CLARION, Pa. -- Clarion’s Ben Fiscus connected with Mark Nicholas on a 27-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and the Golden Eagle defense pitched a shutout to defeat Fairmont State, 7-0, in the season-opener at Memorial Stadium.
Fiscus had an efficient night going 14-of-21 for 136 yards and a touchdown passing and added 77 yards on the ground to pace the Golden Eagle offense. Bobby Thomas added 80 yards on the ground for Clarion.
Fairmont State quarterback Bobby Vega had a solid first outing in a Falcon uniform connecting on 27-of-47 passes for 321 yards. He was intercepted twice. His favorite targets were Chris St. Hilaire who had eight catches for 108 yards and C.J. Goodwin who added six grabs for 55 yards.
Clarion’s defense was led by Andrew Paronish who had six tackles, a fumble recovery, and a fourth quarter interception he returned for 27 yards.
Fairmont State’s defense was paced by Scott Davidson who had eight total tackles and Daniel Strosnider who had four tackles and interception.
The Falcons held the edge in total offense, 355-291, but were penalized 11 times for 120 yards in the game. Clarion was flagged seven times for 95 yards. The Golden Eagles stifled the Fairmont State running game holding the Falcons to just 34 yards on 30 carries in the game.
Neither team made it into the red zone until the third quarter when FSU got to the Clarion 17 on its initial drive of the half. However, a penalty and a sack stalled the drive and the Falcons had to settle for a punt. The Golden Eagles countered on the ensuing drive marching 84 yards down for the score as Fiscus found Nicholas in tight coverage on a 27-yard score.
Clarion looked to put the game away late in the fourth quarter as it lined up for a field goal, but Scott Davidson came off the edge and blocked the attempt to give FSU one last chance on offense. The Falcons worked the way down to the Clarion 8-yard line, but were moved back on a holding play to the 15.
Facing third-and-goal, Vega’s pass to St. Hilaire was low and incomplete. With just 22 seconds left, Vega heaved an attempt in the back of the end zone where the pass was batted down by Clarion’s Jason Peterson to preserve the victory for the Golden Eagles.
Fairmont State will look to bounce back next Thursday night on the road at Glenville State for the WVIAC opener.