ERIE - The Eagles may not want to hear the name Cornelius Barclay for a while.
Mercyhurst Prep's senior running back exploded for 323 yards on 15 carries and four touchdowns as the Lakers defeated the Eagles 48-18 on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Stadium.
"He's one of the best running backs in District 10, if not the best," said Youngsville coach Luke Alex, whose banged-up Eagles fall to 1-4, and 1-3 in Region 2. "He's a great player."
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Youngsville's James Funkhouser (10), Jaykup Durlin (52), and Skyler Wolfe (4) team up to make a tackle during a 48-18 Region 2 loss to Mercyhurst Prep on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Stadium in Erie.
Last year, the eventual-Region 2 champion Eagles beat Mercyhurst Prep and fans stormed Mike Shine Field after one of the biggest wins in school history. Barclay was held to 55 yards on 17 carries in that one. He wasn't held much at all this time.
While it was Barclay who stole the show, it was his teammate Ryan Connor who started the scoring with a seven-yard run.
With Mercyhurst (3-2, 3-1) pinned inside its own 20-yard line, Youngsville swung the momentum in its direction when linebacker Skyler Wolfe intercepted a Nick Evanoff pass and returned it 32 yards for the Eagles first touchdown.
It would take exactly 13 seconds for the Lakers to answer.
Following the kickoff, Barclay took the first play from scrimmage 65 yards for touchdown number one of his monster day.
Barclay struck again to start the second quarter with a 14-yard run to put Mercyhurst up 21-6, but the Eagles weren't about to go quietly.
With time ticking away in the half, Jacob Lauffenburger found Mike Hamrick from 12 yards out for the first of two touchdown connections between the duo, the second coming at the start of the third quarter.
From there, it was all Prep.
The Lakers scored 27 unanswered points to put the Eagles down for good and secure the win in front of the Erie crowd.
Youngsville was bit by several injuries to key players early in the game. Senior rushers Jordan Gurdak and Rocco Gatta, who have seen the majority of the carries so far this season, were lost in the first half. The second half saw T.J. Hardy and Mike Hamrick go down, forcing coach Alex to use many of his players in new positions.
"I think if we would have been full-go it could have been a different game," said Alex.
Lauffenburger, who stepped into the starting role after an injury to Jake Marino earlier in the year, led the offense with 152 passing yards and 39 more on the ground. Gatta picked up 22 yards before leaving the game, and Dan McLaughlin, normally a wide receiver, chipped in another 22.
Youngsville - Mercyhurst Prep Stats
M - Ryan Connor 7 yard run, 9:37; Cornelius Barclay kick
Y - Skyler Wolfe 32 yard interception return, 4:55; Extra point blocked
M - Cornelius Barclay 65 yard run, 4:42; Cornelius Barclay kick
M - Cornelius Barclay 14 yard run, 7:24; Cornelius Barclay kick
Y - Jacob Lauffenburger 12 yard pass to Mike Hamrick, 0:23; 2-pt. conversion failed
Y - Jacob Lauffenburger 39 yard pass to Mike Hamrick, 9:53; 2-pt. conversion failed
M - Nick Evanoff 15 yard pass to Ryan Connor, 6:29; Cornelius Barclay kick
M - Thomas Higgins 3 yard run, 3:20; Cornelius Barclay kick
M - Cornelius Barclay 58 yard run, 0:00; Extra point missed
M - Cornelius Barclay 55 yard run, 9:26; Cornelius Barclay kick
RUSHING- Y - Jacob Lauffenburger 15-39, Dan McLaughlin 8-22, Rocco Gatta 8-22, Jordan Gurdak 3-10, TJ Hardy 2-1; M - Cornelius Barclay 15-323 4TD, Ryan Connor 7-136 1TD, Daavon Davis 4-27, Thomas Higgins 8-20 1TD, Scott Goring 4-13, D'Ayrus Davis 2-7, Nick Evanoff 2-6, Matthew Humes 2-(-6).
PASSING- Y - Jacob Lauffenburger 6/11-152 2TD; M - Nick Evanoff 1/3-15 1TD.
RECEIVING -- Y - Andy Kerr 2-59, Mike Hamrick 2-51 2TD, TJ Hardy 1-31, Dan McLaughlin 1-11; M - Ryan Connor 1-15.