Bison defeat Mounties|
Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
HYDE - The Clearfield football team turned in a plethora of big plays on both sides of the ball Friday at the Bison Sports Complex, helping them earn a 42-7 win over visiting Philipsburg-Osceola on Senior Night.
The victory moved Clearfield's record to 9-0, giving it the seventh undefeated regular season in school history and fifth under head coach Tim Janocko.
"It's special," Janocko said of the unblemished record. "And we don't get tried of it. I'm happy for these kids. They're a great bunch of kids and they've worked hard. It's a neat thing.
"And we had to beat some quality teams to do it. Start off with the Canada team, who is very talented athletically and we didn't know what we were going to get there. We beat a good Central team here by one point.
"Central Mountain came in here with Von Walker, who is maybe a Division I player. And we went into Tyrone and had to find a way to win that kind of game. It's a very good accomplishment for these kids."
Bison quarterback Christian Lezzer led the charge, running for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while completing five of his six passes for 95 yards and two more scores.
Clearfield ran 20 plays on offense in the first half and 10 covered 11 yards or more, including scoring plays of 13, 41, 30, 23 and 56 yards.
"It's something we rely on," Janocko said of the big plays. "We're capable of driving the ball, but when things turn into big plays it's certainly a plus for us."
"I thought that was the best effort we've had from our kids all year," Philipsburg-Osceola head coach Jeff Vroman said. "But once again, giving up big plays when we have someone hemmed in ... that's been a very common thing we've done all year."
The Bison offense got it rolling early, moving the ball 46 yards on seven plays on their initial possession.
Lezzer hit a wide-open Trey Jordan for a 13-yard score on third-and-goal to give the Bison a 7-0 lead with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
That play came after an attacking P-O defense dropped Bison Tyler Stratton for a 6-yard loss on first down and stopped Lezzer for a 2-yard gain on second down.
P-O picked up a pair of first downs on its next possession, getting a 15-yard Curtis Matsko run and a 15-yard Matsko-to-Dustin Shuey pass to move from its own 7 to the 43 before the drive stalled.
Mountie punter Nick Boumerhi pinned the Bison deep in their own end at the 12-yard line after booming a 45-yard punt, but a Lezzer 41-yard scamper two plays later changed the field.
Lezzer then threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jordan on a spectacular effort from both Bison.
Lezzer moved around the pocket, sidestepping P-O defenders, while Jordan broke open. He hit Jordan in stride and the Bison wideout did the rest, including a dive to the pylon to get by the final Mountie in his way.
"We have him hemmed in, we have to make the sack," Vroman said. "That was the key play in the ball game. We had him sacked twice and we didn't get it. He made a great play and a great throw. And that's what happens with great athletes. That's just something we couldn't match up with.
"It's something we work on," Janocko said. "We call it the scramble drill. Christian is really, really good at it. He's probably one of the better ones I ever had doing that. Curtis (Frye) could do it too, but Christian is real good at it.
"The receivers need to move to get open on the drill, and Trey did. And Christian found him."
Jordan caught two passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns in the game, giving him 25 receptions for 856 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season.
"Trey is definitely having a great senior year," Janocko said.
The Bison forced a Mountie three-and-out on the ensuing series and got the ball back at their 40 after a 33-yard Boumerhi punt.
It only took three plays for Clearfield to find the end zone with Stratton covering the final 30 yards to give the Bison a 21-0 lead at 9:56 of the second quarter.
Just 14 seconds later, Clearfield was in the end zone again.
Lezzer forced a fumble on a handoff on P-O's first play of its next possession and Seth Ford picked up the loose ball and rambled 20 yards to paydirt.
The fourth of six Spencer Herrington PATs upped Clearfield's advantage to 28-0.
"We screwed up a pass coverage on the third-and-goal," Vroman said. "We were attacking them. They weren't blocking us early on in the football game. And we had some momentum. We were in pretty good shape. But then we gave up that play and the one where we had Lezzer hemmed in and lost him. And we gave up the fumble that they scored on.
"That's what's happened to us this year. That's been our M.O."
Lezzer's 23-yard run with 6:07 left before the half made the score, 35-0. Ford added a 29-yard run in the five-play drive that covered 60 yards.
P-O started the next series on its 29 and moved to the Bison 43 before turning the ball over on downs.
Alex Gray ran for 25 yards and picked up a first down in the drive, and Matsko hit Shuey for an 11-yard gain to move the chains again.
Matsko completed six passes to Shuey out of the backfield for 60 yards in the game. Four of the plays went for first downs.
"That was something we thought we could work and make them defend it," Vroman said. "And they couldn't. If they want to do some things with their ends, we're going to go where the void is and take care of that. We executed that pretty well."
After taking over on their own 43, the Bison ran one play for a yard before Lezzer turned in a Houdini act that saw him change direction a number of times while avoiding several would-be Mountie tacklers. He eventually got to the edge in front of the Mountie bench and raced 56 yards for a score, making it 42-0 at the half.
"Big plays follow Christian around," Janocko said.
"We had great pressure," Vroman said. "I was happy with the pressure we had. We controlled the line of scrimmage at times. But we didn't make the plays when we had to make them. There were three or four times where we could have shifted the momentum and we didn't get that done."
P-O's Brian Mathews recovered a Bison fumble three plays into the second half, and the Mounties turned the miscue into points as they drove 34 yards on five plays. A Gray 8-yard run was the payoff. Gray led P-O on the ground with 62 yards on 15 carries.
"We were able to move the football. That wasn't an issue and we didn't think it would be," Vroman said. "Curtis has come a long way at quarterback. Is our offense half of what it could be? No. We're taking baby steps with a lot of new kids, But I saw a lot of growth. I was very pleased with the way our kids played. We didn't quit. We came over and went after it.
"We're battling and you have to give the kids that are out here credit because we're getting better because of the 26 or 27 that are there."
Clearfield held a 372-163 advantage in total yards, but the Mounties outgained the Bison, 77-61 over the final two quarters.
The Bison got deep into Mountie territory midway through the third quarter as Ford ran twice for 19 yards and Tyler Woomer carried four times for 24 yards. But Clearfield fumbled and P-O's Conner Mann recovered the ball at the Mountie 11 to snuff out the drive.
"We came over here against a school twice our size and we played pretty well," Vroman said. "Not what we would like to have, but I saw a lot of improvement. Maybe we can get healthy for next week. We have a game at Forest Hills and we have to go there and get after it and go for a win, That's where we're at.
"I like the attitudes of the kids, even when we talked after the game. We're going out to get a win next week. That's something we need to do."
P-O (0-9) finishes its season Friday at Forest Hills.
The 2012 Bison join the 1994, 1998, 2000 and 2010 Clearfield teams that have gone undefeated in the regular season under Janocko.
"Five times is really very special to a lot of people," Janocko said. "There are so many people that have so much to do with this program and care about it.
"One thing I don't get tired of is stepping out of this fieldhouse and looking out and seeing that beautiful field and looking over and seeing the packed house. It's just packed every week. We have a great band and we have great cheerleaders and the whole atmosphere is great. It's a very special place."
Clearfield is back in action against Bradford in the District 9 Class AAA title game next week at a date, site and time to be determined.
EXTRA POINTS: Clearfield has gone 28-1 in the regular season over the past three years. The Bison's only loss came at P-O last year in a 40-33 thriller ... The last time Clearfield lost at the Bison Sports Complex was Oct. 9, 2009 to Bald Eagle Area (34-21) ... Stratton rushed for 55 yards on seven carries, while Ford ran four times for 54 yards ... Lezzer went over 1,000 yards rushing with his 139 yards and now stands at 1,043 for the season. He is also over 1,000 yards passing with 1,108.
Score By Quarters
P-O 0 0 7 0- 7
Clearfield 14 28 0 0-42
C-Jordan 13 pass from Lezzer, (Herrington kick), 6:30.
C-Jordan 41 pass from Lezzer, (Herrington kick), 1:22.
C-Stratton 30 run, (Herrington kick), 9:56.
C-Ford 20 fumble return, (Herrington kick), 9:42.
C-Lezzer 23 run, (Herrington kick), 6:07.
C-Lezzer 56 run, (Herrington kick), 1:09.
PO-Gray 8 run, (Boumerhi kick), 7:19.
Total First Downs 9 12
Rushes-Yards 32-96 26-277
Comp-Att-Int 7-17-0 5-6-0
Passing Yards 67 95
Total Plays-Yards 49-163 32-372
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Punts-Avg 5-32 1-30
Penalties-Yards 2-10 0-0
Philipsburg-Osceola-Gray 15-62, D. Shuey 8-23, Smith 2-15, Hawkins 1-6, Matsko 6-(-10).
Clearfield-Lezzer 6-139, Stratton 7-55, Ford 4-54, Woomer 5-24, Sellers 1-6, Graham 1-1, Beck 2-(-2).
Philipsburg-Osceola-Matsko 7-of-17, 67 yds.
Clearfield-Lezzer 5-of-6, 95 yds., 2 TD.
Philipsburg-Osceola-D. Shuey 6-60, Lamb 1-7.
Clearfield-Jordan 2-54, Lord 1-26, Stratton 1-11, Graham 1-4.