CATHCART LEADS CLARION OVER ST. MARYS
By Chris Rossetti
CLARION Ė Clarion got its 2001 season off on the right foot with a 32-13 win over St. Marys in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Clarion.
Kyle Cathcart led the way for the Bobcats rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns, and Ben Bevevino threw two touchdown passes to Will Lewis helping Clarion build a 32-0 lead near the end of the third quarter.
"I think we took a big step as a team offensively," Cathcart said. "We moved the ball when we needed to. I think overall we played very well."
"We were awesome defensively, especially in the first half," Clarion head coach Larry Wiser said. "We were giving them nothing on the line, and our secondary did a pretty good job covering."
St. Marys head coach Tony Defilippi wasnít happy with the way his team played.
"We just have to get better," Defilippi said. "We did not play well here tonight. The score is indicative of that tonight.
"We need to work on our mental mistakes. We had some blown coverages right off the bat. We just have to get better."
The season started off on a bad foot right off the bat for the Dutchmen, as Robert Kopp fumbled the opening kickoff, and Clarionís Steve Balough recovered to give the Bobcats the ball at the St. Marys 26-yard line.
"That was huge," Wiser said.
The St. Marys defense held on the first three downs, but on fourth-and-11 from the 27, Ben Bevevino found Lewis wide open in the end zone for a touchdown giving the Bobcats a 6-0 lead.
"Will Lewis has great speed," Wiser said. "I thought what he needed to get was confidence. With those two touchdown pass I really hope the kid takes off."
The 6-0 lead stood up until the early part of the second quarter when Bevevino hooked up with Lewis again, this time on a 12-yard pass, to give Clarion a 12-0 lead with 11:54 remaining in the first half.
"I thought we had some good timing in the passing game," Clarion coach Larry Wiser said. "They were stacking 11-men in the box, and I thought Will did a nice job getting open and Ben did a nice job getting him the ball."
Cathcart was the workhorse on the Bobcat drive carrying the ball four times for 35 yards.
St. Marys had a chance to cut into the Clarion lead when Dustin Ruberto took the ensuing kickoff 36 yards from his own 15 to the Clarion 49. Only a touchdown saving tackle by kicker Dave Larson prevented Ruberto from taking the ball into the end zone.
The Dutchmen then caught a break when Clarion was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Bobcats had stopped St. Marys on third down. The penalty gave the Dutchmen the ball at the Clarion 27-yard line.
St. Marys moved the ball to the Clarion 20, but two sacks by Clarion put the ball back at the 30-yard line, and St. Marys quarterback Brandon Bennett, subbing for the injured Tony Kopp, threw an incomplete pass giving Clarion the ball back.
The Bobcats then marched 70 yards on 11 plays and one 15-yard St. Marys pass interference penalty to put their third touchdown on the scoreboard.
This time it was Cathcart scoring on a 2-yard run with 28 seconds left in the half. Bevevino then hit Cathcart with a pass for the two-point conversion giving Clarion a 20-0 lead at halftime.
It took Clarion only two plays in the second half to add to its lead.
On the second play from scrimmage after the intermission, Cathcart raced 65 yards for a touchdown giving the Bobcats a 26-0 lead with 11:04 left in the third quarter.
"We had just run a counter-try away from the slot," Wiser said. "We just came back to the same time we countered from and ran the trap up inside there. (Steve) Balough did a great job trapping on the end there, and I donít think Kyle was touched going to the end zone on that play."
Bevevino pass attempt for two-points failed, and on the play Bevevino hurt his ankle. Bevevino, whose ankle was tapped, was on crutches after the game and was going to Clarion Hospital for x-rays. Results of those x-rays were unavailable at press time. If Bevevino canít go next week, he will be replaced by Andy Craig who played the rest of the game following the injury. Craig would most likely be backed up by Jamie Arner.
A St. Marys fumble at the 17-yard line set up Clarionís next touchdown.
Two plays after the fumble, Cathcart rambled in from 13 yards out for his third score of the night giving Clarion a 32-0 lead with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
St. Marys finally strong together a scoring drive late in the third quarter thanks in large part to a 49-yard run by Dan Fox that moved the ball from the St. Marys 44-yard line down to the Clarion 7-yard line.
A few plays later when Ruberto scored from eight yards out to cut the Clarion lead to 32-7 as time expired in the third quarter.
St. Marys was then able to tack on another touchdown in the fourth quarter when Bennett scored on a 17-yard run with 5:19 left to cut the Clarion lead to 32-13.
Clarion outgained St. Marys 303 yards to 134 including 264-132 on the ground.
Matt Watterson was Clarionís second leading rusher with 63 yards on eight carries, while Fox led St. Marys with 92 yards on 19 carries.
Bevevino was 2-for-3 for 39 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with the injury, while Bennett was 4-for-5 for 2 yards.
At the beginning of the game we tried to open things up," Defilippi said. "But we couldnít pass protect."
Clarion shot itself in the foot with penalties all night long committing 14 fouls for 105 yards.
"What a sloppy football game," Wiser said. "We came out really focus I though. But we seemed to lose our focus when we got up a couple of scores there. That is just a young team. We are going to have to be a lot more disciplined than that."
NOTES: St. Marys Daniel Keebler, a senior lineman, was taken to Clarion Hospital via ambulance in the third quarter after suffering what appears to be a concussion, according to Defilippi.
"He was alert and he was moving everything," Defilippi said. "But it was a precaution. They felt he should go (to the hospital). And I am glad he is with the medical staff."
C - Lewis 12 pass from Bevivino (Kick failed), 11:54
C - Kyle Cathcart 2 run (Cathcart pass from Bevevino), :28
C- Cathart 65 run (Pass failed), 11:04
C - Cathcart 13 (Kick failed), 4:18
S - Dustin Ruberto 8 run (Lopaka Hohuli kick), :00
S - Bradon Bennett 17 run (Kick failed), 5:19