jimmy Wheeler fumbled the ball and Clarion safety Colin McNamara scooped up the pigskin at the Clarion 33 to give the Eagles another chance.

Simmons led a quick drive down field hitting receiver Mark Nicholas on passes of 11 and 30 yards to the Cal 26. Simmons rushed up the middle for 13 yards, then handed off to Williams who burst through an opening in the middle of the line for a 13-yard td and Clarion was back within two scores to 42-28 with 10:31 remaining.

Cal went on a big drive to try and seal the game. the Vulcans rushed the ball 15 times and went 63 yards to the Clarion 5 and consumed 8:35 on the clock. Clarion’s defense held and turned the ball over to the offense with 1:49 remaining.

Simmons again marched the Eagles down field. A hook and ladder play from Simmons, to Gevenro, to Williams, netted 24 yards to the 27, and a personal foul took the ball to the 42. On fourth down Simmons ran for 23 yards to the Cal 35, and a personal foul put the ball on the Cal 20. On second down Simmons fired for the endzone, but Jordan Bowman’s interception at the 1 sealed the win for Cal with 1:02 left in the game.

Cal opened the scoring on a 17-yard pass from James Harris to Garry Brown and a 7-0 Cal lead.

Clarion tied the game when Simmons hit Kevin Genevro on a 6-yard scoring toss with 8:56 left in the first.

Cal drove 80 yards and took a 14-7 lead on a John Franklin 2-yard run at 7:46, then Franklin scored on Cal’s next possession on a 1-yard run to make it 21-7 at 2:46 of the first.

The Golden Eagles drove 64 yards in 5 plays to pull within 21-14 when Simmons lofted a 9-yard td pass to Genevro with 9:14 left before halftime.

Cal made it 28-14 when Jimmy Wheeler scored on a 10-yard run with 6 minutes left in the second quarter,

One of the turning points in the game came before halftime. Clarion drove down field before halftime to the Cal 18, but Simmons had his pass intercepted by Brendan Blair at the Cal 7. After a Cal 3 and out, Clarion got the ball back at the Cal 39 with 1:01 remaining. On third and 10 at the Cal 29, Simmons hit Kyle Evans for 24 yards to the Cal 5, but time ran out on the Eagles keeping the score 28-14 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter Simmons had a pass attempt to KaDarrius Campbell in the left flat intercepted by Cameron Tarver at the 50 and Tarver returned the pick to the endzone for a key score and a 35-14 Cal lead.

On Clarion’s next possession Simmons had a pass intercepted by Tyler Hadddock at the Cal 45 and returned to the Clarion 29 – setting up Cal’s final td, a 21-yard pass from Harris to Garry Brown and a 42-14 lead, before Clarion tried its comeback attempt.

Clarion outgained Cal 495 – 405 and had 31 first downs to Cal’s 25.

Simmons hit on 24 of 51 passes for 367 yards and 3 td’s, but had 6 intercepted. Simmons now has 2,801 passing yards and 28 passing td’s this season.

Matt Lehman grabbed 8 passes for 106 yards, while Kevin Genevro had 6 receptions for 87 yards and 2 td’s.

Delrece Williams rushed 18 times for 112 yards and 1 td.

The Clarion defense was led by Chris Libertoi who had 11 stops and 3 tfl’s, Cory McNamara with 11 tackles, 1 int and 1 fumble receovery and Myles Edmonds with 9 stops and 1 interception.

Cal’s James Harris completed 14 of 25 aerials for 189 yards and 2 td’s. Garry Brown caught 6 for 77 and 2 td’s, while John Franklin rushed for 101 yards and 2 scores.

Clarion returns home next Saturday for Senior Day at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for Noon.

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