The halfway point in the 2013 high school football season has passed, and each week it becomes clearer which schools are going to have strong seasons, possibly ending with a championship. Currently in the Mountain League, the Clearfield Bison are the class of the field, holding a one-game lead over its closest competition, and having statistics on offense that make it difficult to stop them.
This week the Bison are again on the road taking on the Bellefonte Red Raiders, a team that has found it to be a struggle each week against its opponents.
Bellefonte comes into their home contest after a beat down by Tyrone a week ago, 53-6. They are hurting offensively and cannot seem to get as much momentum in their games as they would hope.
Only averaging about 150 yards per game on offense, it is going to be a struggle against the tough Bison defense. If they can get their running game going, it will be a bright spot for the Red Raiders. Their leading rusher, Dolyan Deitrich, has 166 yards on the ground this season, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. The only other rusher over 100 yards so far through five games is Storm Smith, who has 120 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
What has not been strong at all for Bellefonte this season is the passing game. The Red Raiders only average 43 yards per game throwing, and it is extremely clear why. Quarterback Mark Armstrong has only thrown for 129 yards this season, playing in only four games, and has gone 13-for-51 and no touchdowns.
The statistic that has destroyed the passing game for Bellefonte is that Armstrong has thrown 11 interceptions, and against a tough Bison secondary with depth and talent, that statistic could increase.
On the other side of the ball, Clearfield has been the class of the Mountain League from week one. The Bison have averaged 85 yards passing per game, but have been running the ball seemingly with ease out of the read-option all year, putting forth 361 yards per game on the ground.
The reason: the depth at running back and a dual-threat quarterback.
Quarterback Christian Lezzer is just 172 yards away from eclipsing the 1000-yard mark on the season, and has 14 touchdowns to his name. Meanwhile, Tyler Stratton and Seth Caldwell both have shown incredible talent when the ball is handed their way, combining for over 850 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.
The powerful rushing game has made the passing game not necessarily non-existent, but sometimes unnecessary. Lezzer is averaging 85 yards passing per game, but more often than not he is not asked to pass the ball once the team has a comfortable lead, which usually when the second half starts that has already occurred.
This game could be another one of those contests as it seems like it is a David vs. Goliath battle.
The autumn weather has descended upon central Pennsylvania, so expect the chill to be in the air when game time rolls around on Friday night. Kickoff in Bellefonte is set for 7 p.m.
|ST. JOAN OF ARC
|45 – 7
|1 – 0
|37 – 15
|2 – 0
|35 – 20
|3 – 0
|58 – 30
|4 – 0
|@ Central Mountain
|49 – 13
|5 – 0
|BALD EAGLE AREA