BY MIKE RILEY
The Providence Pioneers dominated host Clarksville from the beginning Friday to avenge last season’s loss in the city championship game, capturing a dominant 62-12 win one week before the start of postseason play.
“Clarksville played hard, that’s what they always do. We were just the better team tonight,” Providence (6-3) coach Larry Denison said. “We were able to make some plays, but it all starts with our defense.”
A full moon shrouded the football field throughout the contest, but it was the Pioneers who looked like they transitioned into warewolves on the field. They simply smothered the Generals (0-9), holding top playmaker Marquise Parrish to only five yards on 11 carries. Parrish left the contest after injuring his right ankle following a kickoff return midway through the second quarter.
The only time the Generals stopped the Pioneers from scoring in the first half came when, following a Providence fumble recovery at the Clarksville 32 yard line with 7.3 seconds remaining in the first half, quarterback Luke Fougerousse took a knee to send the game into intermission.
Dorian Noel scored three touchdowns in the first half, two on runs of 37 and 15 yards and another on a 35-yard interception return as Clarksville quarterback Andrew Wright targeted receiver Jonathan Booth early in the second quarter.
The score was 55-6 at the end of the first half.
Clarksville did have a few bright spots during the first half. After Jacob Spencer recovered a fumble at the Clarksville 20 for a touchdown and 14-0 Providence lead,
Andrew Wright fielded the Providence kickoff at the 30 and immediately lateralled the ball to Parrish, who returned the football to the Providence 8, but the Generals failed to convert that field position into a score.
They would reach the scoreboard late in the first half when tight end Conner Bailey caught a 16-yard touchdown grab to Wright that made the score 41-6 Providence.
Following the contest, Clarksville coach Steve Cooley said his team, which is hampered by injuries, was simply outclassed by the Pioneers, who have won five straight games.
“You can see where we’re at,” Cooley said, noting four of his players were walking off the field on crutches, including Parrish, who was named the game’s MVP for Clarksville. “We are like a walking M.A.S.H. unit. You have to stay healthy to be able to compete against a team that’s playing as good as Providence is right now. It’s been our struggle all year.”
Cooley credited Wright and running back Nate Knight, who rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, for shouldering the load.
“Those kids have stepped in and done a good job, and they’re going to have to do it next week for us,” Cooley said.
Clarksville hosts Crawford County (2-8) — an 18-0 winner over Indianapolis Washington on Friday — in the opening round of 2A sectional play next Friday.
As for the Pioneers, they’re probably the hottest team in the area. After dropping three of their first four games to begin the season, they’ve been impressive in wins over Jeffersonville, Mitchell, Charlestown and Clarksville.
Their first win in the string came as a result of a forfeit against Indianapolis Manual — their opponent next week at Murphy Stadium.
“It was turnovers [in losses to New Albany and Floyd Central] that hurt us early in the season, and we’ve been able to hold onto the football and get back to playing Providence-style football,” Denison said when asked about the key to the team’s success of late. “Hopefully we’ll be able to continue that next week and after that.”
Providence senior quarterback Owen Mattingly, who scored on a 1-yard touchdown late in the first quarter and had five carries for 74 yards, was named Providence’s MVP. The Generals and Pioneers will both kickoff at 7 p.m. next week.
PROVIDENCE 62, CLARKSVILLE 12
Providence 27 28 0 0—62
Clarksville 0 6 6 0—12
P — Dorian Noel 37 run (Koetter kick); 9:24.
P — Jacob Spencer 20 fumble return (Koetter kick); 7:51.
P — Matt Bell 10 run (kick failed); 4:30.
P — Owen Mattingly 1 run (Koetter kick); 2:27.
P — Noel 15 run (Koetter kick); 9:51.
P — Noel 35 yard interception return (Koetter kick); 7:26.
C — Conner Bailey 16 pass from Andrew Wright (pass failed); 5:49.
P — Connor Johnson 18 run (Koetter kick); 5:07.
P — Bell 1 run (Koetter kick); 1:25.
P — Luke Fougerousse 33 run (Koetter kick); 8:53.
C — Nate Knight 30 run (pass failed): 9:30.
Clarksville: Wright 6-16-49-1.
Providence: Bell 4-58; Mattingly 5-74; Hauber 2-13; Johnson 2-27, Hayes 5-48, Noel 3-115, Fougerousse 1-33, Oberhausen 3-4, Conrad 2-6.
Clarksville: Wright 6-19; Parrish 11-5; Knight 14-69.
Clarksville: Booth 5-33; Bailey 1-16.