Two long road trips for the Clearfield Bisons were how the season opened for coach Tim Janocko’s football team in 2011. The late nights coming home after the game were well worth it as both games resulted in victories.
But, to quote a famous line from the Wizard of Oz, there’s no place like home.
That is what Clearfield has been waiting for and this week, they get it. Clearfield hosts their first game at the Bison Sports Complex this Friday night as they play host to the Penns Valley Rams. This game last year was a breeze for the Bisons as they were victorious by a score of 35-7. However, this year’s game could be the toughest game for Clearfield to date.
The Rams are 1-1, but that one loss was just by a single point, coming last week against Juniata. Statistically, this year’s Penns Valley team and last year’s team are day and night. The Rams are averaging 193 yards passing and 138 yards rushing per game. An offense that averages over 300 yards a game, plus averages 31 points a game, is capable of handing the Bisons their first loss of the season.
Leading the charge for the Rams is quarterback Sam Snyder. The senior player has completed over 50 percent of his passes, and has four touchdowns to just one interception. But what makes him so potent this year is that he has already spread the ball out to seven different receivers. This means that there are several weapons at his disposal. Five of those seven receivers have over 50 yards receiving.
The most receiving yards have come from senior Derek Dashem (94); while the most receptions have come from sophomore Taylor Collison (6).
Despite that, the rushing game is just as strong, if not more so. The player to watch from the backfield is Austin Auman. He has 159 yards on the ground through two games, and is averaging almost nine yards a carry. The Bisons have given up some long runs through their first two games, so with a rushing attack from the Rams that is led by Auman, it could make a long night for the Bisons if they can’t stop the run.
But Clearfield also carries a rushing attack that could greatly effect the outcome of this game.
The Bisons are averaging 260 yards rushing through the first two games as they have leaned heavily on the run versus the pass.
Leading that charge is Beau Swales, who has been the key player through the two victories. He has 284 yards rushing through the first two games of the year, plus three touchdowns. Backing up Swales in the rushing attack is quarterback Curtis Frye, who has 94 yards and three touchdowns.
That’s not to say the Bisons don’t have a great passing game, as Frye has 192 yards through the air thus far. But Clearfield’s spread offense has been known to be a great passing offense; but thus far it has been more of the running game that has gotten them recognition.
This is by far the toughest challenge for both teams, as Penns Valley is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Juniata, while Clearfield is still a young team finding their identity. It is a tough challenge for both teams, and could come down to the final seconds.
Kickoff on Friday night is set for 7 p.m. at the Bison Sports Complex.