After eight consecutive weeks of tasting the sweets of victory and glory, the Clarion Golden Eagles football team has finally been dealt the pain of loss.
The CalU Vulcans became the 1 in 7-1 this past Saturday and defeated the Golden Eagles 42-28, leaving Clarion with an overall record of 7-1 and a PSAC-West record of 4-1.
Clarion still remains in the mix for a championship run, but the loss did have a noticeable effect on the team.
“It’s a loss and it hurts, but I also think it’s a good learning experience for our guys,” said Clarion head coach Chris Weibel.
The Vulcans didn’t waste time in starting the game.
From there on out, it was all CalU, and despite some resilience on Clarion’s side, the Golden Eagles found themselves trailing 28-14 at halftime.
Things looked to continue in CalU’s favor in the second half, as Cameron Tarver intercepted another Simmons pass and rushed for 50 yards for a Vulcan touchdown.
Things became even bleaker for Clarion when Harris’ pass connected with wide receiver Gary Brown and made the score 42-14.
The nail seemed to be hammered into Clarion’s coffin as the third quarter came to an end, but the Golden Eagles wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Simmons would hit wide receiver Kyle Evans in the end zone for a touchdown to cut the CalU lead 42-21, and on the next Vulcan possession, Clarion would force a fumble and march it back to the CalU end zone.
Simmons would handoff the ball to running back Delrece Williams for the touchdown.
The score was 42-28, the clock read 10:31, and Clarion had all the momentum going forward.
But a huge push by the CalU offense ate away 8:35 of playing time, and one last interception on Simmons at the 1:02 mark ensured the Vulcan victory.
“They just kept running (the ball). They controlled the clock. They took some shots down field with some long passes, and a couple of them worked out for them,” Weibel said in regard to the dominate CalU offense.
Weibel also credited their strong running game for their win, saying, “If they want to run the ball off of you and get a couple few yards each time, they can. That’s kind of what hurt us, because they had a stronger running game than we did… and they did a nice job with it.”
Still, despite the loss, Weibel remains optimistic that his team can get back to their winning ways.
“(The loss) let them understand what it feels like to lose and hopefully kick them in the butt a little bit to go out and work harder this week… hopefully we’ll never have that feeling again.”
Clarion faces IUP Saturday in a huge PSAC-West matchup at Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff is set for noon.