SHEFFIELD TWP. — Black River couldn’t stop Clearview through the air Friday night.
Roger Engle set a Lorain County record with 517 passing yards and tied a county record with six passing touchdowns.
The Clippers couldn’t stop the Pirates on the ground.
Black River rushed for 516 yards.
The ground attack beat the air assault, and the Pirates walked out of Clearview with a 64-60 Patriot Athletic Conference crossover victory.
“I’ve been part of blowouts on the winning end, I’ve been part of blowouts on the losing end, I’ve never been a part of a shootout like this,” Black River senior running back Andrew Vaughn said. “It’s a great thing to be a part of when you come out on top, though.”
Every time the Clippers (2-3, 0-2 PAC) needed a big play they turned to Lance Billings, who accounted for six catches and 203 yards, and Gerrell Williams, who led the team with 10 catches and piled up 175 yards.
“Lance and Gerrell are just freaks of nature,” Engle said. “Every time I give them the ball they just make something happen. I’m very proud of them.”
Black River (3-2, 2-0) had three runners hit the 100-yard mark, led by Vaughn’s 206 yards on 18 carries. Colin Filak and David Bell also had monster days. Filak rushed for 162 yards on 22 carries, and Bell amounted for 123 on 20.
“Our offensive line is where it starts, they did a great job blocking for us,” Bell said. “Our backs hit the hole hard and we did everything we can to get some yards.”
After 11 lead changes, the Pirates forced a critical stop with Clearview facing a fourth-and-6. Engle lost control of a high snap and had to force it over the middle of the field. Black River took over on the Clearview 24 and six plays later Vaughn gave the Pirates a 12-point lead with a 14-yard run.
High snaps were a consistent problem for the Clippers. Leading 8-0 Clearview recovered a Black River fumble on its first offensive play. The Clippers methodically marched down the field 55 yards to the 2, but on first-and-goal the snap sailed over Engle’s head and the Pirates recovered on their 34.
During a series where the Clippers started on the Black River 35 and wound up punting from their 24, a high snap accounted for a 15-yard loss.
“It killed a couple of drives we should have had,” Engle said. “But we can’t just (blame) that, that’s not just our fault. We bounced back from it and we tried and tried and tried.”
Clearview was also flagged 12 times for 80 yards.
“It was silly stuff,” Clearview coach Mike Collier said. “Hands getting on the face mask, things like that. They do add up and obviously they are costly.”
The Clippers put together a strong two-minute drill that ended with Engle finding Williams for an 11-yard touchdown plus a 2-point conversion that pulled Clearview within four with 51 seconds left. Black River stopped the rally when it recovered the onside kick.
“Defensively we were absolutely atrocious,” Black River coach Al Young said. “Tackling is what really bothers me. Getting beat is one thing, they have great receivers, so take nothing away from them. But our tackling is atrocious and that’s got to be addressed full-throttle on Monday.”
EXTRA YARDAGE: After a Clearview score, Black River was flagged for a personal foul that the Clippers elected to enforce on the kickoff. The Clippers were lined up to kick from the Black River 35, 10 yards closer than the penalty would have allowed. Luckily, the officials noticed their error and moved the ball back to the 45-yard line.
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.