HYDE — The Clearfield football team racked up 23 first downs and 442 total yards in Friday’s game against Bald Eagle Area at the Bison Sports Complex, while limiting the visitors to just 10 first downs and 261 yards from scrimmage.
But the Bison also turned the ball over four times and piled up 100 yards in penalties, which led to a 25-22 loss to the Eagles.
“Turnovers and penalties. Turnovers and penalties,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “We shot ourselves in the foot. We have nobody to blame but ourselves ... all of us ... me too.
“The kids played hard, but we can’t turn the ball over.”
“We’ve been so close all year long,” BEA head coach Jesse Nagle said. “We just shoot ourselves in the foot. We preached all week long to take care of the football.”
On top of the miscues, Clearfield also had trouble keeping the Bald Eagle defense off of quarterback Isaac Rumery, who was sacked seven times and hurried on many more occasions.
“We didn’t handle the blitz real well,” Janocko said. “We worked on it all week, but just didn’t do a good job picking up the blitz.”
Despite running for his life much of the night, Rumery was able to complete 24 of his 29 pass attempts for 357 yards and three touchdowns.
But he also threw a pick-6 in the second quarter on a play where he was chased out of the pocket right off the snap, and later fumbled the ball away after being sacked for the seventh time in the game.
Usually able to elude the rush, Rumery ended the game with negative-29 yards on 10 carries.
“He’s just not healthy right now,” Janocko said of his quarterback. “He’s still nursing that ankle from last week, but credit Bald Eagle. They did a nice job.”
After the Bison defense made BEA go three-and-out on the game’s initial series, the Clearfield offense marched 85 yards on 13 plays, getting a Rumery to Jake Lezzer 19-yard TD pass with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
The play converted a fourth-and-13 after Rumery was dropped for a sack the snap before.
On the next Bison series, Ty Bender busted off a 35-yard run, but was caught and dragged down from behind, fumbling the ball on the BEA 3-yard line. Bender ran 27 times for 114 yards in the game.
The Eagles picked up a pair of first downs and got to midfield before punting back to the Bison, pinning them at their own 9.
Two plays later, Rumery was chased out of the pocket and tried to hit Caleb Freeland on the sideline. But the ball hung up and Gage McClenahan intercepted it at the 19 and took it to the end zone with 8:19 left in the half.
Avry Gisewhite blocked Charlotte Harris’ PAT to keep the Bison in front 7-6.
Both teams punted on their next possessions and Clearfield got the ball back at its own 46 with 42 seconds left before the break.
Rumery hit Micah Heichel for a 10-yard gain, then found Taye Lynch in the end zone for a 44-yard scoring strike with 17 seconds left in the half. Lynch outjumped two Eagle defenders after contact was made and was still able to reel in the ball.
Lynch caught five passes for 73 yards.
Jake Sorbera’s extra point made in 14-6 at the break.
The Bison got the ball coming out of the locker room and marched from its own 37 to the Eagle 4. The big play in the series was a 33-yard Rumery to Eli Glass connection, while Bender carried six times for 26 yards.
But on third-and-goal from the 4, Bender was stripped of the ball and Dylan Bisel recovered to thwart another Clearfield drive.
BEA then went on a 95-yard scoring drive that saw quarterback Derek Henry connect with McClenahan for a 44-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-4 play. The 2-point conversion failed, but BEA trailed just 14-12 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
Clearfield’s next drive was stalled by a penalty and the Bison punted back to BEA, which took over at the Bison 30.
Six plays later, Henry scored on a 1-yard sneak to give BEA its first lead of the game with 2:08 left in the third. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Eagles had an 18-14 lead.
The Bison went on another long march, starting at their 44 and ending at the BEA 4, turning the ball over on downs when Bender was stuffed at the line on fourth-and-1.
Clearfield had three drives stopped inside the Eagle 5, two due to fumbles and another on downs.
“We just turned the ball over too many times,” Janocko said. “You can’t turn it over that may times, especially inside the 5-yard line that many times. It’s hard to overcome that.”
“We knew Clearfield had a heck of an offense,” Nagle said. “But we didn’t believe they could drive the football the whole way down the field with the passing game. We tightened it up and came at them in the red zone. We got some fumbles that were fortunate. But we’ve been on the other side, so it feels great to be on this side.”
The Bison defense forced a three-and-out and had Bald Eagle punting from its own goal line.
A 26-yard punt gave Clearfield the ball at the Eagle 35 with over five minutes left in the game.
Clearfield got the the BEA 13 before the visitors dropped Bender for a 3-yard loss to make it second-and 13 from the 16.
The Eagles brought the house on the next play, throwing Rumery down at the 27. Rumery lost the ball as he was going down and BEA picked it up at the 37 on the way to running it back for a touchdown.
A penalty brought the play back, but BEA had the ball at its own 39 with time winding down.
A modest 4-yard run from Henry on the next play turned into a 54-yard gain after Clearfield was whistled for a pair of 15-yard penalties on the play.
Clearfield was called for eight penalties totaling 100 yards in the game.
After marking the ball off to the Bison 25, it took the Eagles three plays to get into the end zone. McClenahan took it the final four yards after getting the late pitch from Henry, who had to corral a bad snap from center.
The ball bounced BEA’s way all night.
The Eagles had five fumbles and a muff on a kickoff and recovered them all, while Clearfield fumbled three times and lost them all.
Harris kicked the extra point after McClenahan’s third TD to give BEA a 25-14 lead with 3:55 left in the game.
Clearfield started the nest series on its own 14 and went 86 yards — all through the air — in 9 plays.
Rumery was 9-for-9 on the drive, hitting Lezzer for a 28-yard score to finish it off with 1:41 left. Rumery then found Spencer Graham for the 2-point conversion. Lezzer led the Bison in receptions (6) and yards (98).
The Bison attempted an onside kick, but Kaden Bittinger recovered for the Eagles, who then got a 38-yard run from Henry on the next play. Henry carried 18 times for 112 yards.
Henry fumbled the next snap, but once again BEA recovered and the Eagles were able to run out the clock from there.
“We’ll go back to work on Monday,” Janocko said. “That’s what you have to do. We’ve been here before. We just have to keep working. They’re good kids and they’re working hard. We just have to come back and try to win the next two.”
Clearfield slipped to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the Mountain League. BEA improved to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in league play.
Clearfield travels to Philipsburg-Osceola Friday.
EXTRA POINTS: Rumery hit eight different receivers in the game ... Luke McGonigal caught three passes for 50 yards, Graham had two catches for 50 yards and Heichel picked up three receptions for 25 yards ... Rumery has 2,028 yards passing on the season.