One-point win for Raiders over Clarion
BROOKVILLE — Two touchdowns were all the Brookville Raiders needed Friday night to pose a 13-12 win over the Clarion Bobcats.
Despite trailing by 12 at halftime, the Raiders maintained their composure and came out strong in the third quarter.
"No one was panicking; no one was yelling at each other; no one was swearing at halftime," Raiders head coach Chris Dworek said. "The big thing was just being patient and keeping our mental focus. That was a big step."
In the third quarter, the Raiders scored two touchdowns within two-and-a-half minutes of each other, and they held the Bobcats scoreless during the fourth.
Dworek said he was extremely pleased with how his team finished the game, which is something Brook-ville has been struggling with this season.
"One of our is traditions is we yell 'Fourth quarter!'" Dworek said. "It stems back to conditioning; whenever we condition, the last quarter of conditioning, everyone is supposed to pick it up a little harder. ... That was a big step forward in being confident and doing what they say they want to do."
With the field conditions a mess, both teams struggled to find their footing as well as their passing games at the beginning of the game. Neither was able to move into their opponent's territory during its opening drive.
The game opened up first for the Bobcats when quarterback Brandon Heeter found a wide open receiver in the middle, and Camron Kirkland ran the distance for a 57-yard score. Kicker Tanner Klein struggled with the extra point, and Clarion led 6-0.
The Raiders were then forced to punt at the beginning of the second quarter, and the Bobcats started with the ball at mid-field.
Almost the exact same play led to another touchdown — a 41-yarder from Heeter to Slike. This time, the Bobcats went for the two-point conversion, but T.J. Armstrong's pass fell incomplete, and Clarion had a 12-point lead heading into halftime.
The Raiders started with the ball during the third quarter but were forced to go three-and-out, but they held Clarion to a three-play drive and received the ball back in favorable field position.
Brookville worked its way into Bobcat territory before quarterback Steven Kennedy found Austin Burmey, who broke two tackles and ran into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Kicker Cam Yard helped his team, cutting the lead to five with an extra point.
On the Bobcats' ensuing drive, Heeter fumbled the ball at the Clarion 18, and Brookville's Eric Tosh fell on it.
The Raiders didn't have to go far before Zach Vroman ran in the five-yard score. Yard just missed the extra point attempt, but the Raiders had a one-point lead.
Brookville held onto that lead and eventually forced the Bobcats to punt with 11:20 left on the clock.
The Raiders had a six-minute drive, which was highlighted by several long runs by Brodie Zacherl.
Dworek was quick to compliment the work of Zacherl and Vroman after the game.
"(Zacherl) just has a low center of gravity," Dworek said. "He's strong with good leverage, same with (Vroman). Vroman ran it pretty tough the second half. ... Both those guys are strong; they're young and strong."
When the Bobcats got the ball back, they had just under five minutes left on the clock but were unable to make much headway before Heeter threw an interception to Sebastian Kerr.
Vroman had several nice carries on Brookville's ensuing drive, but the Raiders were eventually forced to punt, giving the Bobcats' offense one last chance at the ball.
Clarion drove past the 50-yard line and went for it on fourth-and-eight with one minute left on the clock and the game on the line.
Brookville's Nate Bonfar- dine stepped up to the plate and sacked Heeter in the back field for a three-yard loss, securing the Raiders' one-point victory.
The Raiders will hold their Senior Night next Friday against Punxsutawney.