Bellefonte Red Raiders (2-3) at Clearfield Bison (5-0)
The month of October is usually marked with a lot of pink in football. The NFL and some NCAA teams are spending the entire month honoring the survivors of breast cancer, and honor those that continue to fight.
There’s sure to be some hints of pink at the Bison Sports Complex, but also there will be quite a bit of black and red, and not just on the players that are part of the Clearfield Bison football team. Friday’s game against the Bellefonte Red Raiders will also see many ribbons in Bison colors, plus balloons adorning the grandstands and fencing. The added decorations only mean one thing when it comes to high school football…homecoming.
Clearfield will have its homecoming festivities during halftime of Friday night’s contest, but during the 48 minutes of play there will be no focus on who will wear a crown, nor who gets a huge bouquet of roses.
Instead, it’s on who will put up the higher score when the final whistle blows.
If this week’s game is anything like when these two faced last season, it could be a long night for Bellefonte. On their Senior Night, Clearfield overwhelmed the homestanding Red Raiders in a 44-0 shutout victory. That was part of a one-win season for Bellefonte, and the senior class is well aware of what happened last year.
But, the Red Raiders enter this season with a 2-3 record, and statistically have experienced a very strong year.
On the ground, Bellefonte has a duel-rushing team of sophomore Kahsim Buey and senior Brian White. Buey is averaging nearly nine yards per carry, and leads the team in rushing touchdowns with four. Meanwhile, White averages 4.5 yards a carry and has two touchdowns so far this year. Those two will get a healthy dose of the ball all game, but that also opens up the defense to being vulnerable to the passing game. That is where things could be interesting for the Bison on defense as they will have to worry about not just one quarterback, but two.
Senior Jordan Fye has played in three of the Red Raiders’ first five games, but leads the team in passing touchdowns with three, compared to sophomore Phil Fenstermacker who has thrown for just two. At the same time, Fye has just three interceptions on the year, whereas Fenstermacker has five.
It still could be an advantage to have both quarterbacks play for Bellefonte, and may get Clearfield on their toes early, and make them play catch-up from the opening whistle.
At the same time, Clearfield knows that the undefeated record it currently holds wasn’t earned by constantly outperforming the opposition. There have been moments where the games were close, and had to go down to the final tick of the clock to determine a winner.
However, each game has shown that the backbone of the team is the running game of running back Tyler Stratton and quarterback Christian Lezzer. Stratton leads the team with 561 yards rushing, nearly eight yards per carry, and has five touchdowns on the year. At his current pace, he could earn 1,000 yards on the season before the finale in early November. Meanwhile, Lezzer has 490 yards on the ground, and leads the team in rushing touchdowns with eight.
The shotgun option has provided a strong offense for the Bison this season, and has shown to be similar in nature to last year’s duo of Beau Swales and Curtis Frye. That also is shown in the passing game as when the ball isn’t tucked against Lezzer’s forearm, he’s just as potent in the air.
Lezzer is 29 of 49 this year, throwing for 634 yards, nine touchdowns and just four interceptions. Four of those touchdowns came two weeks ago when he missed only one pass, and all his throws landed in the hands of his favorite receiver, Trey Jordan. In fact, Jordan leads the Bison in receiving touchdowns this year with nine.
This is a game that could come down to fundamentals, turnovers, and who has the ball at the most critical point in the game. Another exciting night on tap as homecoming festivities at the Clearfield High School will conclude with Tim Janocko’s team taking the field at the Bison Sports Complex.
Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m. Radio coverage, as always, is provided by WQYX 93.1.
|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|
|09/28||CENTRAL MOUNTAIN||35 – 14||5 – 0|
|10/19||@ Bald Eagle Area|