Westinghouse’s quick-strike attack downs Central Clarion in PIAA 1st round

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Friday, November 17, 2023 | 11:41 PM


CLARION – Westinghouse continued its march in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs by outscoring high-scoring Central Clarion, 46-30, Friday at PennWest-Clarion.

The Bulldogs (11-0) overcame a sluggish first half and numerous penalties to reach the next round against the winner of Saturday’s District 10 championship game between Farrell and Mercyhurst Prep.

Ty Abrams rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns, and Lloyd Penn caught two passes for 72 yards and intercepted two passes. His catches set up two touchdowns, and his 61-yard interception return gave the Bulldogs a cushion to protect the lead.

“I think we took a page out of their playbook,” Westinghouse coach Donta Green said. “He talked about how they like to wear teams down. I think we did that to them on some of those long runs. We kept pounding away.”

Central Clarion, a co-op of three schools, came into the game averaging 59 points per game. But the Wildcats couldn’t keep up with the quick Bulldogs ground game, especially in the second half.

Quarterback Kahlil Green rushed for 133 yards and added a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Westinghouse had to overcome numerous penalties in the first quarter to grab a 7-0 lead. Ty Abram scored on a 3-yard run after made a diving catch of 39 yards from Green.

Central Clarion, which struggled against the Westinghouse defense, eventually found a rhythm. Quarterback Jase Ferguson hit Kohen Kemmer for 20 yards and then connected for another 20 yards to Mason Burford to move the ball to the Westinghouse 7.

Another Westinghouse penalty — it was penalized 12 times in the first half — pushed the ball to the 3. From there, Ferguson plowed his way into the end zone. Ferguson ran for the 2-point conversion to make it 8-7.

Late in the first half, Westinghouse got its running game going, driving 61 yards in 13 plays with Green scoring on a 1-yard plunge on the final play of the half. Green ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 15-8 lead at halftime.

Things got crazy in the second half as the Bulldogs busted some big plays. Ayron Pride started it off with a 56-yard score, and moments later, Penn picked off a tipped pass and returned it 61 yards for a score to increase the Westinghouse lead to 27-8.

“Getting the late score in the first half and scoring quickly in the third quarter was huge,” Green said. “We felt we had to be relentless. We just kept coming.”

The teams traded scores the rest of the way. Ferguson, who passes for 209 yards and rushed for 110, connected on touchdown passes to Tommy Smith (12 and 64 yards) and Mason Burford (36 yards).

Ferguson ended the season with 46 touchdown passes.

“We’re a young team and some of those scores were blown coverages,” Green said. “It’s something we have to continue to work on. We get another week to do that.”

The District 9 champions wanted to use this game as revenge for it 44-8 loss to Westinghouse last year, but every time Central Clarion scored, Westinghouse answered.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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