Clarion started off hot against Slippery Rock with a 22 yard touchdown pass from Connor Simmons to sophomore tight end Zach Deitrick, but Slippery Rock countered with 45 unanswered points to defeat Clarion 45-8 Saturday afternoon in the fifth annual battle for the “Milk Jug.”
With the loss, Clarion’s record dropped to 2-8 overall, and 2-7 in the PSAC West.
Slippery Rock took its first drive deep into Clarion territory, but a fumble that was recovered by Clarion junior Chris Liberto ended that drive.
Slippery Rock’s next drive stalled at the Clarion 21-yard line, and then attempted 38 yard field goal was blocked by senior Julian Howsare.
Clarion marched down the field after that, with Simmons hitting freshman Gage Clark for a 44-yard pass into Slippery Rock territory.
Two plays later, Simmons hit Deitrick for the Golden Eagle touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion from Simmons to junior Jaron Moorer.
Slippery Rock answered on the following drive and scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jared Buck to Jaimire Dutrieuille, bringing the score to 8-7 in Clarion’s favor.
However, Simmons was intercepted on the following drive, and Slippery Rock answered two plays later on a touchdown pass from Buck to Drew Scales.
Slippery Rock took the lead 14-8 and never looked back.
A field goal from Mike Wainauskis gave Slippery Rock a 17-8 lead heading into halftime.
Slippery Rock dominated the second half, with Buck going to Dutrieuille for a 65-yard touchdown pass and touchdown from Leroy McClain on a pass from Melvin German.
Slippery Rock then scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give them the win 45-8.
Clarion was led by Simmons on offense, who threw for 108 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Clarion had trouble getting the ground game going, with freshman Delrece Williams leading the team with 32 yards on the day.
The defense was led by Howsare, who had 16 tackles and a blocked kick.
Junior Cory Lauer also had a big day on defense with 14 tackles and one forced fumble.
Clarion returns to action this Saturday against Kutztown in the season finale.
Even with Clarion’s record at 2-8, the team’s attitude has not changed since the first game.
“Obviously this season didn’t go as we all planned it happening for us. But it’s a learning experience for those of us who are coming back. We know what we want to accomplish as a team and this offseason we will earn it every day throughout the offseason,” Simmons said.
He continued, “We have one final game left, and we will do nothing but let it all out on the field Saturday for our seniors and for the players that are coming back to end on a good note. I think a lot of our inconsistency this year was because we’re young. With a year under our belt together as a unit, next year I have no doubt we will compete with each team on our schedule.”