Bisons bounce Braves|
Saturday, November 27, 2010
By Josh Mlot Sports Writer
COAL TOWNSHIP - One small step for the 2010 Bisons, one giant leap for the Clearfield football program.
Going where no other Clearfield side had gone before, the Bisons weathered an early flurry of big plays, got a huge touchdown from Andrew Redden on a second-quarter punt block recovery and reeled off 35 straight points to drop District 4's Shikellamy, 42-26, Friday night in the PIAA Class AAA first round matchup at Shamokin's Kemp Memorial Field.
The victory pushed Clearfield to 13-0 and into the state's final eight, marking the first Bison team to ever reach 13 wins.
"That's very significant," Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. "Every step is another step for our program. It's a huge step.
"We've been building this for a long time, so it's good to be here. Our kids, it's what they expect to do."
Derek Morgan carried the ball 25 times for 149 yards - 89 in the second half - and Curtis Frye threw for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-19 passing for the District 9 representatives.
Braves running back Dominick Wolfe ran for 135 yards on 17 carries, including a 59-yard TD at 8:13 of the first quarter.
Quarterback Garrett Pope added another big play late in the first, jetting up the middle for a 56-yard scoring jaunt that gave Shikellamy a 14-7 lead and seemed to raise the anxiety level on the Clearfield sideline.
The Braves (9-4) lived and died by the big play, getting only seven first downs in the game, three of which came on touchdowns.
"At this time of year you're playing against great athletes," Janocko said. "They're going to make plays, and you have to expect that.
"They're here for a reason. That's why they got here - because they have a great football team. They're gonna make plays, you're gonna make plays and you hope you make more plays than they do."
But the Bisons were ready with the counter, as David Hoover swept in to block a punt early in the second quarter, and Redden grabbed the ball on the bounce to run into the end zone from 10 yards out and tie the game at 14.
"That got us back in the game because momentum was swinging away from us," Janocko said.
"That's the first thing we do in practice - we do special teams," Redden said. "Obviously it's one-third of the game, and that's what we focus on.
"I'm not going to take any credit for that (play). That was David Hoover that made the block, I was just in the right place at the right time to scoop it up."
Less than two minutes later - after a Beau Swales fumble recovery - Morgan ran the halfback pass to perfection, hitting Brandon Hogue on a TD strike from 12 yards out and giving Clearfield the lead for good.
The Bisons scored three more times before the end of the third quarter.
"It's just a Clearfield tradition - we never let down," Redden said.
"We're a bunch of rednecks. If they're going to hit us, we're going to hit them right back. We just never let down."
With 1:33 left in the first half the Bisons extended their lead, getting strong starting field position at midfield and needing only five plays to get to the end zone.
Frye dropped back and found Derek Danver over the middle, placing a perfect throw as Danver made a perfect catch despite being smothered by two Braves defenders. The play made the score 28-14 at the half.
Danver finished with a team-high 44 yards on two receptions. Redden added three grabs for 43 yards, including a spectacular scoring snag at the 9:17 mark of the third quarter.
On second-and-5 from the Shikellamy 25, Frye sent a rocket down the middle of the field for his tight end, who reached out with one hand to reel in the throw and head across the goal line for a three-touchdown advantage.
With Clearfield pounding the ball in the second half - picking up 11 first downs, including nine on the ground - the Bisons seemed to suck the will to win right out of an exhausted Braves side.
After forcing a quick, uninspired four-and-out series by Shikellamy, Clearfield needed only four plays to cap off another drive with a 1-yard plunge by Morgan that made the score 42-14.
"At the beginning of the game it seemed like they really wanted it," Redden said, "but as we started to wear them down it's like they were fine with losing."
But Shikellamy did manage two fourth-quarter scores, including a 41-yard fumble return by Wolfe, who stripped the ball right out of the ball carrier's arms and rumbled unharassed for the score.
Wolfe struck again with just over five minutes left to play, again finding space in the middle and taking the handoff for a 20-yard scoring run.
"That's a good football team there and coach (Sam) Stroh does a nice job with them there," Janocko said. "They're well-coached (and) they have athletes."
Clearfield now readies itself to face a major test in top-ranked Allentown Central Catholic. The undefeated Vikings defeated Abington Heights, 54-14, in their first-round game. Game time, day and location are yet to be announced.
But no matter where or when, the Bisons are ready to step into the unknown.
"It's the winningest season all-time at Clearfield," Redden said. "I mean, it's the greatest accomplishment we could have other than a state championship, and you never know. ... You never know what's going to happen."
Score By Quarters
Clearfield 7 21 14 0-42
Shikellamy 14 0 0 12-26
C-Frye 1 run, (Fannin kick), 9:05.
S-Wolfe 59 run, (Yoder kick), 8:13.
S-Pope 56 run, (Yoder kick), 1:15.
C-Redden 10 punt block return, (Fannin kick), 10:33.
C-B. Hogue 12 pass from Morgan, (Fannin kick), 8:47.
C-Danver 22 pass from Frye, (Fannin kick), 1:33.
C-Redden 25 pass from Frye, (Fannin kick), 9:17.
C-Morgan 1 run, (Fannin kick), :45.
S-Wolfe 41 fumble return, (pass failed), 10:09.
S-Wolfe 20 run, (pass failed), 5:10.
Total First Downs 19 7
Rushes-Yards 42-200 28-242
Comp-Att-Int 10-20-0 4-18-0
Passing Yards 133 26
Total Plays-Yards 62-333 46-268
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Punts-Avg 5-26.2 7-25.4
Penalties-Yards 3-15 9-58
Clearfield-Morgan 25-149, Swales 4-33, Lezzer 4-22, Mellgard 2-2, Frye 7-(-6).
Shikellamy-Wolfe 17-135, Pope 5-62, Thomas 5-43, Shaffer 1-2.
Clearfield-Frye 9-of-19, 121 yds., 2 TDs; Morgan 1-of-1, 12 yds., TD.
Shikellamy-Pope 4-of-15, 26 yds.; Pratt 0-of-2; Team 0-of-1.
Clearfield-Danver 2-44, Redden 3-43, Mellgard 2-31, B. Hogue 1-12, Swales 2-3.
Shikellamy-Pratt 2-12, Wagner 1-9, Wolfe 1-5.