2010 Season: 4-7 (3-4 PSAC West, T-4th)
2010 Overall Offensive Rank: 8th
2010 Overall Defensive Rank: 7th
Returning Letterwinners: 40
Returning Starters (Offense/Defense): 6/10
2011 Predicted Finish (PSAC Pre-Season Poll): 7th PSAC West
Key games to watch: September 24 vs. California (Pa.), October 15 vs. Indiana (Pa.)
After losing their first five games of the 2010 season, the Golden Eagles bounced back with wins over Lock Haven, Indiana (Pa.), Gannon and Millersville to finish 4-7 (3-4 PSAC West). Quarterback struggles combined with injuries to two key defensive players hurt Clarion, who had finished 8-3 (6-1 PSAC West) in 2009, earning head coach Jay Foster PSAC West Coach of the Year honors.
With nearly his entire starting defense and six of his offensive starters returning, Foster hopes to build on last season’s surge to throw a few surprises within the ultra-competitive PSAC West.
Sophomore Ben Fiscus took over for junior Eric Coxon midway through last season and led the Eagles a 4-2 finish. While Coxon is the more accurate thrower, his nine interceptions against three touchdowns led to the emergence of Fiscus. Fiscus, however, racked up 600 rushing yards and six touchdowns despite completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
The Eagles will have to compensate for the graduation of former PSAC West Offensive Player of the Year Alfonso Hoggard and two of their leading recievers. Junior John Fuhrer, who saw limited action last season, is expected to fill Hoggard’s shoes, while senior co-captain Matt Ward and sophomore Anthony Becoate are expected to be Fiscus’ leading targets among the wide recievers this season.
Defensively, the Eagles hope to improve upon a respectable seventh-ranked defense with five seniors among the 10 returning starters. Defensive end Barrington Morrison led the team with 10.5 sacks (tied for best in the PSAC) and 16.5 tackles for loss (3rd in the PSAC). John Hackel, who missed the entire 2010 season, and Ryan Slack anchor Clarion’s defensive front.
Another player who missed the 2010 season for Clarion is senior DB Shawn Sopic, who had 56 tackles and broke up seven passes in 2009.
The Eagles open the season at Fairmont (W.Va.) State tonight.
Sept. 1 at Fairmont (W.Va.) State
Sept. 10 vs. Bloomsburg
Sept. 17 at Shippensburg
Sept. 24 at California (Pa.)
Oct. 1 at Slippery Rock
Oct. 8 vs. Lock Haven
Oct. 15 vs. Indiana (Pa.)
Oct. 22 at Edinboro
Oct. 29 vs. Gannon
Nov. 5 vs. Mercyhurst
Nov. 12 at Millersville