CLARION – The Clarion Bobcats overcame the loss of star running back Ian Corbett to hold off the Curwensville Golden Tide in the first round of the District 9 Class “A” playoffs Friday night at Clarion University’s Memorial Field, 34-13.
Two first quarter fumbles and a botched punt gave the Bobcats, now 10-1, great field position deep inside Curwensville territory in the first 12 minutes and the number two seed cashed in.
Corbett scored the first touchdown of the game on a six-yard run at the 10:53 mark of the first quarter, after a Tide mistake deep in Curwensville terrain. Jacob Troutman gave Clarion an 8-0 lead after running in the two point conversion attempt.
The Tide just missed an opportunity to tie the game as freshman Nick Stewart was tackled at the one yard line after a long run of his own. It appeared that Stewart, as he was falling, reached the ball over the goal line but the officials ruled down at the one.
Instead of scoring the tying touchdown, the Tide ended up giving the ball back to Clarion.
Moments later Corbett streaked 79 yards for his second score of the game and a Taylor Smith pass to Ethan Straffin for the two point conversion made it 16-0 with :42 seconds left in the opening frame.
Unfortunately on the touchdown run by Corbett, the senior sensation came up with a rib injury that forced him out of the game. On the 2014 season thus far Corbett has rushed for well over 1,800 yards while scoring a total of 37 touchdowns which includes 31 rushing TD’s.
Curwensville cut the Bobcats margin to 10 at 16-6 when, with 1:23 remaining in first the half, Stewart scored from three yards out. The Tide’s two conversion attempt was no good.
With 7:27 on the clock in the third quarter Stewart crossed the goal line again, this time going in from 56 yards. Senior place-kicker Heather Thorp was good on the PAT attempt and Curwensville trailed just 16-13.
And then, as mentioned earlier, the Bobcats re-grouped, scoring the last three touchdowns in a game much closer than the final score indicates.
A 17-yard run by Troutman with 36 seconds left in the third gave Clarion breathing room at 22-13 as the two point attempt failed.
The Bobcats scored twice in the fourth quarter on a Destin Strauser five yard run and a seven yard fumble recovery by Straffin with just 24 seconds remaining in the battle. Clarion failed on both two point conversion trys.
Stewart finished his freshman season rushing for over 1,500 yards while scoring a total of 20 touchdowns, 18 on the ground.
The Golden Tide finish the 2014 season with a 6-5 record.
In other District 9 “A” action Friday night number eight seed Union defeated number one Ridgway 18-14. It was the second time that the Knights beat the Elkers this year, Ridgway’s only two losses. The first game, a regular season battle on October 17, Union won 32-7. Ridgway ends the year at 9-2 while Union moves on with a 6-5 mark.
Brockway, the fifth seed, defeated fourth seeded Red Bank Valley 28-14.
Saturday, in the last first round game, Kane, seeded sixth, plays at the three seed, Elk County Catholic (ECC) with a 7 pm kickoff at St. Marys Area High School football field. ECC beat Kane on October 17 in regular season action, 13-12.
CURWENSVILLE 0 6 7 0 13
CLARION 16 0 6 12 34
CLARION 10:53 Ian Corbett 6 yard run
Jacob Troutman run for two point conversion 0 8
CLARION :42 Corbett 79 yard run
Taylor Smith pass to Ethan Straffin for
two point conversion 0 16
CURW 1:23 Nick Stewart 3 yard run
Two point conversion attempt failed 6 16
CURW 7:27 Stewart 56 yard run
Heather Thorp PAT 13 16
CLARION :36 Troutman 17 yard run
Two point conversion attempt failed 13 22
CLARION 6:01 Destin Strauser 5 yard run
Two point conversion attempt failed 13 28
CLARION :24 Straffin seven yard fumble recovery
Two point conversion attempt failed 13 34