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Clarion Pulls Away from SRU for 27-10 Win

Written by: on Friday, October 9th, 2009

If there is such a thing as a signature win in football, chalk one up for Clarion Golden Eagle coach Jay Foster.

Foster, a long-time assistant at Slippery Rock before taking over the reins of the Clarion program in 2006, brought his squad to N. Kerr Thompson Stadium Thursday night and walked off the field with a 27-10 win.

The Clarion win was Foster’s first in four tries against his former mentor and long-time Rock head coach Dr. George Mihalik.

“It was four long years, but it (the win) was also a little bittersweet, obviously, because I have a whole bunch of friends on this (SRU) staff“, said Foster. “With the things that George did for my family and I makes it feel like beating your own family. During the game, you get after it with the emotions and all, but at the same time, it is kind of bittersweet.”

On the other side of the dressing room, Mihalik didn’t offer any excuses for his club’s performance, giving Clarion credit for playing a solid football game.

“We have no excuses,” said Mihalik. “Give them credit because I think they wanted the game more than we did. They came at us, they played hard and at times, we were just going through the motions. He (Foster) is a good coach and he had his team ready to play.”

Many games at all levels of competition are decided by the play in the trenches, and for Clarion, that was the case as the Golden Eagles dominated play up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“Those kids that are playing for us (on the offensive line) have been playing for us for the last three years,” said Foster. “They have finally grown up and this is the point we were hoping they would get to. Although it seems that the defensive line is young, those guys have been playing for us for the last two or three years. I think we are just maturing and coming into our own to the point where they can hold their own up front. Although we do have some size, these kids aren’t big overall, but they just play hard and they believe in each other.”

Ditto Mihalik on the domination of the line play by Clarion.

“They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides,” noted Mihalik. “Their ‘D’ line controlled our ‘O’ line and vice versa. They just took it at us.”

The Rock held leads of 3-0 less than five minutes into the game on a 25-yard field goal by C.J. Bahr, but Clarion answered when Alfonso Hoggard scored his first of two touchdowns on a 19-yard run six minutes into the second period.

The Rock regained the lead with less than three minutes left in the first half when they only needed three plays to march 62 yards, the scoring play a 44-yard aerial connection between quarterback Rocco Colavecchia and H-Back Devin Goda. Bahr’s kick made it 10-7 SRU with 2:38 on the clock.

With one more chance to make something happen in the first half, the Golden Eagles took over on the Rock 46.

Ten plays later, Robert Mamula drilled a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the opening half for a 10-10 tie at halftime before the Golden Eagles dominated the second half to score 17 unanswered points for the win.

Doing the honors for Clarion in the 17-point assault were Daily Whitten with a 41-yard interception return for a TD, Hoggard followed when he blew up the middle for an 84-yard TD jaunt and Mamula completed the game scoring with 9-plus minutes remaining when he booted a 30-yard field goal.

En route to the win, Hoggard turned in an outstanding game as he finished with 205 yards on 33 carries and a pair of touchdowns. His 84-yard TD run in the third quarter was the longest run from scrimmage for a touchdown in Clarion history.

“It opened up just as we drew it up,” said Hoggard about his 84-yard run. “The O-line did a good job blocking, I got up into the hole and I just took off.”

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