If there’s one way to determine how much character a football team has, it’s when their backs are against the wall and they lay everything on the line.
One of two scenarios will play out because of that. On one hand, there could be much celebration because the pressure didn’t get to the team. Or, the pressure becomes too much and the team falters, ultimately losing the game and frustration would follow.
For the Clearfield Bisons, their character was tested last week against Lewistown. An early lead soon gave way to a tie game, and ultimately a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Their character was tested, and the Bison team was up for the task, and came through in the end.
Is there a chance that lightning could strike twice? This week certainly is providing that kind of situation as Clearfield is once again on the road, trying to stay undefeated against the Juniata Indians, who sit at 2-5.
Clearfield is going into this game exactly like they did last week. A long road trip, and a game plan to wear down the defense early and often. But, the difference is the memory of last week will be fresh on their minds. That memory needs to be put behind them, otherwise they could wind up showing some vulnerability.
To prevent that, the Bisons need to put both their passing and rushing offense to work early, and use it effectively. With the windy conditions last week there was not much of an aerial assault, for which Clearfield is known. Quarterback Curtis Frye was only 5 for 12 on the night, finishing with 79 yards passing.
But, he has shown to be a strong leader and an intelligent play maker when needed. He still has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes this season, and averages 133 yards per game passing. Combine that with 199 yards rushing, including eight touchdowns, and Frye can be used in both aspects. If he can get his passing game working early, then watch out, Frye will be on a tear for 48 minutes.
The Indians can’t rest on just keeping the passing attack under control, because the backfield for Clearfield has one of the best running games in the division.
Both Beau Swales and Derek Morgan have provided some excitement all year long in Clearfield’s undefeated campaign. The two have combined for 1209 yards this season and 18 touchdowns. Swales averages nearly nine yards a carry, while Morgan gets just over six each time he touches the ball.
So far, no defense has been able to stop these two backs on the ground, and this week looks to be no different.
But then again, heading into last week the Bisons were the heavy favorite, but Lewistown made a game of it as it came down to the final few minutes of play to decide a winner. Juniata is looking to now play spoiler to Clearfield’s quest for an unblemished record.
In order for Clearfield to win, they have to stop the Indians’ run game. Per game, Juniata averages 200 yards on the ground, with most of the load going on Austen Sneath. With an average of 6.5 yards a carry and seven touchdowns thus far this season, the Bisons first priority appears to be stopping him from getting any run game going.
The passing game for Juniata is really nonexistent, as quarterback Dylan Treaster has completed only 33 percent of his passes this year, and has only thrown one touchdown pass compared to 10 interceptions. That could be huge as the Bison secondary has been incredible all year long, and may look to do more damage should Treaster decide to go to the air.
Is there a chance for Juniata to play spoiler…absolutely. Any team can lose at any time, and this week is no different.
Bundle up on Friday as lows will go into the low 40s, and possibly into the 30s by the end of the game. Kickoff at the Juniata High School in Mifflintown, PA, is set for 7 p.m.