Bison get past Wildcats|
Saturday, September 29, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
HYDE - Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko was concerned about Central Mountain's Von Walker heading into Friday night's football game at the Bison Sports Complex.
And Walker showed why on the first play from scrimmage, taking a quarterback sweep to the strong side of the field, finding a seam and scampering 80 yards before being dragged down from behind by Bison Trey Jordan at the Clearfield 3-yard line.
Walker scored three plays later, but the Bison completely shut him down after that, keying Clearfield's 35-14 win.
Clearfield held Walker to just 23 yards on 14 carries the rest of the way, stopping him for 2 yards or less on nine plays.
"We weren't playing downhill that first series," Janocko said. "We knew we had to play downhill, and after we did that with our linebackers we contained him."
Central Mountain got away from the sweeps and started attacking the middle of the Bison defense where it found some success. Wildcats Blaze Buckwalter and Drew Alexander combined for 97 yards on 15 carries, mostly on dives and isos, but Clearfield's capacity to shut down Walker's big-play ability was key to the win.
"We saw that they brought (Christian) Lezzer out to try to seal the edge with him," Central Mountain head coach Vincent Kishbaugh said. "We were having trouble getting the edge after that first play. They adjusted. And they were giving us the middle.
"We weren't going to try and take hard yards. If they're giving you the middle, you have to take what they're giving you. I'm sure it was their game plan to not let Walker beat them. They're a good football team, and they played a good game."
While the Bison defense was keeping Walker in check, Clearfield's offense was running on all cylinders, getting 100-yard rushing efforts from Lezzer and Tyler Stratton and a 100-yard receiving performance from Jordan.
"It's hard to defend when you can diversify ... very hard," Janocko said. "All three of those kids are game breakers."
"Anytime you face a team with that many athletes, it's tough to prepare," Kishbaugh said. "And we're a small Quad-A school. We only have 42 kids on the team and it's tough to find enough kids that can simulate their kind of athletic ability. That's always a challenge."
After Walker put the visitors on the board with a 1-yard plunge just 1:44 into the game, the Bison responded with a 6-play, 50-yard drive that culminated with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Lezzer to Jordan. Lezzer set up the possession with a 39-yard kickoff return.
"That's big," Janocko said. "But we've been there before. That's our style. You hit us. We hit you back. To our credit, we were able to put some points on the board after that."
Jordan caught three passes for 114 yards, collecting his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season. He has 537 yards on 18 catches for the season.
Clearfield took the lead on its next series, going 30 yards in eight plays after recovering a Central Mountain fumble.
Lezzer sacked Walker on a third-and-23 play from the Wildcat 33, stripping the ball from him and pouncing on it at the Bison 30.
Stratton, who rushed 17 times for 120 yards, scored on an 8-yard touchdown run as the Bison cashed in on the turnover.
Lezzer hit Shawn Lord with a 10-yard completion on a third-and-9 play during the drive to keep the series going.
"I thought there were some key plays (early in the game), "Janocko said. "Shawn Lord had a big catch to keep a drive going. Christian causing that fumble was a big play. And Dylan (Graham) again had a big play with an interception."
Graham's interception snuffed out a Wildcat drive early in the second quarter.
The Bison senior made a leaping pick of a Walker throw at the Bison 2-yard line to keep Central Mountain out of the end zone.
Clearfield followed that up with a 98-yard scoring drive that took 12 plays and ate nearly five minutes of clock.
Lezzer connected with Jordan for a 34-yard completion on the possession and ran the ball seven times for 40 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown.
Spencer Herrington's extra point - one of five in the game - gave the Bison a 28-7 lead with 2:03 left in the half.
Lezzer also scored early in the second quarter on a 3-yard run that capped a 5-play, 64-yard drive.
The Bison quarterback ran the ball 33 times for 123 yards and three scores, and completed five of his eight pass attempts for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also tossed an interception late in the first half as the Bison were trying to put one more score on the board before the break.
Clearfield took a 28-7 lead into the half.
The Bison picked up right where they left off in the third quarter, scoring on their first possession.
Lezzer's 35-yard return of the opening kickoff gave Clearfield great starting field position at its 49.
Stratton ripped off runs of 14 and 22 yards in the drive, while Lezzer added a 7-yard run and scored on a 1-yard sneak just 1:41 into the second half.
Clearfield rushed for 132 yards in a second half that saw it run 34 plays - all on the ground - to keep the clock moving. The Bison collected 243 yards rushing in the game.
"A guy that goes unrecognized is Seth Ford," Janocko said. "And I'm telling you when we're able to run the ball, it's because of him and our offensive line. I thought he had an outstanding game."
After the Bison's opening series gave them a 35-7 lead, Central Mountain responded with a 75-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 22-yard touchdown run from Buckwalter with 7:15 left in the third.
But the Wildcats never entered Bison territory again, getting as far as their own 49 before a Jordan interception stopped that drive. The final two Central Mountain possessions were each three-and-outs.
"We didn't do the small things right," Kishbaugh said. "We talked about ball security. We talked about not trying to win the game on every play and just do the smart thing. We have to get better at doing those things."
Clearfield improved to 5-0 with the win.
"We played pretty well," Janocko said. "We're starting to get better. We have some younger kids that are starting to step up.
"We feel great. You beat a Quad-A school, you get extra points for the playoffs. Those are big points. It was a good one to get under our belt because we know we still have some tough ones left."
The Bison host Bellefonte Friday on Homecoming.
EXTRA POINTS: Clearfield had 20 first downs to Central Mountain's nine and outgained the Wildcats, 372-253 ... Each team was penalized eight times. Clearfield had 45 yards in penalties, while the Wildcats had 86 ... Clearfield only punted once in the contest ... Walker was just 5-of-14 for 39 yards passing.
Central Mountain 14
Score By Quarters
Central Mountain 7 0 7 0-14
Clearfield 14 14 7 0-35
CM-Walker 1 run, (Noll kick), 10:16.
CL-Jordan 31 pass from Lezzer, (Herrington kick), 7:37.
CL-Stratton 8 run, (Herrington kick), 1:13.
CL-Lezzer 3 run, (Herrington kick), 9:08.
CL-Lezzer 6 run, (Herrington kick), 2:03.
CL-Lezzer 1 run, (Herrington kick), 10:19.
CM-Buckwalter 22 run, (Noll kick), 7:15.
Total First Downs 9 20
Rushes-Yards 31-214 57-243
Comp-Att-Int 5-15-2 5-8-1
Passing Yards 39 129
Total Plays-Yards 46-253 65-372
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Punts-Avg 2-29.5 1-36
Penalties-Yards 8-86 8-45
Central Mountain-Walker 15-103, Buckwalter 8-51, Alexander 7-46, Renninger 1-14.
Clearfield-Lezzer 33-123, Stratton 17-120, Woomer 4-9, Graham 1-(-4), Team 2-(-5).
Central Mountain-Walker 5-of-14, 39 yds., 2 Int.; Turchetta 0-of-1.
Clearfield-Lezzer 5-of-8, 129 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int.
Central Mountain-Pavalko 3-15, Renninger 2-24.
Clearfield-Jordan 3-114, Lord 1-10, Stratton 1-5.