HYDE — Homecoming night for high school football is all about celebrating individuals that excel in all aspects of school, at least when it comes to the eventual homecoming queen. From the accomplishments, the clubs, to the future college plans and majors, it’s a night to reflect on the students that love their school.
A slight autumn crispness in the air welcomed the Clearfield Bison on their homecoming night, and welcomed the homecoming court for festivities, but also meant the start of the second full month of football for head coach Tim Janocko and his undefeated football team. On the opposing side of the field, trying to play the role of spoiler on such a celebratory night were the Red Raiders of Bellefonte.
When the game reached halftime, homecoming festivities saw Ausha Shaw voted the 2012 Clearfield Homecoming Queen, which led to many tears of joy from the newest holder of the crown.
It would be another 24 minutes before she was able to witness the best gift her school could offer. Thanks to a first half that saw six touchdowns and 400 yards on offense, the Bison gave the homecoming crowd a 49-14 triumph over the Red Raiders.
“Our offense moved the ball real well tonight,” Janocko said. “Once again I credit our offensive line for their play. We ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and really racked up the yards, especially in the first half.”
To say Clearfield racked up the yards was an understatement. The first half for the Bison saw the team put 401 yards on the Bellefonte defense. The Bison would end the night with 521 yards of total offense, while holding the Red Raiders to just 290.
It was a spectacular night when it came to big plays, because of the seven touchdowns that Clearfield scored, five of them were for more than 35 yards. Three of the six scoring drives in the first half for Clearfield took just two or fewer plays, with a third taking only four plays to find the end zone. The reason for the quick scores was the ability of Christian Lezzer, Trey Jordan and Tyler Stratton to pick apart the Bellefonte defense for big chunks of yardage, taking the wind out of the sails of the visiting team nearly immediately.
Lezzer had Bellefonte on it’s toes from the get-go, ending the night with 152 yards rushing, another 123 yards passing, and five total touchdowns.
“Christian is a very special player. We knew it for quite a while and now a lot of people are realizing it,” Janocko said.
Stratton added an additional 140 yards on the ground, with just ten of those yards in the second half. Jordan was again the favorite receiver, finishing with 88 yards receiving on just two receptions, both for touchdowns.
Things did not start out exactly right for Clearfield, as the opening drive for Bellefonte included a 40-yard run by Sabir Breon, his longest run of the night, as he finished the night with just four more positive yards. That drive started on the Red Raider 35, but went down to the Bison 15. The defense held, and forced a field goal attempt. The front line got penetration, and the kick was blocked, turning the Bellefonte offense away from getting the lead.
After the blocked field goal, Lezzer quickly went to work. On first down, Lezzer called his own number, rumbling for a 45-yard gain into Bellefonte territory. The second play, Lezzer used his arm, finding Jordan behind the corner, and the 38-yard pass went for the first touchdown of the game. Spencer Herrington booted the extra point, and the Bison had the early 7-0 lead.
Not wanting to be outdone, the second drive saw much of the same for Bellefonte, but this time put points on the board. After a touchback, Bellefonte had a 1st and 10 at its own 31. At the snap, quarterback Jordan Fye stepped back, but pressure came in his face. He dumped the pass off barely over the line, but found Kashim Buey, who had blockers in front of him. Once he got into space, there was no catching him. The 69-yard dump pass went for a touchdown, and Tyler Rhoades added the point after to knot the score up 7-7, still with half a quarter to play.
“They have athletes, and they can play too. They had good calls for the defense we were in and made some plays,” Janocko said.
But the next series would set forth the theme of the night, which was big plays, quick scores, and huge moments. The kickoff went deep into Bison territory. On 1st and 10 at their own 11, Stratton got the hand off, and ran for 20 yards. On second down, the Bison went wildcat, as it was Tyler Woomer taking the snap, and then handing off to Lezzer. The junior quarterback then found running room up the middle, moving to the left and pushing tacklers aside for a huge 69-yard touchdown rumble. Herrington’s right leg made the score 14-7, taking just 22 seconds off the clock.
Bellefonte wanted to get back at it on the next possession, and Fye looked to the right sideline for Buey on first down, but instead found Jordan, who picked the ball off for the first turnover of the night. But, Lezzer himself found trouble as on the ensuing drive, as he overshot Jordan near the goal line, instead finding Nick Leiter, who took the ball two yards deep in the end zone and marched up the Bellefonte sideline for the 102 yard score, or so he thought.
An illegal block below the waist negated the score. Bellefonte kept the ball, starting at their own 38, but instead went three-and-out, and had to punt for the first time on the night.
Stratton made his coaches forget about the previous drive, as he took the handoff from Lezzer, found a gap up the middle, and once he was in sprint mode, no Red Raider defender would come close to tackling him. The 64-yard touchdown run and the extra point made the score 21-7, where it held heading into the second quarter.
The second period of play would see Clearfield witness second down for the first time, but it didn’t make a difference. The Bison’s first possession of the second quarter lasted seven plays, but ended with Lezzer plunging in from one yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the half. Another extra point, and it was 28-7, and halftime was still over eight minutes away.
The Red Raiders made progress on the next drive, but penalties and dropped passes prevented them from scoring, and another punt was in order. Once again, Clearfield made them pay as after three running plays, the Bison were at midfield with a 1st and 10. Having missed his target on his last pass, Lezzer made sure the next one counted, as Jordan once again reeled in a long pass, then weaved through the defenders to record his second touchdown on the night. Herrington made good on another extra point, and the rout was on as it was 35-7, still with four minutes remaining before halftime.
Clearfield’s final scoring drive of the first half was much like four of the first five: quick, but big. A short punt by Bellefonte set up Clearfield at the Red Raider 35. Lezzer took the first play from scrimmage and dropped back to pass, finding a wide-open Shawn Lord on the right side, and another passing touchdown was in the books. Herrington was true with his kick, and the 42-7 margin remained till halftime, ensuring the second half would have a running clock.
The first-team offense had it’s “curtain call” to start the second half, but the star of the opening drive was Seth Ford. Of the nine plays, he would carry the load for the Bison, ultimately getting a 5-yard rushing touchdown to conclude the drive. Herrington punched the extra point, and it was 49-7 well in favor of the Bison.
Janocko was extremely proud of Ford on the drive, even being reminded of another back that one year ago was capable of closing out a game.
“I was happy with how Ford ran the ball. He’s got some quickness. Last year we had (Ryan) Hertlein and he’d come in as sort of the “put away” back,” Janocko said. “I think Seth can fill that role. I was very happy with how he ran the ball.”
After that drive, Janocko let his first-team offense take a rest and put in the underclassmen, giving them some experience, which at this point in the year is hard to do.
“It gives the young kids a chance to contribute and get some experience out here, and the other thing is at this point in the season, it’s hard not to play four full quarters (with the first-team offense), and rest up and stay healthy,” Janocko said.
The final score of the night came on a Buey 5-yard plunge, capping off an eight-play, 70-yard drive in the third quarter, but at that point the game was well in hand.
Clearfield now will have a tough task ahead, as the 6-0 record will be tested next week on the road against the Tyrone Golden Eagles. Janocko knows what the opposition will be like for the remainder of the season, but also knows what his team must do to prepare for such a night.
“You have to face adversity, and we’re going on the road to a tough place to play. Tyrone started out slow, but are now 4-2, and beat Bald Eagle tonight (54-6),” Janocko said. “So, we’re gonna go in there and see how we respond to such adversity.”
Kickoff next week is set for 7 p.m.
See photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/100512Game.html
SCORE BY QUARTER
Bellefonte 7 0 7 0 - 14
Clearfield 21 21 7 0 - 49
BISON: 38-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick), 7:50
RED RAIDERS: 69-yard pass from Fye to Buey (Rhoades kick), 5:39
BISON: 69-yard run by Lezzer (Herrington kick), 5:17
BISON: 64-yard run by Stratton (Herrington kick), 1:35
BISON: 1-yard run by Lezzer (Herrington kick), 8:38
BISON: 50-yard pass from Lezzer to Jordan (Herrington kick), 4:02
BISON: 35-yard pass from Lezzer to Lord (Herrington kick), 2:50
BISON: 5-yard run by Ford (Herrington kick), 7:34
RED RAIDERS: 5-yard run by Buey (Rhoades kick), 2:58
GAME STATISTICS (Bellefonte/Clearfield)
First Downs: 9/13
Rush Yards: 103/398
Pass Yards: 187/123
Total Yards: 290/521
Penalty Yards: 35/15
Fumbles Lost: 1/0
Time of Possession: 30:54/17:56
Bellefonte: Buey-14 carries, 44 yards, TD; Breon-4 carries, 44 yards; Kaltenbach-5 carries, 9 yards; Fenstermacker-3 carries, 6 yards; Fye-3 carries, (-2) yards; Shope-1 carry, 2 yards.
Clearfield: Stratton-9 carries, 140 yards, TD; Lezzer-8 carries, 152 yards, 2 TD; Ford-7 carries, 55 yards, TD; Rosa-6 carries, 41 yards; Woomer-1 carry, 12 yards; Williams-1 carry, (-1) yards; TEAM-2 carries, (-1) yards.
Bellefonte: Fye-13 completions, 20 attempts, 145 yards, TD, INT; Fenstermacker-1 completion, 2 attempts, 32 yards.
Clearfield: Lezzer-3 completions, 5 attempts, 123 yards, 3 TD, INT.
Bellefonte: Shuey-6 receptions, 42 yards; Deitrich-3 receptions, 37 yards; Leiter-2 receptions, 3 yards; Buey-1 reception, 69 yards, TD; Hill-1 reception, 32 yards; Green-1 reception, 7 yards.
Clearfield: Jordan-2 receptions, 88 yards, 2 TD; Lord-1 reception, 35 yards, TD.