HYDE — On a night more fit for beast than man, the Clearfield Bisons left the Punxsutawney Chucks bent, broken and buried. Although the Bisons hardly played flawless football, they were clearly the superior team in a 31-0 drubbing of the Chucks in a game played in a driving rainstorm Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex.
Clearfield turned the ball over five times in the contest, which was marred by sloppy conditions and a slew of penalties. However, the Bisons were able to overcome those miscues as they whitewashed the hapless Chucks.
With the win, the playoff-bound Bisons improved to 7-2 overall. The Chucks, meanwhile, fell to 3-6 and are almost certainly eliminated from the District 9 playoffs.
For the Bisons, it was the usual suspects who turned in solid performances. For the third consecutive week, sophomore running back Isiah Morgan struggled in the first half (seven carries, 35 yards) before turning it on the second half. He finished the game with 18 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Andrew Janocko managed the game perfectly, completing 9 of 11 passes for 81 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception. The game got off to an ominous start. The Bisons were moving the ball nicely on their first drive, but running back Will Bacharach coughed the football up and Punxsy recovered. But on the Chucks\’ next drive, they returned the favor, fumbling the football. An alert Adam Jury scooped the ball up and returned it to the Punxsy 7-yard line.
Two plays later, the Bisons hit paydirt when Morgan scored from two yards out. Kyle Kline added the extra point to make it 7-0. On Clearfield\’s next drive, they got the ball into the Red Zone, but the drive stalled. On fourth down, head coach Tim Janocko sent Kline on to attempt a 29-yard field goal in downright sloppy conditions. But Kline split the uprights, and with 1:55 to play in the opening stanza, the Bisons held a 10-0 edge.
In the second quarter, the Bisons embarked on a 12-play, 82-yard drive that was capped on a 2-yard touchdown run by Tyler Kirkwood. Janocko completed three passes on the drive, hooking up with Doug Kephart twice and Jury once.
Clearfield led, 17-0, at the half.
In the second half, the Bisons came out looking to put the ballgame away. It didn\’t take long.
The Bisons took the second-half kickoff and Morgan broke loose for a 48-yard scamper that got the ball inside the 10-yard line. After a couple of running plays, the Bisons got the ball into the end zone again when Janocko hit Jury for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Just like that, it was 24-0 with 10:26 to play in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Chucks turned the ball over on downs and the Bisons needed just five plays to find the end zone. The Bisons went 31 yards in five plays and capped that drive with another Morgan TD, this one from two yards out.
Punxsutawney couldn\’t get anything going all night. The Chucks struggled moving the ball on the ground and through the air. On the ground, their leading rusher — Mike Smiley — had just 20 yards on six carries. Quarterback Zack Smith completed 3-of-14 passes for 74 yards. On the Bisons\’ side of the ledger, Kirkwood carried the ball 10 times for 66 yards. Kephart led all receivers with three receptions for 42 yards. Jury finished with three receptions for 18 yards.
Clearfield closes out the regular season with a trip to Brockway next Friday night. Kickoff in that contest is set for 7:30 p.m.
EXTRA POINTS: Clearfield fumbled six times and lost four of those. Punxsy fumbled three times and lost two. … Clearfield had 15 first downs. Punxsy had five. … It was the second consecutive shutout for the Chucks. They lost to Brookville, 35-0, last week. … It was Senior Night for the Bisons.
Punxsutawney 0 0 0 0 — 0
Clearfield 10 7 7 7 — 31
C—Isiah Morgan 5 run (Kyle Kline kick), 6:38.
C—Kline 29 field goal, 1:55.
C—Tyler Kirkwood 2 run (Kline kick), 5:10.
C—Adam Jury 5 pass from Andrew Janocko (Kline kick), 10:26.
C—Morgan 2 run (Kline kick), 11:03.