DUBOIS — The wait had finally come to an end, because the Friday night lights officially turned on to kick off the 2018 football season, and the Clearfield Bison ran out ready for action. This year, the season began on the road at E.J. Mansell Stadium to face off with the DuBois Beavers.
Unfortunately for the home team, four turnovers, and many mental miscues halted any momentum. The Bison capitalized, leaving on this night with the 28-3 victory in the season-opening contest.
“It was a good football game. DuBois has a good team, and I think they’re gonna win a lot of games this season. We made some plays when we needed to,” Bison head coach Tim Janocko said afterwards. “I was happy with how our defense played. To hold a team like that to three points, they did a good job.”
Although the defense did an excellent job, it was the offense that not only got things started, but did so in extremely quick fashion.
Clearfield started the night on offense following a touchback on the opening kickoff. Facing 3rd and 4 at its own 26, senior quarterback Isaac Rumery looked to pass but instead flushed to his right, and found a hole in the defense. He then bounced to the outside with a juke, and then made a couple more would-be tacklers miss as he rumbled down the far sideline. It had an essence of what current New York Giant, and Penn State icon, Saquon Barkley did his entire career. All the missed tackles, the jukes, and the speed, led to a 74-yard touchdown run to start the scoring.
The extra point was blocked, but still Clearfield had the lead 6-0 barely a minute into the game.
DuBois answered in its own way as they decided to utilize some short passes, some sweeping runs, and smart clock management to move down the field into Bison territory. Unfortunately for the Beavers, the drive stalled at the 21-yard line on fourth down. Luckily for the home team, Jake Mowrey pulled through with a 38-yard field goal to cut the gap in half.
Clearfield was not immune to mistakes, as they made the first one on their second drive, as Rumery threw his first interception on the season.
On the ensuing drive, Rumery again had a costly, although controversial, miscue. On 1st and 10 from the DuBois 41, quarterback Eric Schneider found his receiver, but upon the catch Rumery went for the tackle, and every fan up to the highest seat could hear the impact of head-to-head contact. Officials threw the flag, despite it appearing he led with the shoulder. Unfortunately, the call would stand as a helmet-to-helmet tackle, and cost the Bison 15 yards.
Clearfield’s defense stepped up to hold, ultimately recovering a fumble on the attempted punt.
Things finally began to click in the second quarter as the Bison defense made its statement play on the next DuBois drive. On the first play, Mathias Wolfel saw the ball stripped from his grip, and the defensive line landed right on the loose ball. It then took only one play to make the Beavers pay.
Rumery took the snap on play action, and looked to his right. He found a one-on-one match up involving Jake Lezzer, and in a matter of seconds, the ball was in the air in hopes of coming down in the right hands.
Luckily for Clearfield, Lezzer held on and pulled in the 28-yard touchdown pass. Rumery then found Eli Glass on the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 14-3.
Janocko noted, “Those are big plays We had many tonight. We had a big catch right down here by Nick Domico, plus another by Spencer Graham. We have to clean a few things up. Not having that second scrimmage, you will have that. I think we have some cleaning up to do, but I feel we will be fine.”
The final drive for Clearfield in the first half did not result in any points, however it appeared to be a turning point for the Beavers all because of one play.
It came on first down at the Bison 31, following a long gain by running back Brett Zattoni. Rumery looked to Graham to the right, and had him open. But, DuBois came in and not only laid in the hit to knock the ball out, but also drew a penalty because the defender was going after the player instead of defending the ball.
The side judge threw the flag, and when the Beaver player saw the flag he began losing his cool, and did so in front of another official. A second flag for unsportsmanlike conduct was added to the pass interference call, resulting in 30 yards of penalties, but also appeared to deflate the Beavers’ demeanor.
Rumery’s big night continued in the third quarter on a play that saw him cap off a spectacular night in spectacular, but smart, fashion.
Following a long, thought out drive, that saw the Bison eat away yards and eat away at the clock, Rumery originally appeared to be looking to his left for a pass. But the Beaver defense flushed him out to his right. Although he had Graham and Lezzer to throw to, he opted to run. He got the first down and looked to be heading out of bounds. But he slowed up before reaching the sideline, and pushed back in as a Beaver defender over pursued the tackle. His move gave him enough space to gain more yardage, and cross the goal line for his second rushing, and third overall, touchdown on the night.
Zach Hess managed to put his first extra point through the uprights, extending the Bison lead to 21-3.
Rumery’s night ended with 195 all-purpose yards, three total touchdowns, and only one interception.
The final quarter saw Clearfield find the end zone one final time at the 10-minute mark, this time thanks to the second running back to see a lot of playing time on the night, Caleb Freeland. Although short in stature, Freeland proved to be a tough one to bring down as he capped a six-play drive with a nine-yard push to the end zone. Hess put through another extra point, and the gap extended to a four-score margin, one that with just over 10 minutes left was still within reach for the Beavers.
But, the home team did not see much luck on its next two drives. The first came to a close thanks to an interception by Taye Lynch, and the second on a fumble.
Clearfield (1-0) ended the night on a high note in this rivalry, and Janocko was quick to point out the team across the field put up a lot of effort, despite the lopsided score.
“It’s a good game, and a great way to start the season. I have a lot of respect for them, and a lot of respect for Justin (Marshall). He’s a good guy, a good coach,” Janocko said. “Their kids played hard, we played hard. It’s a great night with a great crowd.”
At the same time, Janocko was still acknowledging his team needed to work on a few fundamentals in the game, yet they were things that can be fixed quickly instead of having to work on for weeks on end.
“We dropped some balls we needed to catch. Maybe a little better decision making in some situations, but just some minor things,” Janocko said.
The Bison are back on the road next Friday as they open Mountain League play against Penns Valley. The Rams started their season with a 49-6 victory over Fairfield. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
- Clearfield gave up 171 yards in the first half, but limited DuBois to just 42 yards in the final two quarters.
- The four takeaways in the opening game by the Bison defense has already come close to the amount forced in 2017 (6).
- Jake Mowrey (DuBois) accounted for 74 yards rushing in the first half, but was limited to only two yards after halftime.
- DuBois fumbled four times on the night. The two recovered fumbles came following high snaps, one costing 33 yards on an attempted punt.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clearfield 6 8 7 7 – 28
DuBois 3 0 0 0 – 3
BISON: 74-yard run by Rumery (Hess kick blocked), 10:36
BEAVERS: 38-yard field goal by Mowrey, 5:09
BISON: 28-yard pass from Rumery to Lezzer (Rumery pass to Glass converted), 10:59
BISON: 11-yard run by Rumery (Hess kick), 4:12
BISON: 9-yard run by Freeland (Hess kick), 10:09
First Downs: 6/14
Rush Yards: 169/109
Pass Yards: 119/104
Total Yards: 279/213
Time of Possession: 17:25/30:35
Clearfield: Zattoni-13 carries, 67 yards; Freeland-10 carries, 41 yards, TD; Rumery-8 carries, 76 yards, 2 TD; Lezzer-2 carries, 7 yards; Billotte-2 carries, 0 yards.
DuBois: Mowrey-17 carries, 76 yards; Schneider-10 carries, 68 yards, Eisman-4 carries, 14 yards; Runyon-3 carries, 4 yards; Dilullo-3 carries, 6 yards; Team-2 carries (-44) yards; Pletcher-1 carry, 5 yards; Wolfel-1 carry, (-2) yards.
Clearfield: Rumery-7 for 17, 119 yards, TD, INT; Billotte-0 for 1.
DuBois: Schneider-12 for 20, 104 yards, 2 INT.
Clearfield: Lezzer-3 catches, 52 yards, TD; Graham-2 catches, 34 yards; Freeland-1 catch, 20 yards; Domico-1 catch, 7 yards; Glass-1 catch, 6 yards.
DuBois: Husted-5 catches, 59 yards; Mowrey-4 catches, 27 yards; Saunders-1 catch, 9 yards; Donahue-1 catch 5 yards; Deemer-1 catch, 4 yards.