DuBOIS, Pa. – Twelve games, 12 Mercy Rule wins for the Clarion Bobcats.
Top-seeded Clarion moved into the District 9 Class A title game for the third straight year and for the fifth time in the last six seasons with a 56-12 win over fourth-seeded Brockway Saturday night at DuBois’ E.J. Mansell Stadium.
The Bobcats won the way they have won all year, using a balanced offensive attack and an attacking, disruptive defense. Clarion (12-0) outgained Brockway 527 yards to 231 despite running 26 fewer plays (38 to 64) than the Rovers. The numbers were even more striking in the first half when Clarion scored 42 unanswered points including 27 in the second quarter while outgaining the Rovers 320-83.
Damien Slike, Cody Hearst and Tanner Corbett each scored a pair of touchdowns, and John Katis threw two more touchdown passes while running his interception-less streak to 127 straight passes dating back to last year.
Slike ran for a game-high 169 yards on just 11 carries and scored on second-half runs of nine and 97 yards. He added 55 yards receiving on two catches.
Hearst had four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns, while Katis was 6-for-10 passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
Tanner Corbett had 54 yards rushing and a touchdown and 49 yards receiving and a score.
Ian Corbett chipped in with 80 yards rushing for Clarion while also recording three of the Bobcats six sacks on Brockway quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan, who entered the week as District 9’s leading passer with 2,897 yards on the season.
Shaffer-Doan was able to reach the 3,000-yard throwing mark, becoming just the fourth District 9 quarterback and second Brockway quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. He was 22 of 40 for 181 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions giving him 3,096 yards on the year, the fourth-highest single-season title in District 9 history.
But most of Shaffer-Doan’s yards came in the second half (121). He was just 8 of 22 for 60 yards and an interception while being sacked six times in the first half. At one point in the half, Clarion forced eight straight incompletions from the senior who came into the game completing 60 percent of his throws.
Shaffer-Doan was at his best in the first half on Brockway’s opening drive completing his first four passes of the game for 33 yards while also rushing for 13 yards to move Brockway to the Clarion 26.
But that was pretty much as good as it got for the Rovers (7-5). Two straight incompletions was followed up by a Brendan Miller interception of Shaffer-Doan at the Clarion 6-yard line ending the drive.
The teams then traded punts before Clarion put its quick strike offense to work needing just two plays to score the game’s first touchdown hitting pay dirt on a 52-yard Tanner Corbett touchdown run. It was the first of five Bobcat touchdown “drives” that lasted three or fewer plays. A two-point conversion run by Miller off a muddle-huddle kick formation gave Clarion an 8-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Brockway looked poised to answer back when Anthony Benson, who finished the night with 41 yards rushing and a touchdown and 87 yards receiving, returned the kickoff to the Clarion 44 and Shaffer-Doan hit Chad Perrin for 12 yards to the Clarion 32.
An incomplete loss, a negative rushing play and back-to-back sacks – the first a combined sack by Jacob Troutman and Ethan Straffin and the second all Straffin – gave the ball back to Clarion on downs at its own 41.
The Bobcats then went 59 yards in five plays but still needed a fourth-and-goal 1-yard run by Destin Strauser to expand the lead to 15-0 with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
Clarion had first-and-goal at the eight after a 51-yard Katis to Hearst pass, but three rushing plays netted just seven yards before Strauser, the fullback, bulldozed his way into the end zone.
The next Bobcat touchdown drive lasted all of one play, as Ian Corbett exploded for a 55-yard scoring run to put Clarion up 22-0 with 9:18 left in the first half.
Clarion made it 29-0 on its next possession and used a little trickery to do so. Tyler Allen threw a wingback option pass to Hearst for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:09 left.
But despite the small amount of times remaining in the first half, the Bobcats were far from done scoring.
Katis connected with Tanner Corbett on a 49-yard scoring strike to make it 36-0 with 2:24 to play, and, after Shaffer-Doan lost a fumble at his own 18 on Brockway’s next offensive possession, Katis hit Hearst with an 18-yard scoring pass to make it 42-0 Clarion at the break.
Brockway used a little trickery of its own to set up its first score of the game, as the Rovers started the second half with a successful on-side kick that eventually led to a 13-yard touchdown run by Benson to cut Clarion’s lead to 42-6 with the Mercy Rule clock running.
Clarion, though, got that touchdown back on the first play of the fourth quarter when Slike scored on a 9-yard run making it 49-6.
Then, after Thomas Plummer intercepted Shaffer-Doan at the Clarion 3-yard line with eight minutes left, Slike broke through a hole on the right-side of the line and outran the Brockway defenders for the 97-yard touchdown run and a 56-6 Clarion lead.
Brockway finished off the scoring on a 1-yard Shaffer-Doan to Jake Foradori touchdown toss with 4:32 to play.
Clarion, which has lost the last two District 9 Class A title games to Port Allegany, will go for its first District 9 title since 2009 when it faces off against rival Redbank Valley in the title game next week at a time, date and location to be determined. It will be the second meeting of the year between the Bobcats and the Bulldogs. Clarion cruised to a 50-0 win Oct. 11.
NOTES – Clarion is making its 11th District 9 Class A championship-game appearance and is looking for its third title. The Bobcats also won the D9 title in 1997 … Brockway lost in the D9 Class A semifinals for the third consecutive year since moving down to Class A and for the second straight year to Clarion, which beat the Rovers 35-14 last season at DuBois … Anthony Isabella had five catches for 44 yards, all in the second half, for Brockway giving the Rovers a pair of 1,000-yard receivers on the season. Isabella finished with 75 catches for 1,016 yards, while Benson had 89 grabs for 1,292 yards on the year. It’s the second straight year a District 9 teams has had two 1,000-yard receivers. Last season, Port Allegany’s Nick Conway (1,482 yards) and Tyce Miller (1,425 yards) become the first teammates in D9 history to go each go over 1,000 receiving yards in the same year … In addition to Shaffer-Doan, Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer (3,951 in 2012 and 3,766 in 2011), Brockway’s Derek Buganza (3,824 yards in 2009) and Clearfield’s Char Kroell (3,224 yards in 1994) also broke the 3,000-yard passing mark … With 56 more points Saturday, Clarion is averaging 55.75 points per game this year, well ahead of the District 9 record of 47.79 set by Port Allegany last season … Brockway became just the fourth team to score on Clarion’s defense this year joining Karns City (7), Keystone (19) and Brookville (13). The Bobcats have recorded eight shutouts, the second most in the District playoff-era, on the season … The Clarion-Redbank Valley matchup will just be the second time in D9 Class A history that a pair of Little 12 or KSAC teams have met for the title. In 1990, Clarion-Limestone beat Clarion 14-7 in overtime. Both teams were members of the Little 12, which eventually became the KSAC, that season.
CLARION 56, BROCKWAY 12
Score by Quarters
Brockway 0 0 6 6 – 12
Clarion 15 27 0 14 – 56
C – Tanner Corbett52 run (Brendan Mille run), 5:56
C – Destin Strauser 1 run (Antonio Troese kick), 1:25
C – Ian Corbett 55 run (Troese kick), 9:18
C – Cody Hearst 17 pass from Tyler Allen (Troese kick), 5:09
C – T. Corbett 49 pass from John Katis (Troese kick), 2:24
C – Hearst 18 pass from Katis (Troese kick blocked), 2:10
B – Anthony Benson 13 run (pass failed), 9:04
C – Damien Slike 9 run (Troese kick), 11:55
C – Slike 97 run (Troese kick), 6:48
B – Jake Foradori 1 pass from Alec Shaffer-Doan (pass failed), 4:32
First Downs 16 15
Rushes-Yards 24-50 26-308
Passing Yards 179 219
Passes: Comp-Att-Int 22-40-2 8-12-0
Total Yards 229 527
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 4-40
Punts-Avg. 5-29.6 2-43
Rushing – Brockway: Anthony Benson 3-41, Mike Martino 6-14, Mark Latuska 1-negative 1, Chad Perrin 1-negative 2, Alec Shaffer-Doan 13-negative 2. Clarion: Damien Slike 11-169, Ian Corbett 7-80, Tanner Corbett 3-54, Tyler Allen 3-5, Destin Strauser 1-1, Team 1-negative 1.
Passing – Brockway: Alec Shaffer-Doan 22-for-40, 179 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions. Clarion: John Katis 6-for-10, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns. Tyler Allen 1-for-1, 17 yards, 1 touchdown. Antonio Troese 1-for-1, 12 yards.
Receiving – Brockway: Anthony Benson 10-87, Anthony Isabella 5-44, Jack Glasl 3-16, Jake Foradori 2-6, Mike Martino 1-16, Chad Perrin 1-12. Clarion: Cody Hearst 4-103, Damien Slike 2-55, Tanner Corbett 1-49, Matt Verne 1-12.
Interceptions – Clarion 2 (Brendan Miller, Thomas Plummer).