Despite August still feeling like summer is still here, with temperatures in the mid-80’s and the night skies peeking out around 8:30 pm, the feeling of football is in the air. It’s a time where all the summer workouts and the preseason preparations finally get tested on the field. No more scrimmages, now the games matter.
For Clearfield, the 2013 season is an opportunity to go after another title, one that they have won for three straight years.
It started in 2010 with the impressive 13-win season and continued through 2011 and 2012, both being 11-win campaigns. The common denominator: each season saw Clearfield win the District IX championship. The graduating class from 2012 was the winningest class Clearfield has seen in its rich history, but the 2013 class is already on that same path to greatness. Many of last year’s top players return for one more run at that championship, bringing both experience and leadership to the team.
One year ago, the Bison debuted an all-new field at the Bison Sports Complex, complete with field turf, a new track, and it was well received by the community and the players. That kicked off a season that saw the Bison put together their second undefeated season in three years. It was a year that saw some trial-and-error, but a memorable one for all the players that were both graduating and coming up in the grades.
This year brings another set of challenges for the 2013 edition of the Bison football team, but one key to their success is the returning duo of quarterback Christian Lezzer and Tyler Stratton. One year ago, these two as juniors worked the read-option offense to perfection, combining for nearly 2600 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns.
Now as both are preparing for their final season at Clearfield, Janocko knows that these two will have to be leaders in all aspects.
One other piece of the rushing game that will be key is Seth Ford, also a senior. Janocko last year called Ford his “put away” back in situations when the game was in hand.
However, one aspect to Clearfield’s game that will be tough to address is that in the passing game. One year ago, it was Trey Jordan, Dylan Graham and Shawn Lord leading the way in the receiving corps. Lezzer passed for over 1400 yards on the season, with a majority of them to these three receivers. But, all three young men have graduated, leaving three big holes to fill in this year’s team.
Returning to the team this season are senior wide receiver Matt Price, and along with him will be a slew of junior receivers ready to help out in catching passes. Among those receivers were Josh Sorbera, Grant Climie, Casey Wilsoncroft and Jake Lansberry. The tight end position will have great leadership with senior Wyatt Flanagan on the field. Standing 6′ 3″ he will not only be a big factor in the passing game, but he will be a huge asset in the running game as a blocker.
Possibly the one player that was not necessarily the one getting the most attention, but when needed, he got the job done, was kicker, junior Spencer Herrington. Last year he was 3-for-3 in field goal attempts, with his longest coming against Punxsutawney in November. He also went 60-for-62 in point-after attempts.
That was just as a sophomore, and with him still having two years left to play, there could be a lot of great moments that this young man could provide.
In the end, the ultimate goal of the Bison is to return to the District IX title game and win their fourth consecutive championship. The Bison start the season on Friday night, against a team that they faced one year ago in the same venue. For the second year running, the Bison will host the St. Joan of Arc Secondary, a team based out of Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Last year, Janocko was excited for both his team to face a team from north of the border, but also excited for St. Joan of Arc and the exposure they were going to receive coming down to Clearfield. This year is no exception.
Last year, the Bison opened their season with a victory over St. Joan of Arc by a score of 34-20. It would be the beginning of what would be a spectacular season for the Bison, and there is no question that Janocko and his squad will be ready for the challenge once again.
The Bison season kicks off this Friday at 7 p.m.
2013 Clearfield Bison Football Schedule
8/30 ST. JOAN OF ARC (Barrie, Ontario)
9/6 PENNS VALLEY AREA
9/13 @ Central
9/27 @ Central Mountain
10/4 @ Bellefonte
10/18 BALD EAGLE AREA
10/25 @ Philipsburg-Osceola
*All games are set for a 7 p.m. start time.