SPRING MILLS-Winning on the road is critical for any football team to have a strong season. That was one of the messages Tim Janocko told his squad before they made the trip out to the Penns Valley High School to take on the hosting Rams. What he didn’t anticipate was the time of night his team would eventually shake the other team’s hands.
The Bison quickly got out to a lead, capitalizing on turnovers and great field position, but then had to wait out an over two-hour delay due to lightning to close out the game. It was well worth the wait as on offense and defense, the Bison were dominant as they shut down the Rams 47-0.
“We were clicking on all levels tonight,” Janocko said afterward. “Our offense made a statement early, and our defense created turnovers that led to points. It was just a great game for us on the road.”
Specifically, it was a great game for Clearfield’s Tyler Stratton. The junior running back was huge on both sides of the ball, finishing with 142 yards on the ground, including three touchdowns, 21 yards receiving, and also an interception on defense that led to points.
“Tyler had a big night, no question,” Janocko said. “He’s a hard worker and it shows on the field.”
Clearfield had a big night offensively, finishing with 303 yards of total offense, while holding Penns Valley to 138 total yards and forcing four turnovers. Quarterback Christian Lezzer had nearly a perfect night, only missing one pass, throwing for 80 yards, rushing for another 39, and two total touchdowns.
But, it was the defense that got the game off to a raging start. After deferring the opening kickoff, Penns Valley gained 8 on their opening play. But, on 2nd and 2, quarterback Cameron Tobias looked left for his receiver, but Stratton read the pattern as if it was out of the Clearfield playbook. He stepped right in front of the pass, taking the interception 36 yards to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, just 17 seconds after it began. Spencer Herrington added the extra point and Clearfield had the early 7-0 lead.
“Tyler’s interception return really set up how the night went,” Janocko said. “He made a great read on the pass and it set the tone for us defensively.”
Meanwhile, the interception really deflated the Penns Valley offense. At the end of the night, Tobias only completed 5 of 16 passes, throwing for only 47 yards.
Clearfield forced a punt on the second drive by Penns Valley, and started with the ball on the Rams’ side of the field. Lezzer completed his first two passes of the game, and capped off the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. The extra point made it 14-0, and it wasn’t yet halfway through the first quarter.
Following a fumble by Penns Valley on its first play on the third drive, Stratton got his second touchdown of the game two plays into Clearfield’s third drive. Another extra point by Herrington made it 21-0, and still there was 7:54 left in the first quarter.
The final score of the quarter once again came by Stratton, capping off an 8-play drive with another 1-yard plunge. The extra point was muffed, leaving a 27-0 margin entering the second frame.
Stratton got his fourth score of the night, ultimately his final one of the game, at the 9:21 mark in the second quarter with an 8-yard run into the end zone. At that point it was 34-0, but then it got interesting.
After Penns Valley completed a third-down conversion, the referees ordered players off the field. Lightning was close to the stadium, and the officials played it safe, having players return to the locker room and fans to their cars. So, the wait was on, as the PIAA mandates a 30-minute delay with lightning. The initial delay came at about 8:15, with the hope of the game getting started shortly before 9.
But, more lightning, more delays…and more lightning…more delays. Fans began wondering if the game was going to be postponed, or even called. But still, officials and coaches wanted to play. Finally, after nearly two hours of waiting, the players returned to the field at just past 10:15 to resume play, and the crowd was ecstatic to see their teams return to the field.
In the locker room, Janocko weighed the options for the game, but in the long run, he, along with coaches and players, wanted to play tonight rather than return tomorrow.
“Saturday’s forecast is frankly awful, so we didn’t want to risk postponing for a day, then returning to the possibility of having the same thing happen again,” Janocko said. “So, me and the other coaches talked and they wanted to play, so we waited,” Janocko said. ” I kept telling the kids when we came back out to just get back at it, treat it as if the game was just starting.”
That seemed to work as Clearfield forced a punt when play resumed, and took over at their own 25. On the first play from scrimmage, Stratton broke free for a huge gain to get deep into Rams territory. After another run by Stratton and then Lezzer, the Bison faced a 2nd and 19 because of a holding penalty.
On the ensuing play, Lezzer decided to go to the air, finding Trey Jordan in one-on-one coverage on the left side, and threw up a jump ball. Jordan grabbed the pass at it’s peak, as if he was going for a rebound off the backboard, and with the defender falling down behind him, scampered into the end zone for the 47-yard touchdown. Another extra point made the deficit 41-0, ensuring when the second half started, it was a running clock.
A quick 10-minute halftime saw the clock being run out by both offenses, with no one scoring in the third quarter. Clearfield elected after it’s initial drive of the second half to put in the junior varsity squad, giving them some time under the big lights.
That paid dividends at the end of the night as the final score of the game came from Jesus Rosa, who ran the ball on Clearfield’s final two plays, scoring an 18-yard touchdown with 2:10 left in the game. The extra point was wide-right, but the game was very well in hand as Penns Valley ran just three more plays before the clock read all zeros.
Now at 2-0, Clearfield returns home next week to face a tough challenge in the Central Dragons, who on Friday shut out Tyrone.
“It feels good to be home, that’s for sure. Central is a big game for us,” Janocko said. “We beat them last year at their stadium, but they beat Tyrone tonight, which shows how good they are.
“We will need to be prepared, as it won’t be an easy game.”
Kickoff at the BSC on “White Out” night is set for 7 p.m.
See photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/090712Game.html
SCORE BY QUARTER
CLEARFIELD 27 14 0 6 – 47
PENNS VALLEY 0 0 0 0 – 0
BISON: Stratton, 36-yard interception return (Herrington kick), 11:43
BISON: Lezzer, 1-yard run (Herrington kick), 8:13
BISON: Stratton, 3-yard run (Herrington kick), 7:54
BISON: Stratton, 1-yard run (Herrington kick MUFFED), 2:35
BISON: Stratton, 8-yard run (Harrington kick), 9:21
BISON: Jordan, 47-yard reception from Lezzer (Herrington kick), 4:20
BISON: Rosa, 18-yard run (kick failed), 2:10
FIRST DOWNS: CF-13 PV-6
RUSH YARDS: CF-223 PV-91
PASS YARDS: CF-80 PV-47
PENALTIES: CF-3 PV-8
PENALTY YARDS: CF-20 PV-57
TOTAL YARDS: CF-303 PV-138
TURNOVERS: CF-0 PV-3
FUMBLES: CF-1 PV-3
FUMBLES LOST: CF-0 PV-2
TIME OF POSSESSION: CF-21:57 PV-26:03
Clearfield: Stratton-12 carries, 142 yards, 3 TD; Lezzer-9 carries, 39 yards, TD; Rosa-3 carries, 33 yards, TD; Longoria-3 carries, 0 yards; Trude-3 carries, (-2) yards; Woomer-2 carries, 9 yards; Williams-2 carries, 9 yards; Rowles-2 carries, (-1) yards; Graham-1 carry 2 yards; Ford-1 carry, 2 yards.
Penns Valley: Collison-8 carries, 46 yards; Tobias-7 carries, 47 yards; Treaster-3 carries, 4 yards; Rowles-2 carries, 2 yards; Hook-2 carries, 0 yards; Krammes-1 carry, 2 yards; TEAM-1 carry, (-12) yards.
Clearfield: Lezzer-5 completions, 6 attempts, 80 yards, TD.
Penns Valley: Tobias-5 completions, 16 attempts, 47 yards, INT; Johnson-0 completions, 1 attempt, 0 yards.
Clearfield: Jordan-3 receptions, 66 yards, TD; Stratton-1 reception, 21 yards; Lord-1 reception, (-7) yards.
Penns Valley-Collison-5 receptions, 47 yards.