Clearfield Bisons (6-0) vs. Lewistown Panthers (1-5)

After the midway point of the football season, every high school team usually has an identity and an expected game plan for each week of competition.  But, every now and then, the identity one expects is not the one the opposition gets.

In the case of the Clearfield Bisons, that has been the case for the last three weeks.

For the first three games, this team was all about spreading the ball with the passing game, as quarterback Curtis Frye averaged 178 yards passing per game.  The last two weeks, that average has dropped to 109.  However, it’s not because the team isn’t successful, but it’s because they have put together an extremely sound rushing attack to make up for the lack of passing.

Which team will be used this week?  It can go either way as Clearfield takes their undefeated record on the road to take on the Lewistown Panthers.

Looking at the game on paper, it seems like another mismatch on the prep front.  The Bisons are going against a team that one week can be extremely competitive and keep the score close, but the next be overwhelmed and beaten soundly.

Clearfield is not sure which team they are going to be facing, but are coming in prepared for both.  Frye has been the backbone of this offense all year long, not just passing but also in rushing.  Frye has six rushing touchdowns thus far this season, and has been able to balance his recent lack of passing to his two running backs.

Last week, the lead rusher on the team was Beau Swales.  During Clearfield’s 56-25 beating of the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties, Swales rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns.  At the same time, he accounted for two of the Mounties’ four interceptions, bringing both back for touchdowns.

Don’t count out Derek Morgan either, because last week he had just as impressive a game as his teammate.  Morgan ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns.  He is on track to possibly have a 1,000-yard season on the ground.

But if this season has any indication, the Bisons will certainly try the passing game early and if they get rolling, it will be tough to stop.  Derek Danver has been the lead receiver this season, accounting for six of the seven receiving touchdowns, and has been Frye’s go-to receiver all year long.

That kind of game plan will be hard for Lewistown to account for.  But, as is common each week, there can be a surprise upset when the game ends.

If that it is the case, the Panthers need to greatly improve on their season statistics.  Quarterback Nathan Martin is averaging completing 45 percent of his passes, and has three touchdowns this year.  But he also has 10 interceptions, which could play into the hands of the Bison defense.

The Panthers will have to really rely on their run game to get any offense going.  Their lead rusher through the first six weeks of the season has been Kirby Moist, as he has 454 yards thus far and three touchdowns on the ground.

He will have to be the backbone for this offense, as he will have the tough task to go against a very quick, and very strong, Clearfield Bison front line.

There is one thing that both teams will have to deal with on Friday night that neither has seen through the first six games of the year.  In fact, it’s something no team has dealt with all year.  That factor will be Mother Nature.

So far in 2010, every Friday night has been very tranquil and field conditions have been perfect.  This Friday, the forecast is calling for a few showers during the day, and then linger into the night at game time.  This could make the game interesting as neither team has been on a wet field or have thrown or caught a wet football through the first six weeks.

The only way to know if the rain will play a factor is to bring your ponchos, umbrellas, and plastic covers to the game.  It will be the second time this year the Bisons have traveled to Mitchell Field in Lewistown, but can they come away with another win like they did in week four?

Kickoff at Mitchell Field is set for 7 p.m.

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