CLARION — The Brookville Raiders' regular season ended with a 34-6 loss to the Clarion Bobcats Friday at Memorial Stadium on a snowy and dreary night. The Bobcats' (10-0) balanced scoring, and the Raiders (6-4) five turnovers kept Brookville from contending with the Clarion squad.
"Guys are trying too hard and aren't tucking the ball in, and just aren't being careful with the ball," said Chris Dworek, Raiders varsity coach. "Turnovers are killer against anybody, especially a good team," he added.
Despite the loss, Brookville junior running back Zach Vroman broke the school record for most yards in one play on his 98-yard TD run, which was the only Raiders' score. Vroman rushed for 149 yards on 13 carries by night's end.
"It was just a simple dive play to get some breathing room off the goal line and our center blocked great... he had a big springing block and our left side did a great job of helping the cut and Vroman, for not being 100 percent, still showed he was pretty fast," said Dworek.
Clarion's offensive attack was led by quarterback John Katis, who completed 7-of-21 passes for 123 yards, including three scores. Running back T. J. Armstrong also helped the Bobcats' attack with 94 rushing yards on 15 carries, including a 16-yard scoring trot.
The Bobcats began scoring early in Friday night's contest. Clarion received the opening kickoff and on the fourth play of its initial drive, Katis found Camron Kirkland open for a 41-yard scoring play.
"We have to be greedy and perfect. We have to tighten things up; we can't give up long plays, it's deflating, disheartening and just gut-wrenching when you give up big plays for touchdowns," said Dworek.
Antonio Troese booted in the PAT to put the Bobcats up 7-0 with just under two minutes played.
The Brookville defense, which played well in spurts, kept the Bobcats from scoring again in the first quarter, but also struggled to get its own offense going.
With time winding down in the first quarter, Brodie Zacherl coughed the ball up and Clarion recovered.
On the second play of the second quarter, T. J. Armstrong ran the ball 16-yards up the middle for the score. Troese kicked in another PAT to give the Bobcats the 14-0 lead with 43 seconds off the clock.
The game quickly went from bad to worse for Brookville, when Clarion recovered another turnover on the Raider ensuing kick-off return.
The Bobcats recovered at the Raider 29-yard line and scored on the first play when Katis connected to Cody Hearst for the score.
"Bad technique, at times good technique, but when there is bad technique as a d-back, there's no linebacker to bail you out if you miss a tackle... Either the guys are tentative or they're just not doing what they're suppose to do, told to do, taught to do and just freezing up and doing something else on their own in the game, and that's a killer," said Dworek.
Freshman quarterback Brendan Milller connected to Tanner Corbett to complete the two-point conversion, putting Clarion up 22-0.
Just two plays in to Brookville's ensuing drive, quarterback Cameron Yard fumbled on a run and the Bobcats recovered once again.
Four plays later, Katis hooked up with Kirkland again, who made a great catch against the Raider double coverage in the end zone for the 33-yard score. Troese failed to put the PAT through the uprights and the score remained at 28-0 until the second half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
With just under three minutes off the clock in the final quarter, Yard picked off a pass thrown by Troese, but a personal foul against the Raiders put them at the 2-yard line and in danger of a safety.
On the first play, Yard handed-off to Vroman, who took the ball up the middle 98 yards to put the Raiders on the scoreboard. Yard attempt to run in the 2-point conversion, but came up short and the score remained at 28-6, Clarion.
The Bobcats wasted no time striking back and dashing any Raider hopes of a comeback. On the ensuing kick-off, Kevin Wolbert ran the ball to the Raider 45-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Kirkland took the hand-off and picked up 30 yards.
One play later, running back Damien Sike rushed the ball the remaining 15 yards for the score. Troese couldn't put the PAT in, so the score remained at 34-6, which ended up as the final count.