PBL football loses 34-13 to Clifton Central

PAXTON — Clifton Central defeated Paxton-Buckley-Loda 34-13 in a battle for the Sangamon Valley Conference lead. 
“Credit goes to Clifton Central,” PBL head coach Jeff Graham said. “They just wanted it more than we did and played better than us in every aspect of the game tonight. They came out and played. They were physical. They played really well."
The Panthers (5-2, 3-1 SVC) trailed 22-0 with less than a minute left in the first half before Gunner Belt found Mason Ecker along the right sideline for a 37-yard gain on a third-and-7. On the next play, Belt connected with Ecker again for a 28-yard touchdown with 18.7 seconds left in the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, a 77-yard reception by Hunter Anderson set up a 1-yard touchdown run by T.J. Jones that cut PBL’s deficit to 28-13.
Jones went out with an injury after his touchdown run, and never returned. The Panthers were already playing without fellow running back Kyle Poll, who got injured the previous week against Salt Fork.
“We was kind of a game-time decision this week, and he just wasn’t ready to go for this week," Graham said. "Hopefully, he is next week.”
The Comets (5-2, 4-0) answered back wiith a 77-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Meier, which was one of three touchdown passes tossed by Jay Lemenager, who also ran for a score.
“That quarterback is good,” Graham said. “He threw that ball right on the money all the time. He’s a good player, and he had some nice receivers.”
The first of Lemenager's touchdown passes followed a PBL turnover.
After the Panthers' defense forced a three-and-out on Clifton Central's opening possession, PBL took over on the Comets' 38-yard line, but on the second play of the Panthers' first possession, Jacob Shoven intercepted a pass by Gunner Belt.
Clifton Central drove 90 yards on 12 plays on its ensuing possession -- including a 23-yard reception by Canyon Burrow that moved the ball to PBL's 40-yard line and a personal foul penalty called on the Panthers that put the ball on the 25-yard line. The drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown reception by Shoven with 5:26 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, Lemenager connected with Canyon Burrow for a 71-yard touchdown reception with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
After Ecker returned the ensuing kickoff to PBL's own 41-yard line, Clifton Central's Garrett Graham sacked Belt on a third-and-7 on the Comets' 43-yard line, forcing PBL to punt.
The Comets drove to PBL's 18-yard line on their next possession, but Austin Gooden recovered a fumble before returning the scoop-up 41 yards to Clifton Central's 40-yard line.
After a run by Hunter Anderson on second-and-5 moved the ball to the Comets' 23-yard line, PBL turned the ball over on downs as Anderson and Jones each ran for a loss of a yard before Belt threw two incomplete passes.
After PBL's Dalton Busboom sacked Lemenager on second-and-8 for a loss of eight yards, Lemenager completed a pass to Chandler Burrow for a gain of 46 yards on third down.
After Canyon Burrow caught a pass on first down to move the ball to the Panthers' 20-yard line. Chandler and Canyon Burrow each caught a pass to move the ball to the 3-yard line.
After Garrett Graham was tackled by PBL's Tristan Hauersperger for a loss of two yards, the Panthers were called for a pass-interference penalty on second down.
On the next play, Dane Thorne scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left in the second quarter.
After Ecker's second-quarter touchdown reception cut PBL's deficit to 22-6, the Panthers had the ball to start the second half, but two errant snaps forced PBL to punt on fourth-and-26.
"We made mistakes, and we continued to make mistakes. We missed blocks," Jeff Graham said. "Those are the things that we can control and we have  to try to clean up.”
The Comets drove to PBL's 9-yard line on their ensuing drive, but Keyn Humes intercepted a pass and returned the pick to the Panthers' own 47-yard line.
PBL went three-and-out on their next possession before a reception by Shoven and a run by Thorne put the ball at midfield for Clifton Central. 
Busboom tackled Thorne for a loss of yards after a 7-yard reception by Canyon Burrow before Lemenager threw an incomplete pass on third-and-5, forcing the Comets to punt.
A 27-yard reception by Anderson on third-and-13 moved the ball to PBL's own 45-yard line. but runs by Belt and Jones netted no yards before an incomplete pass forced the Panthers to punt.
On the second play of Clifton Central's ensuing drive, Lemenager scampered 67 yards for a touchdown with 45.7 seconds left in the third quarter.
After Lemenager's third touchdown pass, Kodie Willis recovered a fumble to Clifton Central the ball back on PBL's 35-yard line. The Comets turned the ball over on downs before the Panthers went three-and-out on their ensuing possession.
The Comets started their next drive on their own 5-yard line with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter and would not relinquish possession for the rest of the game.

Clifton Central 34, PBL 13
CC  14  8  6  6  -- 34
PBL  0  6  7  0  -- 13
Scoring summary
C -- Shoven 9 pass from Lemenager (pass failed)
C -- Canyon Burrow 71 pass from Lemenager (Willis pass from Lemenager)
C -- Thorne 2 run (Canyon Burrow pass from Lemenager)
P -- Ecker 28 pass from Belt (kick failed)
C -- Lemenager 67 run (conversion failed)
P -- Jones 1 run (Humes kick)
C -- Meier 71 pass from Lemenager (conversion failed)

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports


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