A notice has been served in Region 1: Conneaut is beginning to mesh.
Getting another spectacular performance from their workhorse quarterback/running back Hunter Merritt, the Eagles notched their first league win Friday night with a 21-14 upset victory over Mercer.
It was Conneaut’s (3-3, 1-3 Region 1) second straight impressive “W” as the Eagles knocked off Region 6 power General McLane, 41-40 last week.
Mercer dropped to 3-2 in the league.
Conneaut coach Pat Gould is beginning to crack that smile more and more.
“Yeah, we’re coming around,” he said. “We ran the ball extremely well against Mercer ... in which I thought we could. We should have scored more points, but we hurt ourselves in the red zone.”
Gould has another reason to feel giddy. A player by the name of Merritt.
Basically putting the Eagles on his back, Merritt was too much for Mercer as the sophomore sensation rushed for 252 yards on 35 carries and scored all three of CASH’s touchdowns.
“Hunter ran hard,” said Gould, who had a surprised reaction when told of Merritt’s 252 yards.
Gould’s game plan was also to get Merritt’s backfield partner Elijah Anderson into the flow. The powerful Anderton also played a key part with 99 yards rushing on 22 hauls.
After a scoreless first quarter, Conneaut put up 14 points within one minute at the beginning of the second period.
Keyed by a 19-yard completion from Merritt to split end Taylor Williams on fourth-and-15, the Eagles marched 79 yards on 10 plays as Merritt finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.
After CASH’s Clay Bortner recovered a Mercer fumble, Merritt burst through the middle on the first play from scrimmage and scored on a 35-yard run to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead with 9:00 left in the first half.
Behind quarterback Logan Clarke’s strong right arm, the Mustangs answered on their ensuing possession as halfback Luke Leonard dove into the end zone from the 1.
On the 75-yard, 10-play drive, Clarke completed five of seven passes for 68 yards.
After four unsuccessful series in the second half, Conneaut found its first-half rhythm again at the beginning of the fourth quarter as Merritt broke off 12- and 9-yard runs before crossing the goal line on an 18-yard run to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead.
Mercer also struggled at the outset of the second half. During one stretch, Clarke threw 13 consecutive incompletions.
“We were showing him different looks and I think we confused him,” said Gould.
Clarke shook off his early second-half inaccuracy.
On the ensuing possession after CASH scored, the Mustangs got within 21-14 as Clarke hooked up with T.J. Peters on an eight-yard scoring play.
Conneaut then successfully milked time off the clock — chewing up eight minutes as the Eagles marched to Mercer’s 12.
On fourth-and-eight with 1:40 left in the game, Merritt threw an incompletion — giving Mercer one last shot.
Completing screens and short crossing patterns, Mercer drove the ball to Conneaut’s 21 with 43 seconds left in the game.
Williams, a linebacker on the Eagles’ ‘D’, then spoiled the Mustangs’ comeback bid as he drilled Clarke in the back and forced a fumble.
A notice has been served in Region 1: Conneaut is beginning to mesh.
Scots top Knights for PSAC crown
Home sweet home.
Edinboro University’s Valerie Majewski, the former General McLane standout who returned to the ’Boro this season after two years at the University of Buffalo, was in her old comfort zone Sunday afternoon.
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Austin Hollins had 14 points and three steals in his last scheduled home game, a fitting senior spark for the Golden Gophers in an 81-63 victory over Penn State on Sunday to set up a rematch between these teams in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
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He wore black pants and a red shirt, his Sunday colors. He took a lead into the final round, quickly expanded it with a pair of birdies and then relied on his short game to keep everyone chasing him. He even played it safe off the 18th tee, caring more about the trophy than the final score.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
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