Austin Troutman – Staff Writer
Clarion’s Golden Eagle football team looks for a bounce back season after a long offseason.
Last year, it finished with a record of 4-7, and competed well in conference competition, going 3-4..
One of Clarion’s main ways of improving lies in the defense.
Last season, the total number of points allowed were much higher than the total offensive numbers.
On average, Clarion’s football team scored 24 points while allowing 37.
The biggest way for it to improve is to cut down the point differential to less than two scores, and to try to limit the opponents to under 35 points, which only happened four times in 11 games.
Even though the numbers on defense could improve, the offense statistics also may not be up to par.
Total yards per game was drastically lower for Clarion than opponents, as the Golden Eagles gave up 140 more on defense than it ran on offense.
One key aspect of the sport of football, at any level, is third down conversions.
This part of the game for the Golden Eagles was a consistent struggle in 2016-17, as it only came through 37 percent on third down.
Things got even worse for Clarion as the drive progressed throughout the season, as fourth down conversions were even harder to convert.
On the other side of the ball, Clarion’s opponents converted 45 percent of third downs, and could complete 14 out of 25 fourth down attempts.
The bright side of the statistics that the Golden Eagles would like to continue is red zone football.
On offensive red zone appearances, Clarion was successful 29 times while only failing to score four times.
While there were more trips to the red zone for the defensive squad, opponents were unable to score 14 times out of a possible 53.
The goal is to get back to where the team of 2014-15 ended, which was the only season in the last five that had a finishing record over the .500 mark.
Looking ahead to next season, Clarion tries to get back to its winning ways, and they will try to start in an unfamiliar territory.
The upcoming football season will begin on Thursday, Aug. 31 in Martin, Tenn.
Along with this matchup, there are only three other non-conference games, two will be held in Clarion.
The first game of the season in Clarion will be on Saturday, Sept. 9 against Bloomsburg.
The Golden Eagle’s will look to get some revenge from last season at home in that game, where it lost 35-20 on the road to the same team.
The home-field atmosphere of Clarion is where it played the best last season, playing .500 football in six games.
After extensive practices and hours of training, football will prepare to come back once again in the fall and have a fresh opportunity to put together a winning season.