Undefeated Clarion U. to Host Seton Hill Live on Sportsfever on Saturday

kevin genevro ics1
CLARION, Pa. – After defeating Edinboro 36-23 last Saturday, Clarion is off to its best start (6-0) since 1983 under first year head coach Chris Weibel. The Golden Eagles return home on Saturday, Oct. 17 to battle PSAC-West foe Seton Hill for a 3pm kickoff at Memorial Stadium. The game will also be produced live by Sportsfever TV.

(Photo: Kevin Genevro)

All the game action between Clarion and Seton Hill can be heard on the Golden Eagle radio network, which includes WCCR-FM, 92.7 in Clarion and WKQW-FM, 96.3 in Oil City, as well as on the internet at Redzonemedia.com with Mike Kalinowski providing the play by play and Joe Lodanosky offering color commentary.

The game will also be produced by Sportsfever TV with Phil Schoener providing the play-by-play, Colin Riccobon on as color analyst and John Phillips on the sideline. The game will air live nationwide on ESPN 3 and ESPN College Extra, along with WPNT-PGH (22 – Clarion Comcast 12), WJAC-Johnstown (6.2), WHP-Harrisburg (21.2), WPHL-Philadelphia (17.4), WETM-Elmira, N.Y. (18.2) and Blue Ridge Cable. (See list below – local listings for over air, Satellite and Cable Channels).

CLARION 6-0; 3-0 IN WEST – FIRST 6-0 START SINCE 1983

The Golden Eagles are 6-0 and 3-0 in the PSAC-Western Division after defeating Edinboro last Saturday 36-23 at Edinboro. QB Connor Simmons passed for 345 yards and 4 td’s in the win. Two weeks ago Clarion topped Mercyhurst 41-27 with Simmons passing for 431 yards and 3 td’s, plus running for 2 td’s in the win. Three weeks ago Clarion stunned Gannon 47-31, a team that was the pre-season pick to win the West. In that game Connor Simmons passed for 350 yards and 4 td’s, with all four td passes going to Matt Lehman. Four weeks ago Clarion jumped out to a 31-6 halftime advantage against Cheyney and rolled to a 59-6 win. The 53-point winning margin was the third highest in Golden Eagle football history. In week two the Eagles defeated Millersville 27-21 after getting out to a 20-7 halftime lead. The Eagles opened 2015 with an impressive 40-13 win at Lock Haven.

Off to a 6-0 start – this is the best start for a Clarion football team since Gene Sobolewski was the head coach in 1983 and the Eagles opened the year 7-0 and went on to win the PSAC Championship 27-14 over East Stroudsburg in Hershey. That team finished 9-2. With the 6-0 start the Eagles have secured their first winning season since 2009 when Clarion was 8-3. This is also the first 3-0 start in the PSAC-West for Clarion since the Eagles were 3-0 in 2000 under Malen Luke. The last 4-0 West start came in 1996 when Chris Weibel was the Eagles starting qb.

“I really like the character and toughness our team has shown when tested so far this season,” said coach Weibel. “We want our guys to play loose and aggressive on every play – that’s when we are at our best. We keep reminding our players every week that our mission this year is Restoring The Pride” of Clarion football and that’s our main goal.”

SETON HILL 2-4/1-2 – DEFEATED SLIPPERY ROCK 41-38

Seton Hill, led by third year head coach Isaac Collins, is off to a 2-4 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the PSAC-Western Division. The Griffins opened PASC-West play on Sept. 26 with an impressive 41-38 upset win over then #14 Slippery Rock. Since then Seton Hill lost a close 38-34 decision at California, and last week lost a 47-10 contest to IUP. The season started with a 64-14 loss at Shippensburg, then a 27-10 win over Lock Haven and a 48-38 shootout loss to West Chester.

In his first two seasons at Seton Hill Collins has shown improvement. The Griffins were 1-10 in 2013 and 3-8 in 2014. Collins was the head coach at Widener for three years before coming to Seton Hill. He had a strong 25-8 overall record at Widener.

OVERALL SERIES TIED 1-1

The series between the two schools started in 2013 when Clarion defeated Seton Hill 41-2 at Memorial Stadium. Matt Lehman and Julian Howsare blocked punts and recovered them in the endzone for td’s to give Clarion a 13-0 lead and the Eagles never looked back. Last year Seton Hill returned the favor winning 30-16 at Seton Hill.

CLARION OFFENSE GETTING 463.3 YARDS IN 2015

The Clarion offense is getting 463.3 yards per game (#5 in PSAC), including 124 on the ground (#11 in PSAC) and 339.3 through the air (#2 in PSAC).

SIMMONS STARTS AT QUARTERBACK

Connor Simmons (Jr. New Palestine, In.) is the Eagles starting qb. He has hit on 127 of 190 passes (66.8%) for 2,002 yards and 21 td’s with 2 int’s. His qb efficiency is 189.72 – first in the all of NCAA D-II. His 431 passing yards against Mercyhurst was the third best in a single game in Clarion history. His 407 passing yards in the opener against LH were sixth most. In 2014 he started 8 games and completed 129 of 261 passes for 1,808 yards and 13 td’s. He also rushed for 57 yards and 5 td’s. In his career he has completed 256 of 451 passes for 3,810 yards and 34 td’s.

Also ready for action is Darelle Carson (Jr. Pgh-Perry) who has two years of experience as a starting quarterback. He is 2 of 3 passing this season for 34 yards and 1 td. Last season he completed 25 of 73 passes for 276 yards and 1 td, while running for 118 yards. Carson completed 85 of 195 passes for 1,170 yards and 5 td’s in 2013, while also running the pigskin 157 times for 564 yards and 6 td’s.

LEHMAN, DEITRICK, NICHOLAS, MOORER & FRYE LEAD RECEIVERS

Returning to catch passes for the Eagles will be wideouts Matt Lehman (Jr. Lower Burrell/Burrell), Mark Nicholas (Sr. Export/Franklin Regional) and Jaron Moorer (Sr. Rochester, N.Y.), along with Eric Frye (Jr. – Pgh – Perry) and tight end Zach Deitrick (Jr. Upper St. Clair).

Lehman, in his third season, is having an outstanding 2015. He has caught 40 passes for 570 yards and 12 td’s. Matt’s 12 td catches have him tied for 2nd in a single season with John DeRiggi (1966) and only 1 td catch behind the all-time record holder Alvin Slaughter who had 13 td catches in 1998. In 2014 he grabbed 25 passes for 540 yards and 2 td’s and latched onto 13 passes for 159 yards and 1 td in 2013. He has 78 career catches for 1,269 yards and 15 td’s.

Nicholas, a 3-year starter, has collected 12 passes for 115 yards. He had 12 catches for 100 yards and 3 td’s in 2014 and 15 passes for 285 yards and 3 td’s in 2013. He has 46 career catches for 594 yards and 8 td’s.

Moorer has 2 catches for 76 yards and 1 td. He clutched 11 passes for 328 yards and 2 td’s last year, while Frye has 3 catches in 2015 for 32 yards. Last year he collected 10 catches for 135 yards and 1 td, and had 6 receptions for 154 yards and 2 td’s in 2013.

Deitrick has 5 catches for 89 yards. In 2014 he caught 14 passes for 273 yards and 4 td’s.

Also making strong receiving contributions are Kevin Genevro (Jr. St. Marys/ECC), Kyle Evans (Fr. Forte Meade, Md.) and Gage Clark (So. Natrona Hts., Highlands). Genevro is second on the team with 21 grabs for 464 yards and 5 td’s, while Evans, a true freshman, has 13 grabs for 183 yards and 1 td. Clark has 9 catches for 179 yards.

WILLIAMS RETURNS TO KEY RUNNING BACKS IN 2015

Sophomore running back Delrece Williams (Homestead/Steel Valley) leads the team with 113 carries for 543 yards and 4 td’s. He also has 17 catches for 269 yards and 2 td’s. He rushed for a career high 148 yards and 2 td’s vs Gannon. Williams toted the pigskin 82 times for 370 yards and 6 td’s, plus caught 6 passes for 8 yards, and returned 26 kickoffs for 658 yards in 2014. A senior at Steel Valley High in the Fall of 2010, Williams set the WPIAL regular season rushing record of 2,149 yards in 9 games. He had a season total of 2,388 yards and a WPIAL leading 34 td’s.

Freshman KaDarrius Campbell (Leonardtown, Md.) has also been sharp with 54 carries for 200 yards and 2 scores. Campbell is a transfer from Saint Francis.

CRESS BROTHERS LEAD OFFENSIVE LINE

The “O” line will be paced by brothers Cameron Cress (Sr. Mars) at center and Shane Cress (Sr. Mars) who has moved to left guard from his normal tackle position. Cameron has started for two years at center and makes all the line calls up front, while Shane, a three-year letterwinner, anchors the line. Also back to lead the way up front are Josh Wiskeman (So. Leechburg/Kiski) and Jake Heigel (So. Dubois/Brockway) at tackle, and Shane McKillop (So. Freeport) at the guard spots.

9 STARTERS RETURN ON IMPROVED EAGLE DEFENSE

Clarion’s defense made strong improvements in 2014 and the Eagles have continued that trend with 9 starters and 21 lettermen returning in 2015. Clarion is giving up 311 yards of total offense (#2 in PSAC) per game including 98.8 rushing (#4 in PSAC) and 212.2 passing (#4 in PSAC).

BELL, SHORT & FRAGALE LEAD DEFENSIVE FRONT

The Golden Eagles have a strong defensive line returning in 2015, paced by talented returning starters Kwame Bell (Sr. Philadelphia), Brandon Short (Sr. New Brighton) and Andrew Fragale (Sr. Emporium/Cameron County).

Bell, who developed into a dominant lineman a year ago at defensive end, has 21 hits, 4 tfl’s, 3 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries and a blocked kick this season. Last year he had 55 tackles, 9 qb sacks for -57 and 14 tfl’s for -78 yards. He also caused 3 fumbles and recovered 2 fumbles. Short a three-year letterwinner, returned to the lineup at Edinboro after missing 4 games this season. He has 7 tackles and 2 tfl’s to start the season and has missed 4 games with injury. He posted big numbers at end in 2014. In 8 games he notched 45 hits, 8 sacks for -53 yards, 16 tfl’s for -75 yards, 1 fumble caused, 1 blocked kick and 1 fumble recovery. He was the PSAC-West defensive P.O.W. vs Seton Hill with 11 stops, 6 tfl’s and 2 sacks. Fragale, a three-year starter at noseguard, has 19 hits, 5 tfl’s, 3 sacks with a fumble caused. He recovered a fumble in the endzone against Cheyney for a td. In 2014 he posted 34 tackles, 5 tfl’s, 1 sack, 2 fumbles caused and 1 recovered in 11 games. In 36 career games he has 112 jolts, 32 tfl’s (-75), 13 sacks (-50), 6 fumbles caused, 5 recovered and 1 break-up.

Also ready to have big years up front are 2014 part-time starter Matt Koerper (Jr. Seven Fields/Seneca Valley) at tackle, Tyrone Archie (Fr. Farrell), Jake Tumminello (So. Mars) and Avery Howsare (So. Altoona) at ends and Lucas Nickerson (Sr. Mayville, N.Y.) on the line. Koerper is off to a quality start with 20 tackles, 7 tfl’s, 6 sacks, 2 fumbles caused and 2 recoveries. Archie has burst on the scene with 21 tackles, 9 tfl’s and 8 sacks as a red-shirt freshman. Tumminello has 5 hits and 2 tfl’s, while Howsare has 6 stops, 3 tfl’s, and a blocked kick. Nickerson gained valuable playing time and lettered last year.

YAUGER & DAVIS RETURN AS EAGLE LINEBACKERS

The Clarion linebacking corps will be led by the return of veterans seniors Rocco Yauger (Sr. Penn Trafford) and Jared Davis (Sr. Pgh-Allderdice).

Yauger, a 3-year starter, has 35 stops, 2 tfl’s, 2 fumbles caused and a pass break-up. He was second on the team last year with 75 tackles to go with 2 tfl’s. He had 57 stops with 1 tfl and 1 int in 2013, and collected 64 hits, 8 tfl’s and 1 sack as a freshman in 2012. He has career numbers showing 231 tackles, 13 tfl’s, 2 sacks and 1 int.

Davis, meanwhile has gained starting experience in each of the last two years. He has 15 hits, 1 tfl and 1 fumble recovery this year. In 2014 he had a career high 36 tackles, 4 tfl’s, 1 fumble recovery and 1 break-up in 2014. Jared has 94 career stops and 9 tfl’s with 3 fumble recoveries and a break-up.

Also expecting to see time on the inside will be senior Eddie Kurtz (Pgh – Avonworth), Michael Collier (Jr. Beaver Falls) and Pitt transfer Jacob Craig (Jr. Berlin Brothers Valley). Kurtz has earned two letters at linebacker and on special teams getting 4 tackles this season. He has played in 27 career games with 15 stops and 1 tfl. Collier has 14 stops in 2015. He missed the 2014 season with injury but had a stellar 2013 collecting 36 tackles, 4 tfl’s, an interception and a break-up. Coach Weibel is high on Craig, who played in 2 games at Pitt last year (1 tackle). He posted a 27 yard interception return for a td against Cheyney along with another int last week. He has 24 tackles, and 2 tfl’s.

FOUR VETERANS RETURN AT CORNER

Myles Edmonds (So. Odenton, Md.), Tyler Tucker (Sr. Westside, Tx.). Adam Lynch (Jr. Pgh – Brashear) and Kwaku Asamoah (Sr. Indiana) have all started in the secondary and will lead the 2015 Golden Eagles at corner. Edmonds has 21 stops, 6 break-ups and caused a fumble in 2015. He notched 38 tackles, 2 tfl’s and 1 break-up in 2014. Tucker, who has earned 3 letters, has moved from safety to corner. As a freshman in 2012 he had 31 hits, 7 tfl’s and 2 break-ups at corner, with 24 stops and 2 tfl’s in 2013. Lynch, missed the first three games with an injury but returned to play vs Gannon and in three games has 17 tackles, 1 int. and 3 break-ups. He posted 35 hits and 5 break-ups last year. The 2-time letterwinner has 68 career stops, 3 int’s and 9 pass break-ups. Asamoah, who has earned 3 letters, has made 11 hits in 2015. He played in 9 games in 2014 with 9 stops and 2 break-ups. He has 51 career tackles and 4 break-ups.

McNAMARA, & LIBERTO ANCHOR AT SAFETY

Maybe the strongest part of the Golden Eagle defense is at the safety position where three-year starters Cory McNamara (Sr. Ontario, N.Y.) and Chris Liberto (Sr. Springdale) await the enemy.

Cory McNamara has notched 14 tackles and a fumble recovery this year. He returned at Edinboro last week after missing three games with an injury. In 2014 and he ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 64, plus had 3 interceptions, 2 break-ups, 2 tfl’s, 1 fumble caused and recovered and blocked a kick. In 2013 he led the Golden Eagles with 87 tackles and 12 pass break-ups (Ranked #2 in the PSAC. Adding 1 interception and 1 tfl. He had a game high 14 tackles vs Gannon. Cory now has 196 tackles, 14 break-ups, 5 int’s, 4 tfl’s, 2 fumbles recovered and 1 caused.

Liberto has opened strong in 2015 with 43 tackles, 4 tfl’s, 1 int, and 2 break-ups. Chris notched 55 hits, 6 tfl’s and 1 fumble recovery last year after two years at running back.

Also seeing plenty of time at the safety spots will be Connor Scott (Jr. Pgh – Upper St. Clair), Colton McKay (So. Moon) and Trevon Gaines (So. Pgh – Brashear). Scott has 23 hits, 1 int and 1 fumble recovery this year. He collected 27 tackles and an interception last year, including a 15-yard int return for a td at Millersville. McKay has 32 tackles and an int this season and notched 25 hits in 2014, while Gaines meanwhile has 15 stops and 1 tfl this season.

ESPOSITO, AYERS & WHITE BACK ON SPECIAL TEAMS

The Clarion special teams will be anchored by junior placekicker Phil Esposito (Jr. Brockway), special teams snapper Eric White (Sr. Clearfield) and punter Scott Ayers (Jr. Bethesda, Md.). Esposito is 10 of 12 in field goals this year and 28 of 32 in PAT’s. He missed most of 2014 with an injury. In 2013 he was 25 of 25 in PAT’s and 5 of 17 in field goals. In his career he has now made 15 of 32 field goals and 58 of 62 PAT’s. White, Clarion’s snapper for punts and PAT’s/Field Goals, returns to that position again in 2015 for the fourth straight season. Ayers is averaging 39.7 yards per punt in 2015 and getting 8 inside the 20. He averaged 37.5 yards per punt, dropping 12 punts inside the 20 in 2014.

SETON HILL AIR ATTACK EXPLOSIVE OIN 2015

Seton Hill’s offense is very potent in 2015 getting 430.5 yards per game (#9 in PSAC) and 27.3ppg. On the ground the Griffins get only 96.2 yards per game (#13 in PSAC), but the passing offense nets 334.3 yards per game (#3 in the PSAC).

QB Christian Strong has completed 119 of 204 passes (58.3%) for 1,563 yards and 10 td’s with 10 int’s.

The receiving corps is very strong led by Jarvis McClam, who has caught 44 passes for 498 yards and 2 td’s, while also running 9 times for 24 yards. Eric Brown has clutched 28 passes for 430 yards and 2 td’s, while Ardell Brown has 22 grabs for 441 yards and 4 td’s and Ty George has 14 catches for 97 yards.

The running game is paced by Brandon Stout who has 84 carries for 347 yards and 2 td’s, with Patrick Jackson getting 34 tries for 167 yards and 1 td.

GRIFFIN DEFENSE YIELDING 518 YARDS PER GAME

Seton Hill is yielding 518 yards of offense per game (#16 in the PSAC) including 238.5 rushing yards (#16 in PSAC) and 279.5 passing yards (#13 in PSAC) per game.

Up front the defense is led by ends Daniel Gonzalez (4 tfl’s) and Jeremy Dixon (2 tfl’s) and tackles Jahquan Thompson (15 hits, 1 tfl) and Alex Attia (27 jolts, 2 sacks).

The linebackers have top tackler Nicholas Boynton (57 stops, 7 tfl’s) in the middle, flanked by Dexter Williams (42 hits, 2 sacks) and David Gutzmore.

Safeties Josh Falatovich (42 tackles) and Robert Brown (35 stops, 2 int’s), along with corners Phillip Moreland (31 jolts, 1 int) and Tanelious Walton (26 tackles, 1 int.) anchor the last line of defense.

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CLARION – SETON HILL SERIES: – 2014 – Seton Hill 30 Clarion 16: the first half last year was a defensive minded game — Seton hill led 9-2 at halftime – Clarion’s only points on a defensive score after SH’s first td … SH pulled away in the second half on 3 td passes to FJ Williams… Clarion scored in the 4th quarter on 2 td passes from Connor Simmons to Zach Deitrick… Brandon Short earned PSAC-West Defensive POW honors with 11 tackles, 6 tfl’s and 2 sacks… Simmons passed for 186 and 2 td’s… (2013 – Clarion 41 Seton Hill 2): … Clarion totaled 351 yards of offense to SH’s 179 a year ago … Clarion rushed for 282 yards and passed for only 69 … Clarion scored on two blocked punts to go ahead 13-0 … Matt Lehman blocked a punt in the first quarter that landed in the endzone and he pounced on it for a 7-0 lead … Julian Howsare also blocked a punt and recovered it in the endzone for a 13-0 lead at 11:44 of the second… SH returned the PAT for a 2-point defensive conversion for the Griffin’s only score… Later in the second quarter Travis Day capped 60-yard drive with a 5-yard td run and Clarion led 20-2 at halftime … Bobby Thomas scored on runs of 32 and 1 yard, and Eric Frye caught a 12-yard td pass from qb Darelle Carson to finish the scoring – on a 41-2 Eagle victory … Carson led with 73 yards rushing and completed only 5 of 14 passes for 69 yards and 1 td … Thomas rushed for 59 and 2 td’s, and Day 53 yards and 1 td. Rocco Yauger and Julian howsare had 10 tackles each, while Howsare had 3 tfl’s and 2 blocked kicks in the game.

Weibel played at Clarion from 1993-98 — In 1995 led Clarion to a 6-4 record completing 159 of 268 passes (59.3%) for 2,017 yards and 14 td’s. In 1996 he led the Eagles to an 11-3 overall record, the PSAC-West title, the NCAA Division II East Region Crown and a berth in the NCAA “Final Four” before losing in the final seconds to Northern Colorado 19-18. Weibel earned NCAA D-II All-America honors completing 208 of 356 passes (58.4%) for 2,880 yards and 32 td’s. Clarion won the Lambert Cup – top team in the East. …Weibel holds all four key career passing records at Clarion including passing attempts (1,065), completions (586), passing yards (7,845) and passing td’s (65).


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