The film has been watched, the practices have been completed and the game plan has been set. Friday night, the time has come to put all the summer workouts to good use. The 2010 high school football season starts out with a bang, and for the Clearfield Bisons, it starts out with a very tough task.
Although they are the host, Clearfield will have its hands full as they will take on the Central Dragons.
The visitors are coming off an extremely successful season. Coach A.J. Hoenstine saw his 2009 campaign end with a 10-2 record. The Dragons were most successful on the road as they went undefeated. That was due in big part to a very balanced offensive attack where the run and the pass were played to near perfection.
Leading two of those categories is senior running back Lucas Runk. In his junior campaign, Runk led the Dragons in rushing with 947 yards on 176 carries. Averaging over five yards a carry, he was tough to contain as he scored 13 touchdowns.
Runk was also huge in the passing game, however not as a receiver. He was actually great in throwing the ball, completing 88 of 154 pass attempts. His season total of 1290 yards in the air earned him ten touchdowns.
If Central wants to continue that success from last year, Runk is going to play a huge part in doing so.
Alongside Runk, expect to see Derek Nothstein be good in the passing game as well. Nothstein went 18 of 37 last year for 228 yards and two touchdowns.
Look for the run game to be big for Lucas Blattenberger, who was the second-leading rusher on the team. His 428 yards on 86 carries helped balance the attack from Runk.
The big question mark for Central entering this game is the receiving corps. The three leading receivers from last year, Jordon Saylor, Josten Hardy and James Cafferty, all graduated. But, there is a strong class that is coming in that could be able to bring the receiving corps for Central to where it was last year. Guys like Jomar Deterline, Nick Long, Wes Smith, Zach Weyandt and others are very capable of becoming the go-to receiver for the team.
It will be difficult to top what the Dragons did last year, but this team are former Class AA champions, so they will be extremely tough on the field.
Clearfield is coming off a 7-4 campaign that saw a great spread of run and pass. The team this year has many returning starters on both sides of the ball, which is going to be key against the Dragons
The Bisons’ passing game is going to be huge heading into this game. Returning to be the heart of the Bison offense is quarterback Curtis Frye. After throwing for nearly 1800 yards in 2009, he is ready to make his junior season even better.
Frye will need to find a new go-to receiver as he lost his top catcher, Trey Campman. However, there’s a couple of receivers that are more than capable of stepping up to the plate. Keep an eye on Derek Danver, who finished last year with 437 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He could be the one getting a lot of passes thrown his way. As could senior tight end Andrew Redden.
Don’t count out Derek Morgan either. He looked extremely good in the scrimmage against Bellwood-Antis, and is coming off a 214 receiving yard season in 2009 where he caught two touchdowns.
Morgan will definitely be huge in the run game. His quick feet will make it hard for the Dragon defense to get a grasp on him for tackles. Last season, Morgan ran for 772 yards and ten touchdowns. If the Bisons are to have any success on the ground, Morgan will have to be on his game early and often against a strong Dragon defense. But, if he gets in the open field, he will be dangerous.
The Bison Sports Complex will be ready to rumble on Friday night. There is a likely chance of a shower or thunderstorm later in the evening, so fans are encouraged to bring the ponchos and umbrellas to be on the safe side.
The season will kick off at 7 p.m.