CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion football team went into the halftime break with a 20-17 lead, but a second half dominated by the defenses led to a 29-20 Bloomsburg victory on Saturday. The Golden Eagles (0-2, 0-0 PSAC West) will host Shippensburg next week.
The Golden Eagles held the Huskies to just 315 yards of total offense, including a paltry 114 yards in the second half. The defense once again stepped up in the turnover game, with Myles Edmonds notching his second pick of the season and Alec Heldreth recovering a fumble. However, the Huskies dominated time of possession in the second half, finishing with 37:07 total time with the ball and limiting the Clarion defense while adding 12 points of their own. Both teams struggled with penalties, combining for 28 infractions and 297 penalty yards.
Quarterback Asiantii Woulard finished 13-of-31 passing for 175 yards and two touchdowns, including a gorgeous strike to Greg Leonard late in the second quarter to put Clarion ahead 20-17. Leonard led all receivers in the game with 61 yards receiving, doing so on three catches. Clay Byerly added the other Golden Eagle touchdown. James Metzgar made a pair of field goal attempts, the first two of his career.
Defensively, Layne Skundrich had the game-high in tackles for the second straight game, totaling 14 stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. Colton McKay and Quinlin Lambert both finished with 10 tackles, while Lambert and Tyrone Archie combined for a sack of Bloomsburg’s Chris Palubinsky.
Metzgar started the game with a 33-yard field goal but Bloomsburg responded with two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter, taking a 14-3 lead after Palubinsky found Aaron Allison in the endzone with 1:58 left in the period. Metzgar booted another through the uprights early in the second quarter to make it 14-6, and the Golden Eagle offense began to find its rhythm.
“Rhythm” was the key word for Clarion’s first touchdown drive, as Woulard found one with his receivers in moving the team 71 yards down the field for the score. He completed four straight passes on the drive, starting with a 20-yard gain by Seneca Williams and a 12-yarder to Byerly to enter deep into Husky territory. He closed out the drive with a perfect pass to Byerly on a slant, notching his first touchdown pass as a Golden Eagle to cut the lead to 14-13.
His second score of the game came as Clarion took advantage of a Bloomsburg gaffe late in the second half. The Huskies forced a Clarion punt, but Chris Monaco got too much of Metzgar coming in for the block and was called for roughing the kicker. Woulard wasted zero time, firing a strike to Leonard for a 44-yard touchdown that gave Clarion a 20-17 edge at the break.
The Huskies added a field goal in the third quarter to tie it, however, and their potent running attack began to wear down the Clarion defense. The dagger came in the final minute of regulation, when Palubinsky capped a 12-play, 50-yard, 5:50-long drive with a one-yard rush to make it 29-20.