Undefeated Clarion Gridders Upset Gannon 47-31

williams_9-27ERIE, Pa. – Clarion qb Connor Simmons passed for 350 yards and 4 td’s, all four to Matt Lehman, while Delrece Williams rushed for 148 yards and 2 td’s in leading undefeated Clarion to a 47-31 upset win over Gannon in the PSAC-West opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon.

(Photo – Delrece Williams)

Held at Gannon’s McConnell Family Stadium, Clarion raised its overall record to 4-0 and 1-0 in the PSAC-West, while Gannon dropped to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the West.

“I am so proud of how or team came up here and played today,” said Clarion first year head coach Chris Weibel. “We have talked since the spring about “Restoring the Pride” of Clarion football as our theme and we are one step closer to that today. Our coaches put together a great game plan and the players executed it to the final play. This is a great win for Clarion football.”

The Golden Eagles took the lead on a Phil Esposito 20-yard field goal at 12:43 of the first for a 3-0 lead.

Gannon went ahead on a 68-yard td pass from Liam Nadler to Brendan Klemensic at 11:39 of the first, but Clarion bounced right back on an Esposito 44-yard field goal, and then Connor Simmons 2-yard td pass to Matt Lehman capping a 10-play, 33-yard scoring drive which gave the Eagles a 12-7 lead at 1:46 of the first quarter.

Gannon drove 70-yards to take a 14-12 lead on a Brock Jones 1-yard run, but that lead was short lived.

Clarion drove 69 yards in only 5 plays to hit paydirt and take the lead for good. The key play was a 46-yard pass from Simmons to Kevin Genevro from the Clarion 41 to the Gannon 13. Simmons clicked with Lehman again on a 5-yard td pass to make it 19-14 at 13:04 of the second.

After Gannon booted a field goal to make it 19-17, the Eagles struck paydirt again, gong 70-yards in 13 plays. Simmons hit Lehman on passes of 22 and 33 yards in the drive, while Delrece Williams cashed in the score on a 4-yard td run and the Eagles were up 26-17 at halftime.

The third quarter started as a defensive battle, but Clarion made the big play, on a trick play. Early in the drive, Gannon was called for roughing the punter at the Clarion 21, extending the Eagle drive. Clarion made the Knights pay for that penalty. On first and ten at the Gannon 44, Kevin Genevro took the snap, handed off to Delrece Williams, who lateraled back to Connor Simmons, who fired a 44-yard td pass to Lehman who was all alone. The PAT at 4:08 of the third gave Clarion a 33-17 lead.

Gannon closed to 33-25 when Nadler hit Klemensic on a 44-yard td pass with 12:43 to go, but Clarion had the answer. Delrece Williams broke the game open with a 71-yard td run at 11:47 to put the Eagles back in front 40-25.

Clarion put the game on ice with a 14-yard td pass from Simmons to Lehman with 1:22 remaining to put the game out of reach at 47-25. Gannon scored with 6 seconds remaining.

Clarion’s offense managed 494 yards, including 144 on the ground and 350 passing.

Connor Simmons hit on 21 of 30 passes for 350 yards and 4 td’s. Wideout Matt Lehman had 9 catches for 151 yards and 4 td’s, while Kevin Genevro latched onto 4 passes for 105 yards.

Delrece Williams carried the pigskin 29 times for 148 yards and 2 td’s.

Clarion’s defense saw freshman Tyrone Archie make 7 tackles and in on 4 sacks (2 solo) to lead the defense. Matt Koerper had 5 stops and was in on 1 solo and 2 assisted sacks.

Gannon had 456 yards of offense including only 79 rushing and 377 passing.

The Eagle defense held the PSAC’s top runner Brock Jones to 60 yards on 11 carries. QB Liam Nadler completed 23 of 43 passes for 381 yards and 3 td’s. Eli Quinter had 7 grabs for 98 yards and Brendan Klemensic had 5 catches for 149 yards and 2 td’s.

Clarion returns to Memorial Stadium next Saturday and hosts Mercyhurst for a 2pm kickoff. The game will serve as the Eagles Homecoming Day game as part of Autumn Leaf Festival Week.


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