PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Bisons head on the road, looking to end a two-game skid.
Clearfield is coming off back-to-back losses to Brookville (35-28) and Hollidaysburg (42-35). The Clearfield defense has struggled in those losses, but the tonic may just be the Chucks, who come into the game still looking for their first win of the season.
\”We need a win. There\’s no question we\’ve made strides,\” said Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko. \”We\’re getting better every week, but we need to turn that improvement into some wins.\”
The Bisons have owned the Chucks recently, winning the last 10 games in the series. Dating back to 1992, Clearfield has won 15 of 17. Punxsutawney is always big, physically speaking. According to Janocko, that\’s the case again this season. \”It\’s a concern for us. I think at times, Hollidaysburg took advantage of their size over us, so did Brookville. Brookville was bigger than us. It\’s a concern,\” Janocko said.
Punxsutawney is winless primarily because its offense cannot seem to get on track. Through three games, the Chucks are veraging just 221.7 yards per game — about 107 on the ground and 115 through the air.
Clearfield, for comparison\’s sake, is averaging a little over 302 total yards per game.
In previous years, Punxsy has stuck with its ground game. This season, the Chucks have run the ball 90 times for 320 yards — an average of 3.6 yards per crack.The Chucks\’ big back is Mike Smiley. He\’s been their go-to guy so far
this season, carrying the ball 16 times for 78 yards and one TD. Mike Decker is also a capable back. He\’s carried the ball 29 times for 72 yards and one TD.
When the Chucks throw the ball, it will be Zach Smith slinging it. So far this season, Smith has completed just 12-of-32 (37.5 percent) for 207 yards. He has two touchdowns and two interceptions.
In the first couple of games, Janocko said that he was not pleased with the way the defense played, at least from a tackling standpoint. That improved, he said, in Week Three.
\”Our tackling was better. I think it was more mental mistakes. We have to fix that,\” Janocko said.
After winning their season opener, the Bisons have fallen upon hard times. One of the bright spots has been junior quarterback Jarrin Campman, who has completed 35-of-61 (57.4 percent) for 518 yards. He has four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. His favorite target has been senior wideout Drew Hipps, who has caught 11 balls for 285 yards — a whopping average of 25.9 per catch. He\’s also snagged three of Campman\’s four TD passes.
The Bisons ground game has not been as productive as coach Tim Janocko would like, but that may change against the Chucks. Look for junior running back Isiah Morgan to get the ball a lot on Friday night. So far this season, Morgan has carried the ball 49 times for 196 yards, 4.0 yards per carry. Campman has also ran the ball well, carrying 41times for 160 yards and four touchdowns.
\”Whatever teams want to do, they\’ll do. We\’re going to try to exploit whatever we can. We\’re pleased with where we\’re are,\” Janocko said. Punxsy\’s three losses have been anything but pretty. They dropped the season opener to Hollidaysburg (48-21), came up short against DuBois (21-13) and were blown out by Bradford (49-13).
But this is not about the Chucks. It\’s about Clearfield righting the ship and getting back on the winning track. \”We\’ve been very positive. We knew this was going to be a tough schedule and we knew this transition would be tough,\” Janocko said. \”We\’re going to keep working. The season isn\’t made or broken in the third week. It\’s a long year and we\’re just going to keep on doing the things we\’re doing. Hopefully, it will pan out for us.\”
Kickoff in Punxsutawney is set for 7 p.m.