PHILIPSBURG — With the heartbreak of last week’s Senior Night loss still on their mind, Tim Janocko and his Bison squad loaded up the equipment for a trip to Philipsburg to begin the final two road trips of the season. But, unlike many years past, rather than make a trip down across from the YMCA to the grass field, this night was different.
Instead, the equipment got unloaded at the P-O Area High School, and before the team was one of the most impressive stadiums anyone had seen. After getting a taste last year, the P-O Mounties finally had waited long enough to unveil the first official Friday night game at the brand new Mountaineer Field. The turf would gleam with the lights on, and every player on the Mounties were fired up to see the new field get its second game.
With it being Senior Night as well, the team was ready to rock, and came out confident.
That quickly came to a halt because the Bison team went on lock down from the opening snap. In a first half that saw sack, after sack, and miscue after miscue, Clearfield forced P-O to be on the worse end of a 49-7 rout that ended under a running clock.
The Bison raised their record to 5-4, while the Mounties dropped to 1-8 on the season.
Janocko afterwards made sure to speak of P-O’s new field, and how the Mounties came out ready to play from the opening snap.
“It’s beautiful. Beautiful field, and they were fired up,” he said. “I think with those long passes, we took some wind out of their sails.”
The long passes he spoke of were the opening passes from quarterback Isaac Rumery. Clearfield forced P-O to punt on the opening drive, and then wasted no time to get points on the board. The first play from scrimmage was a screen pass from Rumery to Jacob Lezzer, who then dodged all Mountie defenders to the end zone from 63 yards out. Jake Sorbera put through the extra point, and with only 11 seconds of possession, Clearfield was ahead by a touchdown.
It was more of the same on the next drive, as another three-and-out forced P-O to punt again, and Rumery cashed in on a bad snap and low punt in just two plays.
After a run by Ty Bender, Rumery connected to Micah Heichel from 30 yards out to add another touchdown to his stat sheet. Another point after, and it was 14-0 not even three minutes into the game.
Rumery’s night ended with four scores, and completing seven of 12 passes for 219 yards.
But, his night was not without miscues. His third drive of the game ended with an interception by Matt Johnson, the first of two turnovers by Clearfield on the night. Janocko’s focus this week was ball handling after the fumbles and interceptions a week ago, and it showed.
“I thought we executed very well, and we reduced the turnovers. That’s been our nemesis this year,” he said.
Unfortunately, P-O’s quarterback, Daniel Slogosky, did nothing with the ensuing drive, and again saw his team punt again. The Bison defense played havoc on “Bubba”, as he’s known to teammates, with five sacks on the night. Janocko’s focus was to shut down Slogosky’s offense and force the Mounties to try and run the ball.
“The kid (Slogosky) threw for 1000 yards this year. He’s talented, and P-O has talented receivers too,” he said. “So I credit our pass defense, but I also credit our defensive line. They really did a good job.”
Clearfield opened the second quarter electing to run the ball and run time off the clock by using the legs of Bender and then capped off the drive with Brett Zattoni sprinting in from 14 yards out for his first score of the night. Sorbera again was true, and the gap was 21-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
But Clearfield wasn’t done yet, as the defense decided to get involved with the scoring.
On a 1st and 10 for Philipsburg from its own 33, the exchange from Slogosky to Brandon Anderson did not go well at all, and the ball hit the turf. Zack Horton was right there to recover the fumble, and then hauled his way the opposite direction for the fumble recovery and return touchdown. This time, Sorbera saw his kick nail the upright, leaving the score 27-0.
Slogosky then had more trouble on the ensuing possession, seeing his second down pass get intercepted by Lezzer and returned into the red zone. The 1000-yard passer finished the night 11 for 25, passing for only 89 yards, and a pair of interceptions.
Clearfield saw its drive after the interception end with Rumery throwing his second pick of the night when TJ Thompson sprinted in front of a dart pass intended for Heichel. But, P-O again was shut down and forced to punt.
The final drive for the Bison in the first half saw them eat up clock, and then hit the air when Rumery connected with Heichel from 18 yards out. Wanting to make up for the missed PAT on the last drive, the two connected on the two-point conversion to put the running clock in effect for the entire second half, as the teams headed to the locker room with the Bison holding a 35-0 lead.
Even with the Mercy rule in effect for the second half, Clearfield came out firing quick as the first drive of the third quarter only lasted a minute and 53 seconds. That was all due to Rumery’s arm as he found Taye Lynch on the right side of the field, and saw him roll 72 yards to the end zone. Sorbera’s kick made it 42-0, and was enough for Clearfield to see its starters call it a night.
But even the second team offense was getting involved, as the second drive of the second half for Clearfield saw Zattoni handle the ball on nine of the 12 plays, but it was Caleb Freeland capping off the final scoring drive for the Bison with his five-yard touchdown run. Sorbera’s kick made it 49-0 just into the fourth quarter.
The Mounties finally got on the board on the next drive as Slogosky managed to run, and pass, his way down the field. He would call his own number at the end of the drive, scoring from two yards out. The extra point ended the scoring, but by then Clearfield had the game well in check.
With one game left in the regular season, Janocko knows his team is still young, and still learning. But, all they can do is continue to work, and get better as the weeks progress.
“We’re a young football team, I can’t say it enough. We have just six seniors, and one of them is a kicker,” he said. “We just have to keep working, especially with a big game next week. We just have to keep plugging along.”
That final game is the longest road trip of the year, with Clearfield making the long drive to Karns City to face the Gremlins, a team they stunned one season ago at the Bison Sports Complex. Kickoff is still set for 7 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clearfield 14 21 7 7 – 49
P-O 0 0 0 7 – 7
BISON: 63-yard pass from Rumery to Lezzer (Sorbera kick), 10:47
BISON: 30-yard pass from Rumery to Heichel (Sorbera kick), 9:06
BISON: 14-yard run by Zattoni (Sorbera kick), 10:04
BISON: 30-yard fumble return by Horton (Sorbera kick off upright), 8:37
BISON: 18-yard pass from Rumery to Heichel (Heichel Reception), 1:07
BISON: 72-yard pass from Rumery to Lynch (Sorbera kick)
BISON: 5-yard run by Freeland (Sorbera kick), 11:54
MOUNTIES: 2-yard run by Slogosky (Soltis kick), 5:35
First Downs: 12/10
Rush Yards: 160/69
Pass Yards: 217/89
Total Yards: 377/158
Time of Possession: 20:25/27:35
Clearfield: Bender-15 carries, 74 yards; Zattoni-13 carries, 76 yards, TD; Rumery-2 carries, 4 yards; Thomas-2 carries, 1 yard; Freeland-1 carry, 5 yards, TD.
P-O: Anderson-10 carries, 30 yards; Slogosky-10 carries, 28 yards, TD; Perks-4 carries, (-1) yards; Johnson-1 carry, 13 yards; Shady-1 carry, 0 yards.
Clearfield: Rumery-7 for 12, 219 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT.
P-O: Slogosky-11 for 25, 89 yards, 2 INT.
Clearfield: Lezzer-3 catches, 79 yards, TD; Lynch-2 catches, 87 yards, TD; Heichel-2 catches, 48 yards, TD.
P-O: Hubler-3 catches, 28 yards; Anderson-2 catches, 15 yards; Shady-2 catches, 10 yards; Bryan-1 catch, 19 yards; Keith-1 catch, 5 yards; Shimmel-1 catch, 4 yards.
|08/25||DUBOIS||21 – 0||1 – 0|
|09/01||PENNS VALLEY||42 – 12||2 – 0|
|09/08||@ Central||14 – 42||2 – 1|
|09/15||HUNTINGDON||27 – 45||2 – 2|
|09/22||@ Central Mountain||49 – 10||3 – 2|
|09/29||@ Bellefonte||28 – 55||3 – 3|
|10/06||TYRONE||35 – 7||4 – 3|
|10/13||BALD EAGLE AREA||22 – 25||4 – 4|
|10/20||@ Philipsburg-Osceola||49 – 7||5 – 4|
|10/27||@ Karns City|