Lock Haven, PA – When it comes to week one of football season, there are always many different expectations for a team.
The Golden Eagles this past Thursday superseded all of them in a 40-13 romping of PSAC rival Lock Haven.
Leading the way for Clarion was junior quarterback Connor Simmons who connected on 29 of 43 attempts for 407 yards and four touchdowns.
Simmon’s 407 yards through the air were the fifth most in a single game in Clarion Football history.
Another stat of note from last Thursday was that the win was rookie head coach Chris Weibel’s first victory at the helm of the team and the first of his career as a head coach.
The Golden Eagles started the game off hot and didn’t look back. Clarion gained a narrow lead in the first quarter when Simmons connected with freshman receiver Kyle Evans for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
The drive was an impressive one, reaching 64 yards in eight plays.
The second quarter is where the Golden Eagles put their stamp on the game.
Lock Haven found itself outscored 13-7 in this quarter thanks to two field goals from Junior kicker Phil Esposito, who connected from 25 and 34 yards out, the latter being scored as the clock expired at halftime.
The other score for Clarion was gained thanks to a three-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt freshman KaDarrius Campbell, which capped a 12-play drive.
The second half wasn’t much better for Lock Haven as the Golden Eagles outscored them 20-6 over the final 30 minutes.
The scoring started midway through the third quarter for Clarion, thanks again to a Simmons touchdown pass, this time to junior wide out Kevin Genevro for an 18-yard score.
Genevro had three grabs for 40 yards on the drive.
Lock Haven responded with its own touchdown following the Clarion score putting the game at 27-13, that momentum was short lived though as the Golden Eagles put together a 90-yard drive in four plays.
This lead to another passing touchdown, this time from 17 yards out from Simmons to his fellow junior receiver Matt Lehman.
Lehman finished the day with eight receptions and a touchdown as the Golden Eagles top wide out option.
Ending the game was another six play, 64-yard drive that finalized the score of 40-13.
The final touchdown was the fourth passing score of the game for Simmons who sent it to senior wide out Jaron Moorer for a 30-yard connection. This touchdown was the longest passing TD of the game for Simmons.
On the ground, Campbell rushed 18 times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles forced five total turnovers, one of which was thanks to an interception from senior safety Chris Liberto who also had eight tackles in the win.
Leading Clarion in tackles on the day was senior linebacker Rocco Yauger; he tallied up 12 in total.
Next up for the Golden Eagles is a matchup with Millersville University; the game will be this Thursday Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.