Clarion, PA  –  Clarion University will open its 2012 football season with a little added incentive on Thursday, August 30th  at Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m.. The Golden Eagles will host WVIAC rival Fairmont State with the game telecast “live” on the ROOT Sports Network (Pittsburgh), which will air across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and parts of New York and Ohio. (check your local cable/satellite listings).

The Sportsfever Television Network, headed by Gorden Blain, will produce the telecast for ROOT Sports.

“We look forward to the start of the 2012 football season and I can’t think of any better way to do that than to tee it up with our friends from Fairmont,” said Clarion Athletic Director Dave Katis. “This has been a great non-conference rivalry and it continues to grow. No better way to start the 2012 season than two hard working teams squaring off on a hot August night.” Katis is starting his eighth year as Clarion’s A.D.

“We are extremely happy to be a part of the opening of the 2012 football season on ROOT Sports against Clarion,” said Rusty Elliott, Fairmont State Director of Athletics. “It’s going to be an exciting night of football that will be a great showcase and exposure for our school and NCAA Division II. We’re thankful for our partners at Clarion and the SportsFever Television Network for working with us and making this happen, and we can’t wait to turn on the lights and get started on that Thursday night.”

Clarion will be opening its 7th season under head coach Jay Foster.  The Golden Eagles return 18 starters and 39 lettermen in 2012. Last year Clarion was 3-8 over, while posting a 4-7 mark in 2010. Foster’s best team in blue and gold came in 2009 when Clarion was 8-3 overall and 6-1 in the PSAC-Western Division. The Golden Eagles were ranked 8th in the final NCAA Div. II Super Region 1 Poll, narrowly missing the D-II Playoffs. Foster was named PSAC-West “Coach of the Year”.

Fairmont is led by sixth year head coach Mike Lopez, who sports a coaching record of 26-29. The Falcons were an impressive 7-4 overall last year and 4-4 in the WVIAC. A total of 14 starters and 25 lettermen return for FSU.

Clarion and Fairmont State have played 17 times in the series history which dates back to 1982. Clarion leads the series 10-7 entering the August 30th season opener for both teams. Last year Fairmont won a 31-17 decision at FSU, while two years ago at Memorial Stadium, FSU rallied from a 16-7 third quarter deficit to beat  Clarion 27-16. Clarion’s last win in the series came at FSU in 2009 by a 33-21 margin. The two schools have been playing regularly since 2007. Fairmont won 21-14 in 2007 and 23-20 in Clarion in 2008.

From 1982-91 the two schools were also regulars on the overall schedule with Clarion posting a 7-3 advantage. Clarion won the first five meetings including 1982 (24-12), 1983 (21-17), 1984 (21-13), 1985 (7-2) and 1986 (14-0). Fairmont won three straight starting in 1987 (14-8), 1988 (26-25) and 1989 (51-38), before the Golden Eagles answered with wins in 1990 (31-14) and 1991 (24-21). Clarion also won games in 1994 (29-19) and 1995 (48-13).

CLARION NOTES: Leading the way for the Golden Eagles in 2012 will be captains Ben Fiscus (QB) and Mike Felker (OT) on the offense, along with captain Anthony Stimac (DB) and linebacker Nate Sipes on the defense.