BROCKWAY — The Clearfield Bisons would probably like to forget their first-ever meeting with the Brockway Rovers.
After storming out to an early 21-0 lead, Clearfield committed six turnovers that led to 18 of Brockway\’s 24 unanswered points in the game in a stunning 24-21 loss on a crisp, cool night at Frank Varischetti Field in front of a sparse but enthusiastic crowd.
Brockway (6-4) gave long-time head coach Ray Reckner a win he will never forget in the final home game of his 35-year coaching career. Reckner has been the head coach for the past 22 seasons and will retire at season\’s end.
Clearfield (7-3) played well in the opening quarter, but slacked off as the game wore on. Stymied by a bullish Brockway pass rush that prevented quarterback Andrew Janocko the time to find open receivers combined with turnovers and Brockway\’s misdirection offense, the Bisons had their plate full most of the game.
\”Well, we did everything you could do,\” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. \”We didn\’t help ourselves in any way. We had seven, or eight, turnovers, and that\’s gonna hurt you. \”Brockway played well. They played inspired. You gotta give them credit. We had too many penalties
and too many turnovers. They wanted to win this for their coach and they did. Obviously, we have to fix some things. We fumbled the ball in key situations and just mishandling the ball a couple of times really hurt us.\”
The Bisons amassed 243 yards of total offense in the game, but 149 came through the air as Clearfield was forced to play catch-up over the final three quarters. Quarterback Andrew Janocko completed 8 of 18 passes, but was intercepted three times. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another. Isiah Morgan led Clearfield\’s running attack with 52 yards on 17 carries to go along with a touchdown.
Brockway racked up 377 yards of total offense with 265 coming on the ground. The Rovers were able to use a wing offense and a lethal dose of misdirection to keep the Bison defense off-balance. Anthony Varischetti amassed 149 yards rushing on just 16 carries. He was 0 of 2 passing, but
hauled in one catch for 51 yards and also good for a touchdown.
The Bisons stormed out of the gate and appeared to have the game well under control with three touchdowns in the first 8:52 of the opening quarter.
Clearfield took a 7-0 lead as Janocko capped a seven-play opening drive that amassed 65-yards and chewed just 2:45 off the clock with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Doug Kephart. Kephart caught six passes for 113 yards.
The drive featured a mix of Janocko\’s passing and Isiah Morgan running the ball. Janocko kept the drive alive on a fourth-and-five at the Brockway 39 by connecting with Drew Hipps for a 24-yard gain off a fake punt to move the ball to the Brockway 15. Morgan churned out five yards to move the ball to the 10 to set up the score.
The Bison defense held Brockway\’s offense to three plays and a punt on the ensuing possession and needed just four plays to find paydirt.
Clearfield took over at the Brockway 32. On first down, Tyler Kirkwood gained 18 yards on a dive to move the ball to the Rovers\’ 14. Morgan was dropped for a two-yard loss, but Will Bacharach took the handoff from Janocko in the shotgun and scampered 12 yards to the Brockway 4. Morgan then broke through the line on an isolation play to put Clearfield ahead 14-0 on Kyle Kline\’s second extra point of the evening.
Solid play on special teams allowed Clearfield to increase its lead to 21-0. Toby Young blocked Varischetti\’s kick and Adam Jury picked up the ball and moved it to the Brockway 3. Janocko gained 2 yards on a quarterback sneak, then Kirkwood was held to no gain. Kirkwood fumbled on the play, but was able to recover the ball. Janocko then scored on a plunge from one-yard out.
From that point on, it was all Brockway.
Reckner made a decision to put Varischetti in a position to get the ball as much as possible. Matt Pentz took over at quarterback and Varischetti lined up anywhere from tailback to wing through the rest of the game.
\”They did some things differently,\” Janocko said. \”They lined up (Varischetti) up at wingback and gave him the ball. He\’s a good athlete. They played well.\”
The Rovers made their way back into the game by taking advantage of Clearfield turnovers. The Rovers used big plays to earn their first score.
Brockway took over possession at its owns 24-yard line and Dillon Park rambled 32 yards on a wing around play out of the shotgun to move the ball to the Clearfield 44 and a first down. Varischetti then rambled 36 yards on a quarterback keeper to put the ball on the Bisons 4 and another first down. Park then scored from 4 yards out, but the two-point conversion failed with Clearfield holding a 21-6 lead with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
The Rovers then turned two Janocko interceptions into 12 points. The first interception came on a nice diving catch by Pentz, who hauled in a tipped pass at the Clearfield 41. After an illegal blocking penalty on the Rovers, Varischetti gained 1 and 3 yards on his next two carries as time
ran out in the first quarter.
\”I thought they had a good blitz package, but you have to hold onto the ball. We threw some interceptions that cost us. (Anthony Varischetti) made a nice play tipping the ball up there and getting the interception. The fumbles really hurt us.\”
Pentz opened the second quarter by hitting tight end Steffan Hutchins on a post pattern in front of a Clearfield defender to cut Brockway\’s deficit to nine, 21-12, with 10:37 remaining. Again, Brockway\’s two-point conversion failed.
Janocko was intercepted on Clearfield\’s ensuing drive on first down by Hutchins as Brockway took over at the Bisons\’ 40-yard line.
Brockway\’s offensive line was able to open holes in the Clearfield defense, and the misdirection plays had a definite impact as Clearfield continually missed tackles. Park gained 4 yards on first down, then Varischetti had runs of 7, 14 and 1 yard to set up Pentz\’ 12-yard scoring strike to Hutchins that pulled the Rovers within three, 21-18, with 8:12 left in the first half.
The Rovers took the lead for good late in the third quarter by taking advantage of yet another Clearfield turnover.
Brockway recovered a fumble at the Clearfield 49 and Pentz connected with a wide open Varischetti over the middle of the field on a post pattern. Varischetti scampered untouched into the end zone to give the Rovers a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Clearfield was able to piece together drives in the fourth quarter, but couldn\’t get that one play that would put it over the top.
\”We had our chances to win at the end,\” Janocko said. \”We didn\’t make one play. Bottom line is that stuff happens. You play a long season. We\’re 7-3. Sometimes you don\’t play as well as you think you should have. THey are kids. Kids are going to make mistakes.\”
Clearfield had a pair of chances late in the fourth quarter, but fell short both times. The Bisons first chance fell by the wayside as the Brockway defense forced Clearfield into a three-and-punt situation.
However, Jarrin Campman jumpstarted the Bisons by intercepting a Pentz pass on the same exact play Brockway had scored two touchdowns. The Rovers sent the tight end over the middle on a post pattern, but Campman stepped in front of Pentz\’ throw and gave Clearfield the ball at its own 5-yard line with 5:02 remaining in the game.
Morgan gained a yard on first down to put the ball at the six. Janocko then hooked up with Kephart for a 38-yard gain to put the ball on the Brockway 43. Kephart then gained 22 yards on a counter, putting the ball at the Brockway 35 with 3:37 remaining.
The Bisons went back to the counter with Kephart, but the Rovers defense was ready and stopped the play after a 2-yard gain. Janocko was then sacked for a 2-yard loss before Adam Jury\’s halfback pass was intercepted at the Brockway 19.
The Rovers ran out the clock en route to their third consecutive victory.