Playoff Preview: Clearfield Bisons (7-3) to Host St. Marys (7-3)

HYDE — This is, quite simply, what it is all about.

All season long, high school football teams around our great state
work just to get to the postseason. For the Clearfield Bisons and the
St. Marys Flying Dutch, the wait is over.

The streaking Bisons will host the Flying Dutch in the District 9
Class AAA semifinals on Friday night. The game is a rematch of the
Oct. 19 game, which the Bisons won, 28-13.

The Bisons enter the game as the No. 2 seed. The Dutch are the No. 3 seed.

Does it help to have played once already this season?

\”I don\’t know. We\’ve done it with other teams,\” said Clearfield head
coach Tim Janocko. \”For years, we played Bradford two times. I don\’t
think there\’s an advantage one way or another. We\’re happy to be where
we\’re at right now. We\’re in the playoffs, we had a really good
season. We look at this as a reward for having a good season.\”

Clearfield appears to be peaking at the right time. The Bisons have
won five consecutive games and come into the game fresh off a
thrilling 14-13 win at previously once-beaten Penns Valley.

The one-point win gives the Bisons even more confidence heading into
Friday night\’s game.

\”It was a close game and our schedule has been like a playoff game
every week. It\’s been a real challenge. I feel like our kids are
pretty well battle-tested,\” Janocko said.

The Dutch like to pound the football. Running backs Todd Schatz and
Brian Tamburlin make for a solid 1-2 punch. Schatz has carried the
ball 96 times for 758 yards and seven TDs. Tamburlin has rushed 132
times for 744 yards and seven scores.

\”St. Marys is a good football team. They run the ball real well. We
won a hard-fought victory up there. I\’d expect it to be a close game.
You can\’t key on either one — the third kid No. 5 (Jeremy Williams) —
had a touchdown on us. It\’s more of staying disciplined, staying
focused and playing our defense. If you key on one, the other one will
hurt you,\” Janocko said.

Through the air, quarterback James Swanson has completed 33-of-59
(55.9 percent) for 520 yards. He\’s tossed seven touchdowns and three
interceptions.

Coming into the game, the Bisons have been clicking on all cylinders.
Despite a couple of turnovers last week, they were able to escape
Spring Mills with a one-point win.

To defeat the Dutch for a second time, the Bisons will need another
big game from quarterback Jarrin Campman. He\’s completed 110-of-199
for 1,382 yards. He\’s tossed 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He\’s
also a threat to run with the ball, carrying 134 times for 532 yards
and five scores.

Campman\’s favorite target all season long has been Drew Hipps. He\’s
caught 37 balls for 820 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The key to the game, according to Janocko, is simple.

\”Hold onto the football,\” Janocko said, \”and make plays when we have
the opportunity.\”

The Bisons are used to being in this position before. The playoffs,
after all, are a tradition of sorts for coach Janocko and Co.

\”It\’s a new team, but it does have an effect. Our kids expect to get
to the playoffs,\” Janocko said. \”We\’ve been here so many times, even
though we\’re a young team, some of these kids played last year in the
double overtime game against Bradford. They were around.\”

If the Bisons can pull off the win, they\’ll get another crack at the Owls.

The winner of Friday\’s game will face top-seeded Bradford (7-2) in the
District 9 Class AAA title game on Nov. 16. The site of that game has
yet to be determined.

Kickoff from the Bison Sports Complex is slated for 7 p.m.

EXTRA POINTS: Friday\’s game will mark the second-ever playoff meeting
between the schools. Clearfield defeated St. Marys, 21-18, in the 2005
District 9 Class AAA title game. … The Bisons lead the all-time
series with the Dutch, 28-10-2. … With a victory, the Bisons will be
making their 10th consecutive D-9 AAA title game appearance. …
Clearfield is making its 15th D-9 playoff appearance and has been to
the playoffs 12 straight seasons.

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