PHILIPSBURG — There couldn’t be a better feel in the air for football than what Memorial Stadium in Philipsburg had on Friday night. The autumn leaves were on the ground, some still in the trees to give accent. The crisp air began to settle in, with one’s breath being seen as condensation. A slight breeze was passing through.
It was the perfect setting for football. The home-standing Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties, despite their 0-8 record, were ready to hit the field to do battle. On the opposite side, the Clearfield Bison were ready to end their regular season with victory.
It did not take long to see who would be the dominant squad.
After 12 minutes of play, the game was nearly decided. The first-team unit was through with their performance, allowing the underclassmen to take over and get some experience under the bright lights. Those younger players simply took over the momentum from the starters, and never looked back. It was lights-out for the home squad as the Bison closed out their regular season in a 56-17 rout of the Mounties.
Head coach Tim Janocko was pleased with the performance, especially seeing so many players take to the field to learn what has been shown in practice in an actual game situation.
“It was nice. We got everybody a lot of playing time, and we’re real happy for that,” Janocko said. “The kids had a great game tonight, and everybody contributed. That is how you build every year. You get a lot of playing time so they are ready to go next year.”
Only one quarter would decide this game, as the Bison offense was clicking on all aspects right away. After P-O went three-and-out on the first drive, Clearfield took over with a short field. It was two passes from Cody Spaid and two runs from Seth Caldwell that would see the Bison start the scoring. Caldwell would do those honors on a 12-yard sprint right up the middle. Add on Josh Serena’s extra point, and it was just 7-0 after just a minute and a half into the contest.
The second score came two plays later, while P-O was still on offense.
Mountie quarterback Jake Anderson looked over the center for his receiver, and instead found the stretched arms of Matt Collins, who intercepted the ball at the 16. The big linebacker would find a seam on his right, and took the turnover to the end zone. Another point after, and it was 14-0.
The score increased yet again after P-O’s next possession. Anderson again would look over the center, but this time Ryan Lezzer would get the interception and nearly return it to the end zone. But, he was knocked out at the two, setting up the Bison with a very short field. Corey Shimmel would get the honors on the first play from the line, as he punched into the end zone, and Serena was true yet again to make the score 21-0, and there was still 6:40 remaining in the opening quarter.
Shimmel would have his best game of the year, leading the charge on the ground with 16 carries and 116 yards rushing, including the touchdown, something Janocko was happy to see from his senior tailback.
“It was nice to get Corey some work. I told him we’re going to need him down the stretch in the playoffs. He needed to get some carries, and I was glad to see him get a lot of work tonight,” Janocko said.
P-O again went for it all on their opening play of the next drive, but Micah Heichel stopped that momentum quickly as he intercepted the ball once again from Anderson.
It only took one play for the Bison to get on the board again, as Spaid would find Caldwell on his right, and the pass would lead to a 19-yard touchdown. Serena’s extra point ended the scoring in the first quarter 35-0, but also ensured a running clock after halftime.
After the first quarter, most of the starters would get some rest. That is except for Caldwell and most of the offensive line. On Clearfield’s first possession of the second quarter, Caldwell took the hand off from Issac Rumery, and he would burst through on the left side, out-running the defense and capturing his third overall score of the night.
The point after made it 42-0, where it remained to the half.
A running clock was put in play beginning with the third quarter, and for the majority of the Bison, the starters would take their seat on the sidelines to let the younger players take control. The opening possession of the period would take away four and a half minutes of clock, as Tallin Norris would cap the drive with a two-yard plunge into the end zone. Serena was true again, and the score was 49-0 at that point.
P-O finally would get on the scoreboard on their next two possessions, each thanks to Matt Johnson. He would rush for a 10-yard score with 4:10 left in the third quarter, and then again for a 30-yard score with 8:11 remaining in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 49-14.
Clearfield’s final scoring drive was quick, but it made for an impressive moment. Rumery would take the snap, then use the read option to find a seam on his right. Suddenly, he turned on the speed, and even for his smaller stature, he would out-run the entire P-O defense on his way to a 70-yard touchdown. Jake Sorbera would get the duty of kicking the point after on this drive, making the score 56-14.
“He (Rumery) has some speed. It was good to see him break one. Quite a few people scored tonight,” Janocko said.
The final score of the game came with 20 seconds left in the contest, coming from a 26-yard field goal from Aaron Boumerhi.
Clearfield concluded its regular season with a final record of 8-1, which was enough to lock up the 2015 Mountain Athletic Conference championship. At the beginning of the year, after the week one loss to Fort Hill, many didn’t know what to expect from this year’s team. For Janocko, he’s seen a vast improvement from one week to the next, and is looking at a very strong-willed group that is quite different from that first night of the season.
“I think we’ve polished things up quite a bit. We’re better on the line of scrimmage, our offensive line has gelled, our defensive line is a lot better. Our linebackers and secondary has improved, and our kicking game has come a long way. Our offense is sharper as well,” He said afterwards.
Now, that team is ready to go after the next of their two goals of the season, as they now have the District IX Class AAA Championship to play for. That game will be against the Punxsutawney Chucks, who a year ago were shut out by Clearfield in the title game.
This year’s championship contest is set for 7 p.m. next Friday, and will be played in Brockway.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clearfield 35 7 7 7 – 56
P-O 0 0 7 10 – 17
BISON: 12-yard run by Caldwell (Serena kick), 10:25
BISON: 16-yard interception return by Collins (Serena kick), 9:35
BISON: 2-yard run by Shimmel (Serena kick), 6:40
BISON: 2-yard run by Lezzer (Serena kick), 2:46
BISON: 19-yard pass from Spaid to Caldwell (Serena kick), 2:22
BISON: 60-yard run by Caldwell (Serena kick)
BISON: 2-yard run by Morris (Serena kick), 7:29
MOUNTIES: 10-yard run by Johnson (Boumerhi kick), 4:10
MOUNTIES: 30-yard run by Johnson (Boumerhi kick), 8:11
BISON: 70-yard run by Rumery (Sorbera kick), 6:48
MOUNTIES: 26-yard Field Goal by Boumerhi, 0:20
First Downs: 16/9
Rushing Yards: 338/134
Passing Yards: 62/112
Total Yards: 400/246
Time of Possession: 24:29/23:31
Clearfield: Shimmel-16 carries, 116 yards, TD;Caldwell-5 carries, 107 yards, 2 TD; Lazauskas-5 carries, 5 yards; Norris-5 carries, 3 yards; C. Rumery-3 carries, 99 yards; I. Rummery-2 carries, 88 yards, TD; Sawyer-1 carry, 8 yards; Lezzer-1 carry, 2 yards, TD.
P-O: Johnson-14 carries, 100 yards, 2 TD; Laird-9 carries, 6 yards; J. Anderson-5 carries, (-5) yards; Moore-2 carries, 27 yards.
Clearfield: Spaid-3 for 6, 53 yards, TD; I. Rumery-1 for 2, 9 yards.
P-O: J. Anderson-11 for 20, 112 yards, 3 INT.
Clearfield: Lezzer-2 catches, 37 yards; Caldwell-1 catch, 19 yards, TD; Wood-1 catch, 9 yards.
P-O: Laird-3 catches, 42 yards; Moore-3 catches, 34 yards; Thompson-2 catches, 10 yards; Curtis-1 catch, 5 yards; McDonald-1 catch, 5 yards; B. Anderson-1 catch, (-2) yards.
|09/04||FORT HILL, MD||14 – 49||0 – 1|
|09/11||PENNS VALLEY||42 – 18||1 – 1|
|09/18||@ Central||19 – 8||2 – 1|
|09/25||HUNTINGDON||50 – 23||3 – 1|
|10/02||@ Brockway||28 – 7||4 – 1|
|10/09||@ Bellefonte||42 – 7||5 – 1|
|10/16||TYRONE||34 – 17||6 – 1|
|10/23||BALD EAGLE AREA||49 – 12||7 – 1|
|10/30||@ Philipsburg-Osceola||56 – 17||8 – 1|
|11/6||D9 AAA Final|
|vs. Punxsy at Brockway|