HUNTINGDON — Clearfield Bison head coach Tim Janocko is not the kind of coach that will single out one individual, or two individuals, that help decide a game. He’s always preaches how the team works together. Yet, at the same time, he knows who stands out in his eyes.
There was no denying the players that stood out for the Bison on the trip to face the Huntingdon Bearcats were quarterback Christian Lezzer and receiver Trey Jordan. The dynamic duo on offense accounted for all the passing and receiving yards, and put up four touchdowns as Clearfield put up 27 unanswered points in the first half as the Bison rolled to a 41-24 victory over the homestanding Bearcats.
“I thought we executed that (passing game) very well. Our offensive line did a good job blocking, Trey ran some great routes and Christian made some great passes,” Janocko said afterward. “So, I think we definitely had a great game passing.”
Great is an understatement as Lezzer only threw five passes all game, but completed four of them to Jordan, all for touchdowns. Lezzer threw for 136 yards on the night, but the passing game was effective because the running game was just as potent for the Bison. Tyler Stratton had another monster game on the ground, rushing 21 times for 165 of the team’s 290 rush yards, adding in two touchdowns. Lezzer also put himself over the century mark, finishing the night with 112 yards on 15 carries.
“He had a big night. We put some yards up, put some points up,” Janocko said. “We got to play lots of kids tonight, so it was a good game.”
Defensively, Clearfield had a strong night, holding Huntingdon to just 290 yards of total offense. However, Janocko did acknowledge that there were some aspects of the game, specifically defending the passing game, that needed to be worked on. Bearcats quarterback Josh Foster was able to put up 206 yards through the air against Clearfield, including two touchdowns.
“Credit Huntington because they came out and played hard, I knew that,” Janocko said. “After last week, I knew they were going to be better and they were.”
After winning the coin toss, Huntingdon wanted to get on the board early and try to wear out Clearfield quickly so that should the ball go in the Bison’s hands, the team would be tired early, and possibly have some struggles. That certainly seemed the case as the opening drive of the game saw Huntingdon start at their own 23, and put together a 12-play drive that consumed nearly half the opening quarter. But Clearfield stiffened in the red zone and kept Huntingdon out of the end zone.
Still, Devon Claar was able to kick a 23-yard field goal to give Huntingdon an early 3-0 lead.
Clearfield’s answer to the opening drive score was done courtesy of Lezzer, Stratton, and eventually Jordan. Starting at their own 36, it took just four plays to get deep into Bearcat territory thanks to Lezzer and Stratton running the ball right into the heart of the Huntingdon defense. On 2nd and 1 from the 27, Lezzer decided to go to the air, and Jordan found a hole in the left corner, beating the defender for the 27-yard reception, putting the first points on the board for Clearfield. Spencer Herrington booted the extra point, giving Clearfield a 7-3 lead, which it remained through the rest of the first quarter.
After Clearfield stopped Huntingdon on fourth down in the red zone, the Bison offense tried to take advantage. But following a false start penalty, Lezzer made his lone mistake of the night. After calling his own number, Huntingdon stripped the ball and fell on the fumble, the first turnover of the game.
Shortly into the second quarter, Foster once again decided to try the passing game, as he started the night 3 for 4. But his pass down the right sideline was short, falling into the hands of Seth Beardsley for the Bison interception.
Clearfield made Huntingdon pay on the next drive as it was ground-and-pound for 10 straight plays, culminating with Stratton finding a gap past the linebackers and motoring into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown run. Another Herrington kick, and the score was 14-3 with half a quarter to play in the half.
Huntingdon was held to a three-and-out on their next drive, and the ensuing punt gave the Bison a short field. Stratton and Lezzer knocked out the first 30 yards on the ground on two plays, but Lezzer went to the air again as Jordan found a gap in the secondary, and soon was on the receiving end of a 14-yard touchdown pass. Herrington had the extra point blocked, so it was a 20-3 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
Things went from bad to worse for Huntingdon as once again they had to punt following another three-and-out, and the Bison made quick work on the next drive as Lezzer went deep on just the second play from scrimmage. Almost as if the same play was run a second time, Lezzer found Jordan over the middle behind the Bearcats secondary, connecting for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Herrington nailed the extra point, and that gave Clearfield a 27-3 lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter started out roughly for the Bison, as they went three-and-out and then found trouble on defense. Huntingdon came out of halftime ready to play, as if the 27 points they gave up after the opening field goal never existed.
The Bearcats put together a successful nine-play drive, which culminated in Foster finding his tight end Greg Kurtz for a 3-yard touchdown. The extra point by Claar made the score 27-10 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter.
“I think we had a little bit of a let-down after halftime,” Janocko said. “You know, it’s tough to come in here after last week, going on the road, coming into halftime with a solid margin and to give up a score like that. But it’s no excuse, Huntingdon put on a good drive, and we put one together to respond.”
That drive was also nine plays in length, all runs, culminating with Stratton’s second touchdown of the game. Herrington’s foot made the score 34-10, where it remained through the rest of the quarter.
Clearfield’s final score of the game came early in the fourth quarter, as following four running plays, Jordan got his place in the sun once again as he caught his fourth touchdown from Lezzer, this one from 28 yards out. Herrington put the extra point squarely between the uprights, and it looked as though the lead was secure.
But, Huntingdon wouldn’t go quietly. After being stopped on fourth down on the ensuing drive, the Bearcat defense forced a punt on Clearfield’s next possession, which included mainly junior varsity players. However, the punt was blocked and the Bearcats found themselves in the red zone to start their own drive. It took just two plays as Claar was on the receiving end of Foster’s 14-yard pass to put another touchdown on the board. Claar put the extra point through the uprights, and the lead of Clearfield began to shrink, but there was just 3:47 remaining in the game.
Huntingdon went for the onside kick, but the Bison recovered the attempt, yet weren’t able to do much on the ensuing drive, and had to punt. The Bearcats would take advantage of the Bison electing to keep the underclassmen on the field versus the first team offense, as Foster threaded the defense in the air, and capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The extra point would be the final points scored, as Clearfield recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Sitting at 4-0, the Bison will host back-to-back home games for the only time this season beginning next Friday night. In the team’s return to the Bison Sports Complex, Clearfield will host the Central Mountain Wildcats (2-2), who defeated Bellefonte 50-14 on Friday night.
See photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/092112Game.html
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clearfield 7 20 7 7 – 41
Huntingdon 3 0 7 14 – 24
BEARCATS: 23-yard field goal by Claar, 6:53
BISON: 27-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick), 4:46
BISON: 26-yard run by Stratton (Herrington kick), 6:24
BISON: 14-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick), 3:14
BISON: 67-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick BLOCKED), 1:23
BEARCATS: 5-yard pass from Foster to Kurtz (Claar kick), 6:52
BISON: 2-yard run by Stratton (Herrington kick), 2:37
BISON: 28-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick), 10:56
BEARCATS: 14-yard pass from Foster to Claar (Claar kick), 3:47
BEARCATS: 2-yard run by Foster (Claar kick), 1:37
GAME STATISTICS (Clearfield/Huntingdon)
First Downs: 14/13
Rush Yards: 290/84
Pass Yards: 136/206
Total Yards: 426/290
Penalty Yards: 15/10
Fumbles Lost: 1/0
Time of Possession: 23:39/24:21
Clearfield: Stratton-21 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD; Lezzer-17 carries, 112 yards; Woomer-6 carries, 2 yards; Rosa-4 carries, 10 yards; Graham-1 carry, 1 yard.
Huntingdon: Foster-14 carries, 31 yards, TD; Bell-8 carries, 46 yards; Stetchock-8 carries, 16 yards; Claar-2 carries, 9 yards; TEAM-2 carries, (-18) yards.
Clearfield: Lezzer-4 for 5, 136 yards, 4 TD.
Huntingdon: Foster-15 for 26, 206 yards, 2 TD, INT.
Clearfield: Jordan-4 receptions, 136 yards, 4 TD.
Huntingdon: Claar-6 receptions, 97 yards, TD; Kurtz-5 receptions, 62 yards, TD; Stetchock-2 receptions, 32 yards; Shope-2 receptions, 14 yards.
|08/31||ST. JOAN OF ARC||35 – 20||1 – 0|
|09/07||@ Penns Valley||47 – 0||2 – 0|
|09/14||CENTRAL||34 – 33||3 – 0|
|09/21||@ Huntingdon||41 – 24||4 – 0|