HYDE-When Clearfield walked off the field one week ago, despite being victorious, the players and coaches knew that more work needed to be done. One game doesn’t define a season, as it’s how the team improves with each game.
Week two was the next opportunity to see if the Bison improved on what they had done the week before. With one win under their belt, it was clear the team knew how to win. It was simply avoiding mistakes, while forcing the opposition to make them. So when the Bison came back to the Bison Sports Complex on Friday night, they were ready for the challenge. Across the field was the Penns Valley Rams, who also were coming off a win the week before.
Although the Bison were not the cleanest team on the field, as they were penalized seven times and turned the ball over on three occasions, the defense did its part by holding the Rams to 151 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Clearfield offense put on a clinic by racking up 400 yards on the ground as they would down Penns Valley by a final of 37-15.
“We did a lot of good things, but turnovers definitely hurt us. Penns Valley is a good team. They controlled the ball a little bit there in the first quarter and most of the first half, but eventually we were able to wear them down,” Head Coach Tim Janocko said after the game.
“Once we got ourselves under control, we were real consistent in moving the ball.”
Neither Clearfield nor Penns Valley had the momentum to get points on the board in the first quarter, but once Clearfield was able to get some yards and get some points on the scoreboard, things quickly changed.
Both Christian Lezzer and the returning Tyler Stratton were able to get their legs working, as the two combined for over 300 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. For Janocko, just getting Stratton back brought the game plan back to normal. Stratton only had three carries last week as he was nursing an injury suffered the week before. But with him back in the line-up, the Clearfield offense seemed to flourish.
The night did not start out exactly well for the Bison, as following the opening three-and-out by Penns Valley, Stratton had a 25-yard gain to start the game. But, on the ensuing play, following a false start, Lezzer’s first pass was intercepted.
Neither team would score in the first quarter, but it was Clearfield’s second drive that got the ball rolling. There were no pass plays, just Lezzer and Stratton picking their way through the defense.
It would be the final play of the drive that actually started the second quarter as Stratton punched the ball in from five yards out. A kick from Spencer Herrington gave the Bison the 7-0 lead.
“It was nice getting Tyler Stratton back. We wanted to run him and get him into gear.”
The Rams tried to answer in the ensuing drive, and had some good runs along with key passes, but it was a pass interference penalty that gave Penns Valley a chance to continue the drive. The third down run by Taylor Collison was still not enough to move the chains, and the second punt of the game would come.
“I thought we played very well defensively. I thought one thing we did well was take their inside run game away. We forced them into some situations where they had to throw the ball a lot,” Janocko said.
Stratton and Lezzer once again got a big boost as the two again put on a clinic on the ground, combining once again to drive down the field for the second touchdown of the game, this time by Lezzer on a one-yard plunge. Herrington gave the Bison the 14-0 lead with just under six minutes till halftime. For Janocko, it seemed like the defense was playing the pass, but that gave Clearfield the opportunity to exploit it, and make the defense stop the run.
“They were playing 4-deep secondary. So we’re going to run the ball when they have that kind of secondary,” Janocko said.
For Clearfield, the run game was their lone source of offense, as the passing game simply was not there. Lezzer only completed three passes, all to Stratton, for just 54 yards on the night, and the one interception.
As the half wound down, Herrington also got a chance to show off his leg, as after the final Clearfield drive of the half stalled out at the 19-yard line, Herrington came out to attempt the field goal. Just like a year ago, when he was needed, he delivered as he put the ball through the uprights to give the Bison a 17-0 lead heading to the break.
Clearfield could not keep that momentum going, as on their opening drive of the second half, Lezzer fumbled the ball on a first down run, and the Rams were there to swoop up the loose ball.
But the defense then made a stand as it would only be three plays for the Rams before yet another punt would come. Lezzer made up for the mistake on the next drive as he would add yet another touchdown on the night, this one from 10 yards out. One more extra point put the Bison up 24-0 halfway through the third quarter.
The Rams would finally get on the board, as Cameron Tobias would get to show off his arm on two consecutive pass plays, one for 33 yards and the following one for 30 yards, which would end up being a touchdown pass to Sean Beamesderfer. That would give the Rams some firepower, and an extra point from Andrew Deardorff made the score 24-7 with just under five minutes left in the third.
By this time the pass game was all but abandoned, and for one more time Stratton and Lezzer used their feet to make the biggest statement.
The final drive for them would come in the third quarter, as they would combine on a 10-play, 63-yard drive that saw Lezzer score his third touchdown of the game on a 5-yard rumble. One more extra point, and entering the fourth quarter the Bison held a 24-point margin.
Some of the backup players got some playing time to start the fourth quarter, following another Penns Valley three-and-out, but the star of the longest drive for Clearfield would be freshman Seth Caldwell. Last week he electrified the crowd with his quick feet and elusive moves. It seemed like a case of deja vu as he would account for 91 yards on just one drive, capping it off with a 14-yard sprint down the left sideline for the final Clearfield touchdown of the game. Herrington had the ensuing extra point tipped at the line, so the score would remain 37-7.
“He’s fun to watch, he’s gonna get his carries when the opportunity comes,” Janocko said of Caldwell.
A lot of Penns Valley’s backups were in for their final drive of the game, which was capped off by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ben Alexander to Corby Woodring. Unlike Clearfield, Penns Valley had their passing game going as the two quarterbacks would combine for 100 yards passing, both touchdowns, and no interceptions.
With their record at 2-0, Clearfield now must try and keep their momentum while facing their next opponent on the road. Janocko is aware that his team has some things that need to be corrected, especially with who is next on the schedule.
“We got to get better. Central is explosive. They’re probably the best team on our schedule, so it’s going to be a tough game,” Janocko said.
The Central Dragons will host Clearfield Friday night, as they are coming off a 25-12 victory over Tyrone.
See photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/090613Game.html
SCORE BY QUARTER
Penns Valley 0 0 7 8 – 15
Clearfield 0 17 14 6 – 37
BISON: 5-yard run by Stratton (Herrington kick), 11:56
BISON: 1-yard run by Lezzer (Herrington kick), 5:54
BISON: 36-yard field goal by Herrington, 0:24
BISON: 10-yard run by Lezzer (Herrington kick), 7:09
RAMS: 30-yard pass from Tobias to Beamesderfer (Deardorff kick), 4:45
BISON: 5-yard run by Lezzer (Herrington kick), 0:48
BISON: 14-yard run by Caldwell (Herrington kick TIPPED), 4:47
RAMS: 26-yard pass from Alexander to Woodring (Alexander run), 0:46
First Downs: 11/20
Rush Yards: 51/400
Pass Yards: 100/54
Total Yards: 151/454
Time of Possession: 25:50/22:10
Penns Valley: C. Collison-5 carries, 29 yards; Hazel-8 carries, 14 yards; Alexander-2 carries, 12 yards; Sharp-4 carries, 9 yards; T. Collison-1 carry, 7 yards; Tobias-3 carries, 2 yards; Benfer-4 carries, 0 yards, TEAM-2 carries, (-22) yards.
Clearfield: Lezzer-17 carries, 154 yards, 3 TD; Stratton-17 carries, 149 yards, TD; Caldwell-11 carries, 91 yards, TD; Ford-1 carry, 3 yards; Daub-1 carry, 2 yards; Sellers-1 carry, 1 yard.
Penns Valley: Tobias-10 for 18, 120 yards, TD; Alexander-2 for 3, 30 yards, TD.
Clearfield: Lezzer-3 for 10, 54 yards, INT.
Penns Valley: Beamesderfer-2 catches, 31 yards, TD; Woodring-2 catches, 30 yards, TD; Hazel-2 catches, 12 yards; T. Collison-2 catches, 5 yards; Benfer-1 catch, 33 yards; McElwee-1 catch, 5 yards.
Clearfield: Stratton-3 catches, 54 yards.