MIFFLINTOWN — One week ago, the Clearfield Bisons had to lay everything on the line against Lewistown and just managed to get the victory. This week, another long road trip was on the schedule for head coach Tim Janocko’s team, this time against the Juniata Indians.
But, unlike last week, this game was decided early as the Bisons exploded on offense, gaining 366 total yards, and overpowering their opposition for the 42-14 victory.
“We played a good, solid game tonight,” said Janocko immediately after addressing his team.
The performance his team put on Fiday night could be described in one word: balanced. The last few weeks, Clearfield has relied more on their run game to keep their undefeated record, and both Beau Swales and Derek Morgan looked great in all those performances. However, the reason the run game was used more is because the passing game was not working, and quarterback Curtis Frye was not making many attempts.
Against Juniata, it was a different story.
Frye completed 11 of his 16 passes on the night, throwing for an even 200 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Janocko credits the opposing defenses and their game plan to keep their passing game very low.
“When you have teams stacking eight in the box, you need to be balanced. Last week because of the wind, we couldn’t pass. We threw really well tonight,” Janocko said.
When Frye got rolling early, he was able to spread the ball out to six different receivers, three of which scored touchdowns. His two favorite targets on this night were Swales and Derek Danver. The two combined for six receptions, 149 yards and two touchdowns.
However, the one player that Janocko was most impressed on the night was Jack Mellgard. The senior running back ran for a team-high 45 yards, including one touchdown, and also had the third receiving touchdown for the team.
Janocko said afterward that he was glad to see his running back have a good night.
“Jack blocks for everyone so it’s nice to see him have a great game. He’s the unsung hero of the team, and a really intelligent young man,” Janocko said.
The Bison defense also did their job as they did not allow a single point from Juniata until the fourth quarter, holding them to a total of 169 yards on offense. The main offense for the Indians came from Austen Sneath, who had 79 yards rushing including one touchdown. The rest of the Juniata offense came in the fourth quarter once the Bisons had control of the lead.
However, control did not come easy when the game started. Juniata opted to receive the opening kickoff, but quickly went three and out. But, on the ensuing punt, Danver misread the ball, and muffed the return. The Indians would recover the fumble and would start a new drive just inside the Clearfield 40.
Juniata pushed to just outside the 10, but the Bison defense came up big on fourth down as Swales managed to sack quarterback Colton Shertzer back at the 23 yard-line, forcing the turnover on downs.
Unfortunately for Clearfield, they also couldn’t get any momentum as they went three and out. On the ensuing punt, the Indians also muffed the return and Clearfield looked to have the ball wrapped up, but couldn’t secure it. That gave Juniata a chance to get the ball and at least have an opportunity to go down the field. Sure enough, when the bodies were pulled off, the Indians had possession.
Juniata again went three and out, giving Clearfield the ball just outside mid-field as the first quarter came to an end. On their second drive, Janocko decided to go ground and pound, utilizing nothing but run plays to go right at the Indian defense. As the second quarter began, Clearfield found themselves in the red zone and in prime position to go for the end zone. But, on 3rd and 4, Swales was stopped just short of the sticks, setting up a fourth down.
On the final play of the drive, Morgan got the call and not only got past the sticks, he found pay dirt. An extra point later, Clearfield found themselves up 7-0, but what happened after that score was ultimately what put the game away.
After yet another three and out from Juniata, the Bisons got the ball once again just outside mid-field. But, Janocko decided to once again try the pass game and put the ball in the hands of his quarterback. This time, Frye completed both his passes to Swales and Andrew Redden, each getting the team a first down.
With the ball just outside the goal line, Swales got the call on the ground and punched the ball in the end zone for the second Clearfield touchdown of the game. Zach Fannin’s extra point gave Clearfield the 14-0 lead.
Juniata wouldn’t make it past the 50 on their next drive, and once again had to punt. But, Danver made the fair catch at the Bison 22, making it a long field to tackle for another score. After Frye called his own number for a 14 yard gain on first down, he unloaded his right arm on the next play.
The ball went right into the hands of Swales, who out ran the Indian defense for a 64-yard score. Another extra point made it 21-0 with just under 3:30 left in the first half.
Yet another three and out from Juniata again gave Clearfield a chance to go down the field. This time, Frye would complete all but two passes on the drive, finishing with a five-yard pass to Brandon Hogue who fell backwards just inside the left hash mark for the fourth touchdown of the quarter. The halftime score was 28-0, but Clearfield was not done.
After receiving the opening kickoff in the third quarter, Clearfield used a very balanced offense of running from both Swales and Mellgard, along with the passing of Frye, to march down the field. The drive was capped off with Frye’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Mellgard. The ensuing extra point made the score 35-0, and the Mercy Rule would then be utilized.
Clearfield’s final score came on their next drive when Mellgard took the hand off on the first play from scrimmage 41 yards to the end zone. Another Fannin extra point made the score 42-0, and now gave the under classmen a chance to get some game experience.
Both Juniata’s scores came against the second-string defense, first on a 22-yard pass from Shertzer to Adam Goshorn just after the fourth quarter began, with the extra point attempt going wide right.
The final score of the game came when Sneath ran in from four yards out with 7:23 remaining.
The Bisons are now 8-0, but with that comes more pressure. Janocko and his team return home next Friday night to take on the Bellefonte Raiders, the final conference game for both teams. The two sit atop the Mountain-Sevens league, but Janocko also knows that every game is big at this point of the year.
“Bellefonte is a big game for us, but when you are this late in the season, every game is big. This one was a big game for us,” Janocko said. “We came out a little slow, but we scored early in the second quarter and just began steam rolling from there.”
It is Senior Night at the Bison Sports Complex when Clearfield hosts Bellefonte at 7 p.m.
See pictures of the game at: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/102210game.html
CLEARFIELD 0 28 14 0 42
JUNIATA 0 0 0 14 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
BISONS: 6-yard run by Morgan (Fannin kick), 10:28
BISONS: 1-yard run by Swales (Fannin kick), 6:21
BISONS: 64-yard pass from Frye to Swales (Fannin kick), 3:28
BISONS: 5-yard pass from Frye to Hogue (Fannin kick), 0:24
BISONS: 12-yard pass from Frye to Mellgard (Fannin kick), 7:35
BISONS: 41-yard run by Mellgard (Fannin kick), 4:41
INDIANS: 22-yard pass from Shertzer to Goshorn (Alexander kick FAILED), 11:11
INDIANS: 4-yard run by Sneath (Pass from Shertzer to Goshorn GOOD), 7:23
FIRST DOWNS: CF-12 JU-10
RUSH YARDS: CF-166 JU-126
PASS YARDS: CF-200 JU-43
PENALTIES: CF-4 JU-8
PENALTY YARDS: CF-20 JU-35
TOTAL YARDS: CF-366 JU-169
TURNOVERS: CF-3 JU-1
FUMBLES: CF-3 JU-2
FUMBLES LOST: CF-3 JU-1
TIME OF POSSESSION: CF-17:19 JU-30:41
Clearfield: Swales-6 carries, 32 yards, TD; Morgan-5 carries, 35 yards, TD; Frye-4 carries, 37 yards; Mellgard-2 carries, 45 yards, TD.
Juniata: Sneath-16 carries, 71 yards, TD; Shertzer-9 carries, 9 yards; Zook-8 carries, 40 yards; Saner-2 carries, 5 yards .
Clearfield: Frye-11 completions, 16 attempts, 200 yards, 3 TD.
Juniata: Shertzer-3 completions, 43 yards, TD; Bodley-0 completions, 1 attempt.
Clearfield: Swales-3 receptions, 108 yards, TD; Danver-3 receptions, 41 yards; Redden-2 receptions, 24 yards; Mellgard-1 catch, 12 yards, TD; Hogue-1 catch, 5 yards, TD; Morgan-1 catch, 11 yards.
Juniata: Sneath-Goshorn-1 catch, 22 yards, TD; Alexander-1 catch, 16 yards; Sneath-1 catch, 5 yards.