SHAMOKIN — One of the most known sayings heard in sports is “All good things must come to an end.” It is something no team, no player, and no coach wants to experience, but at some point it happens.
For the Clearfield Bisons, each week in the playoffs meant that saying could become a reality. However, through three weeks of post-season play, that saying didn’t come true.
With another trip to Kemp Memorial Stadium in Shamokin on the horizon, the 2010 squad knew they were going into a game where the odds were stacked against them. On the opposite side of the field was the No. 1 ranked team in the state of Pennsylvania, the Allentown Central Catholic Vikings. With a combination of a huge line, a fast running back, quick receivers, and a quarterback already catching the eyes of colleges, the Bisons knew a tough game was in order.
Not one to back down, they put on their helmets and stepped foot on the turf to do battle.
At the end of 48 minutes, Clearfield had an experience that they never had all year long. Despite a valiant effort by the Bisons, the Vikings were simply too much for Clearfield to handle as Allentown Central Catholic handed Clearfield their first and only loss this season by a final of 55-20.
The Vikings were an unstoppable force all night, gaining nearly 550 yards of total offense, and also shutting down Clearfield’s tough offense nearly all night. The Bisons only had one long drive during the game, with six possessions only lasting three plays and forcing a punt.
For Allentown Central Catholic, the star players were Colin McDermott and Brendan Nosovitch. These two were already on the eyes of many colleges, and yet neither is in their senior year of high school yet.
McDermott was outstanding on the ground, rumbling for 276 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Nosovitch added 64 yards on the ground himself, including two touchdowns, plus added 130 yards through the air including another two passing touchdowns.
In all, the Vikings scored six touchdowns on the ground and another two in the air, more than any team Clearfield had faced up to that point.
Clearfield had lower-than-average statistics in the air and on the ground. Derek Morgan was the leading rusher, but only had 74 yards on 22 carries, an average of about 3.5 yards a carry, and one touchdown. Quarterback Curtis Frye ended his junior season going only 8 of 20 passing for 119 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Right from the opening kickoff, the Vikings were ready to show why they had the No. 1 ranking in the state. Starting at their own 35, McDermott went to work on the ground. He wasn’t gaining big chunks of yardage, but was gaining enough to get a first down every few plays. Soon the Vikings were in Clearfield territory, but found themselves with a 3rd and 4 just outside the 30. But, McDermott made it look like a cake walk as he rumbled 32 yards and put the first points on the board. An extra point by Timothy Digiacomo made it 7-0 with just over three minutes into the game.
Clearfield tried to get some momentum early on their first possession, as Frye took a play fake 11 yards to get a quick first down. However, the next three plays were all passes, two of which hit the turf, forcing Clearfield to punt for the first time.
ACC took over at their own 25, but this time it was all about big runs by McDermott. He would carry the ball all but two plays, and would score on a 19-yard dash where he was barely touched. Another extra point, and it was 14-0, yet the first quarter wasn’t even half complete.
The Bisons’ second possession landed them at a worse position, despite getting a good kickoff return. After getting to the Vikings 38, Clearfield faced a 3rd and 20. Frye decided to look for Morgan, but his pass was intercepted by Noah Robb, setting up ACC with a first down following the first turnover of the game.
Up to that point, Clearfield had kept the passing game in check as the big receiver for ACC, Kevin Gulyas, had seen no passes head his way. But, on the first play from scrimmage, it was receiver Jack Sandherr making the huge grab from Nosovitch, a 60-yard pass that resulted in the third touchdown in just as many drives for ACC. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score 20-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings would score one more time before the quarter concluded after Nosovitch broke free on 1st and 20 following a holding penalty. Nosovitch outran the entire Bison defense for a 72-yard touchdown. After only one quarter, it was 27-0 in favor of the Vikings.
The second quarter opened with yet another Clearfield three and out, and another punt. However, Clearfield got their first break on the ensuing ACC drive as after eight plays, Nosovitch threw his only interception of the game to Brandon Hogue, who set Clearfield up at their own 40, looking to gain some points.
Unfortunately, after nine plays, Clearfield was forced to turnover on downs. But luckily for them, they got an immediate chance to try again as on the first play from scrimmage, McDermott was swarmed with Bison defenders, but also had the ball stripped from his grasp, recovered by Shane Harper, giving Clearfield a first down in Vikings territory.
But, much like many of the previous drives, Clearfield went three plays and out, giving the Vikings another opportunity to score.
They did just that after two plays as G.B. Harkins broke loose for a 57-yard dash to the end zone. Another extra point made the score 34-0, meaning the Mercy Rule would seemingly be in the near future.
Another three-and-out by Clearfield gave ACC it’s final drive of the first half, which led to a 21-yard touchdown pass from Nosovitch to Gulyas. With the score 41-0 and less than a minute left until halftime, the Mercy Rule loomed for the entire second half.
That didn’t seem to bother the Bisons as Beau Swales returned the kickoff deep into Vikings territory, and after two plays, he would be on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Frye. The extra point made the score 41-7 heading into halftime, but the game at that point seemed to be well in hand.
Clearfield would get the opening kickoff for the second half, but once again found itself on the bad end of another three-and-out drive, and yet another punt.
The Vikings were once again on a roll as on their second drive it took only two plays for the offense to gain 79 yards, setting up a 1st and goal on the Clearfield 10. Two plays later, Nosovitch found the end zone on a nine-yard scamper, with no Bison defender getting a hand on him. After another extra point would make the score 48-7, it would remain that score through the rest of the third quarter.
Allentown Central Catholic would score one final time on a 53-yard run by McDermott to start the fourth quarter, making the score 55-7 and well out of the reach of Clearfield. However, the Bisons kept playing hard and would score on the next possession thanks to Morgan. The senior running back carried the ball four times on the drive, capping it off with a 4-yard plunge for the touchdown. Zach Fannin’s extra point was blocked, leaving it 55-13 with just over half the quarter to go.
Clearfield’s final score came with 36 seconds remaining in the game after Frye connected with Swales for the second time. After the ensuing kickoff, ACC just knelt on the ball and let the clock run out.
The Bisons’ season has come to an end with a record of 13-1, but this year’s team was unlike any other in school history. It was Clearfield’s first 13-win season, and the first undefeated regular season in six years. A total of 14 seniors helped lift the Bisons to that record, and many of the underclassmen know they have big shoes to fill in 2011. However, it will be hard to top what the Bisons accomplished this season.
As the banner the cheerleaders held to honor the 13th win of the season proclaimed, “We Made History.” That is something that cannot be taken away.
View photos of the game here: http://www.clearfieldfootball.org/120310game.html
CLEARFIELD 0 7 0 13 20
A. C. C. 27 14 7 7 55
SCORE BY QUARTERS
VIKINGS: 32-yard run by McDermott (Digiacomo kick), 8:57
VIKINGS: 19-yard run by McDermott (Digiacomo kick), 6:21
VIKINGS: 60-yard pass from Nosovitch to Saunders (Digiacomo kick NO GOOD), 4:37
VIKINGS: 72-yard run by Nosovitch (Digiacomo kick), 0:43
VIKINGS: 57-yard run by Harkins (Digiacomo kick), 2:55
VIKINGS: 21-yard pass from Nosovitch to Gulyas (Digiacomo kick), 0:35
BISONS: 10-yard pass from Frye to Swales (Fannin kick), 0:11
VIKINGS: 9-yard run by Nosovitch (Digiacomo kick), 9:29
VIKINGS: 54-yard run by McDermott (Digiacomo kick), 9:47
BISONS: 3-yard run by Morgan (Fannin kick BLOCKED), 6:44
BISONS: 2-yard pass from Frye to Swales (Fannin kick), 0:38
FIRST DOWNS: CF-10 ACC-13
RUSH YARDS: CF-133 ACC-413
PASS YARDS: CF-119 ACC-130
PENALTIES: CF-3 ACC-6
PENALTY YARDS: CF-25 ACC-35
TOTAL YARDS: CF-252 ACC-543
TURNOVERS: CF-2 ACC-2
FUMBLES: CF-1 ACC-2
FUMBLES LOST: CF-1 ACC-1
Clearfield: Morgan-22 carries, 74 yards, TD; Swales-5 carries, 45 yards; Frye-5 carries, 6 yards; Lezzer-2 carries, 8 yards.
A.C. Catholic: McDermott-22 carries, 276 yards, 3 TD; Nosovitch-5 carries, 64 yards, 2 TD; Harkins-4 carries, 80 yards, TD; TEAM-3 carries, (-9) yards.
Clearfield: Frye-8 completions, 20 attempts, 119 yards, 2 TD, INT.
A.C. Catholic: Nosovitch-5 completions, 11 attempts, 130 yards, 2 TD, INT.
Clearfield: Danver-4 receptions, 78 yards; Mellgard-2 receptions, 22 yards; Swales-2 receptions, 12 yards, 2 TD; Redden-1 reception, 7 yards.
A.C. Catholic: Gulyas-3 receptions, 68 yards, TD; Sandherr-2 receptions, 62 yards, TD.