Special for Gant Daily by Dave Colhocker
In a night of many firsts, the Clearfield Area Bison opened their new field with quite a performance against the St. Joan of Arc Angels. As always with the first game of a new season, you never know what to expect, especially when you are replacing a lot of starters on offense. Amid the chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.”, Clearfield was able to put away the feisty Canadian team 35-20. This was also the first time a team from Canada crossed the border to play a game in Clearfield, and the Bison marching band performed a stunning rendition of ‘O, Canada’ for our guests.
The star of the night was QB/LB #4 Christian Lezzer, as he had a hand in all five of Clearfield’s touchdowns. He scored in four different ways: rushing, passing, receiving and he returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also had lots of help from WR #28 Trey Jordan who hauled in both of Lezzer’s TD passes. #3 Tyler Woomer also played some QB for the Bison as he completed a beautiful fade route to Lezzer in the corner of the end zone. Clearfield controlled the line of scrimmage all night on both offense and defense as they held the Angels to 160 yards of offense through the first three quarters.
The first quarter started off with the Bison on defense and after a three and out, they got their offense started early. When their first drive stalled on the 13 yard line, coach Janocko kept the ball in Lezzer’s hands and he scored on a 4th and 1 keeper to make the score 7-0. Just as the Angels were starting to get some confidence on offense, #77 Jon Janocko came up with a big sack to stall their drive. The rest of the first quarter featured some nice plays, but no one was able to find the end zone.
The second quarter is when Clearfield started to hit their stride. Their next scoring drive started out with a slick 20 yard run by Lezzer. On second down and 10, Lezzer dropped back and threw a gorgeous 54 yard bomb down the sideline to Jordan. After an interception by #22 Tyler Stratton, Lezzer struck again with a 29 yard touchdown pass to Jordan. On the ensuing kickoff St. Joan’s William Pitt-Doe returned the kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown. After Clearfield punted on its next possession, the Angels got the ball back deep in their own territory with less than a minute left in the half. On the first play of the drive Angels QB #7 Nate Hobbs dropped back to make a pass. Unfortunately for him he was greeted by Lezzer in the backfield. All in one move, Lezzer stripped the ball, scooped it up and scored on the 3 yard fumble return, making the score Clearfield 28 St Joan’s 6 at the half.
The third quarter featured little scoring, but Clearfield ran plenty of time off the clock so they could get their big lead to the 4th quarter. Clearfield’s first drive of the half showed promise as they drove it deep into St. Joan’s territory, but a fumble recovered in the end zone stalled that drive. Clearfield’s next drive was a real work of art. Coach Janocko kept putting fresh bodies in the backfield and ramming the ball down the field run after run. After some issues with cramps Lezzer finished off the drive by making a difficult catch, on a pass from Woomer, in the end zone to make the score 35-6 going into the fourth quarter.
With the game well in hand, Clearfield focused on running time off the clock in the fourth quarter. The Angels were able to put a few late touchdowns on the board to make the final score 35-20. #28 Brandon Gordon ran a 7 yard touchdown in with 5:58 left in the game. With just seconds left in the game Hobbs completed a 21 yard touchdown to #6 Tim Nichols, setting the final score.
Leading the way on the ground for Clearfield was Christian Lezzer with 94 yards rushing and #22 Tyler Stratton with 76 yards. WR Trey Jordan led the team with 114 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Lezzer and Woomer combined to throw for 159 yards and three touchdowns. The Bison outgained the Angels 421-318. All in all, it was a great way to open the new field and the new season for the Bison.
Clearfield (1-0) will travel to Penns Valley (0-1) to take on the Rams Friday night September 7.
See photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/083112Game.html
St. Joan of Arc 0 6 0 14 20
Clearfield 7 21 7 0 35
Lezzer, 13 yard TD Run (Herrington kick)
Lezzer to Jordan, 54 yards (Herrington kick)
Lezzer to Jordan, 29 yards (Herrington kick)
Pitt-Doe, 78 yard kickoff return
Lezzer, 3 yard fumble return (Herrington kick)
Woomer to Lezzer, 16 yards (Herrington kick)
Gordon, 7 yard TD run (Hobbs run)
Hobbs to Nichols, 21 yards