HYDE — The Clearfield Bisons enter the final two games of the regular season with the playoffs on their minds.
By defeating St. Marys, 21-20, in overtime last week, the Bisons clinched a winning season and a berth in the District 9 Class AAA
playoffs. Who and when they play has yet to be determined. This week, the Bisons get a Punxsutawney squad that has won two of its
last three games.
\”We\’ve beaten a lot of the same teams,\” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said of this week\’s opponent. \”They beat DuBois, we beat
DuBois. They beat Lewistown and St. Marys, so did we. They\’re a confident team.\”
The Chucks\’ win over DuBois (21-20) came in Week 2, then they dropped three in a row. They got much-needed wins over Lewistown (21-7) and St. Marys (13-7) before getting blown out by one-loss Brookville (35-0) last week. As is often the case with the Chucks, they have a plethora of bodies on their roster. And most of them are big bodies.
\”Physically, they are one of the biggest teams we play all year. They\’re huge. They like to run the football,\” Janocko said.
Their big back is Mike Smiley. He\’s carried the ball 144 times for 716 yards — 5.0 per carry. He\’s also scored four touchdowns. Look for the
Chucks to also employ senior David Pisano. He\’s just 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, but he can slip through a crack and make it tough on the
Punxsy QB Zach Smith has thrown the ball just 110 times, completing 46 passes. He\’s thrown for 611 yards, six touchdowns and five
interceptions. His favorite target has been wideout Austin Furman. He\’s caught 19 balls for 317 yards and two scores.
Clearfield is coming off the thrilling one-point overtime win. After watching film of the game this week, Janocko said there wasn\’t a lot
he was displeased with. But he did see one area of concern.
\”There\’s not a whole lot to work on, but we\’ve got to hang on to the football. We can\’t turn the ball over like that,\” Janocko said. \”Of
course, the field conditions had a lot to do with that, and there\’s not a whole lot you can do about that.\”
A steady rain soaked the field last week, and the conditions haven\’t gotten much better this week. And rain, once again, is in the forecast
for Friday night.
\”I\’d rather have snow,\” Janocko said with a laugh. Once again, the Bisons would like to be balanced. Last week, running back Isiah Morgan struggled in the first half, getting just 30 yards on nine carries. But he broke loose in the second half, gaining 100 yards on 18 carries. It was the second consecutive week that Morgan has done that. \”He ran well, but I\’d really like to see him put two halves together,\” Janocko said.
For the season, Morgan has rushed the ball 157 times for 796 yards, an average of 5.1 per carry. He\’s also scored 10 touchdowns. He\’s ranked
as the seventh on the leaderboard in all of District 9. The Bisons have enjoyed great success throwing the ball. Quarterback Andrew Janocko, a Division I-A prospect, has completed 109-of-195 passes for 1,595 yards. He\’s thrown for eight scores and has just five interceptions.
Clearfield still has the top two receivers in District 9. Adam Jury leads all receivers with 52 receptions for 795 yards. He\’s averaging
15.3 yards per catch. He\’s scored twice. Doug Kephart has 32 receptions for 639 yards and seven scores. So down the stretch the Bisons come. After the Chucks, the Bisons travel to Brockway for the season finale. After that, it\’s anyone\’s guess. The playoff pairings won\’t be set for another week.
\”We\’re in pretty good shape health-wise. We\’ll see what happens with the playoffs,\” Janocko said. \”We\’ll see how many teams enter and we\’ll
go from there.\”
Senior night kickoff is set for 7 p.m.