HYDE — When the 2015 season began for the Clearfield Bison just one week ago, things did not go exactly as hoped. The game got started late due to weather, and then the home team had trouble keeping up with a powerhouse squad from Maryland. But, as the saying goes, it’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.
Clearfield had seven days to get reset, and back to work because one game would not make a season.
The fans once again packed into the Bison Sports Complex, ready to see the red and black home squad take to the field, and attempt to get their record to the .500 mark. Their opposition would be the Penns Valley Rams, who were also looking to get their first win of the year.
It did not take long to see who was the dominant team this night. The Bison would score quickly, early and not yield one bit for the entire 48 minutes of play. The Bison would power their way via a balanced attack of rushing and passing to clinch a 42-18 triumph over the Rams.
“I think I saw a lot of bright spots in a lot of different places. I’m pleased. We did a lot of good things tonight,” head coach Tim Janocko said afterwards. “You always like getting that first one under your belt.”
It was a strong night for the Bison as senior quarterback Cody Spaid accounted for three touchdowns, and junior running back Seth Caldwell accounted for another two.
Caldwell’s night started off quickly right on the opening play from scrimmage, as he would gain 43 yards on his first carry. He and Ryan Lezzer would push it to the two-yard line of the Rams, then Spaid would punch it in from there. Josh Serena booted the extra point, and it was 7-0 early. As quickly as the Bison would score, their next possession would be even quicker, both in time of possession, and when it would occur.
On the ensuing kickoff, Colton Wenrick could not get a handle on the ball. Immediately Clearfield was right there to pounce, and recovered the fumble. In a matter of moments, the game took a completely different feel, as the Bison saw themselves with a 1st and 10 at the Rams 20.
It would take only one play for Clearfield to add to the score, as Spaid hooked up with Jakob Wingate on the opening pass of the evening for the touchdown. Another kick, and not even two minutes into the game it was a two-score gap.
When the Rams finally got on offense, they had trouble getting rolling, and that theme would continue throughout the night. Penns Valley would gain 209 total yards, but it was hard to come by as only 49 of those yards came on the ground. Chase Collison would lead the Rams with 42 yards rushing, but the Bison held strong all night long, keeping the Rams in check.
“Like I said in the (radio) pregame, Penns Valley has some good athletes and they did a good job with them, but we did a nice job in all aspects of the game,” Janocko said.
Spaid continued to be strong as he would toss another touchdown pass to Wingate at the 7:37 mark of the first quarter, this one from 13 yards out. Serena’s right foot made it 21-0, and still there was a lot of game left to play. Spaid would have another strong night, as he accounted for 115 yards passing, on 10 completions.
Penns Valley’s highlight of the game would come on the next Clearfield possession.
After the Rams turned the ball over on a fumble, Spaid again would look to his right for Wingate, but Ben Alexander would make a play on the ball, snagging the interception. He would then take off down the entire sideline in front of his teammates and coaches in a 73-yard interception return touchdown. The extra point sailed wide left, leaving the score 21-6 entering the second quarter.
It would not be until a mere two minutes would be left in the half when the Bison would score again, this time on a strong run by Lezzer. He would follow his blocks up the center and then cut into the secondary for a 25-yard rumble for his lone touchdown of the night. Another kick by Serena and it was 28-6 at the halftime break.
The second half was highlighted by Caldwell being the workhorse for the Bison, as a week ago he could not get anything going. Entering the third quarter, the junior already had 119 yards rushing, but in the second half he would account for the final two scores for Clearfield.
His first came on a plunge from three yards out with 7:40 left in the third, but his big play came later in the same quarter. On a 1st and 10 from the Rams 32, he would get a gap between center and guard, then cut hard to the left, and it was off to the races. The team was happy to see him get his legs working on the night, as his two scores made it 42-6 with just a quarter left to play.
“I thought our offensive line blocked real well, and Seth ran real well. I also think our receivers blocked real well for him downfield. It’s nice to see him get rolling early in the season,” Janocko said of his running back.
The Rams would score two final times in the fourth quarter, the first coming on a three-yard pass from Andrew Tobias to Corby Woodring. The ensuing two-point conversion pass would fall incomplete, and that would be the last time Tobias and many of the varsity players would see action in the game.
Tobias and Alexander both spent time at quarterback, combining for 120 yards through the air and a touchdown. The jayvee squads would take over from there, with the Rams having their final big play coming on a 4th and 6 at the Bison 40. After six runs, Penns Valley would drop back to pass, and Justin Sands would find a completely wide open Tristen Klinefelter in the left corner of the end zone.
The two-point try resulted in a fumble, but with just over a minute left, the game was well in hand.
Now at 1-1, the Bison are feeling good, and Janocko is glad to see his team get that first win under their belts, but knows that a challenge is waiting for them next week. For the first time this year, the Bison hit the road and they start out with a tough task as they travel to take on the Dragons of Central-Martinsburg.
Janocko knows the history of these two teams, including what happened to the squad a year ago at the BSC.
“We’ve had our way with them. Obviously last year we lost, and up until then we had never lost to them. Last season was the first time we’ve lost to Central, and it was a heartbreaker,” Janocko said. “It will be a tough game going down there. They are obviously a good football team judging by the Tyrone score (tonight).
“They are a juggernaut right now, so it’s going to take a heck of a game to go down there and win.”
Kickoff between the Dragons and the Bison will be set for 7 p.m. in Roaring Spring.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Penns Valley 6 0 0 12 – 18
Clearfield 21 7 14 0 – 42
BISON: 2-yard run by Spaid (Serena kick), 10:25
BISON: 20-yard pass from Spaid to Wingate (Serena kick), 10:14
BISON: 13-yard pass from Spaid to Wingate (Serena kick), 7:37
RAMS: 73-yard interception return TD by Alexander (Collison kick Wide-Left), 5:23
BISON: 25-yard run by Lezzer (Serena kick), 2:00
BISON: 3-yard run by Caldwell (Serena kick), 7:40
BISON: 32-yard run by Caldwell (Serena kick), 2:20
RAMS: 3-yard pass from Tobias to Woodring (Conversion failed), 11:51
RAMS: 40-yard pass from Sands to Klinefelter (Conversion failed), 1:05
First Downs: 8/16
Rush Yards: 49/312
Pass Yards: 160/115
Total Yards: 209/427
Time of Possession: 24:28/23:32
Penns Valley: Alexander-11 carries, 8 yards; Collison-10 carries, 42 yards; Steiger-3 carries, 9 yards; Wenrick-2 carries, no yards; Tobias-2 carries, (-5) yards; Sands-1 carry, 1 yard.
Clearfield: Caldwell-14 carries, 162 yards, 2 TD; Lezzer-7 carries, 76 yards, TD; Shimmel-6 carries, 43 yards; Bender-4 carries, 18 yards; Bumbarger-3 carries, 13 yards; Spaid-2 carries, (-5) yards; Graham-1 carry, (-1) yard; Thomas-1 carry, (-1) yard.
Penns Valley: Tobias-7 for 14, 65 yards, TD; Alexander-5 for 8, 55 yards; Sands-1 for 1, 40 yards, TD.
Clearfield: Spaid-10 for 14, 115 yards, 2 TD, INT
Penns Valley: Alexander-3 catches, 14 yards; Woodring-3 catches, 13 yards, TD; Hurd-2 catches, 42 yards; Cain-2 catches, 4 yards; Klinefelter-1 catch, 40 yards, TD; Bubb-1 catch, 27 yards; Rudolph-1 catch, 15 yards.
Clearfield: Wingate-5 catches, 68 yards, 2 TD; Lezzer-3 catches, 27 yards; Norris-1 catch, 12 yards; Heichel-1 catch, 8 yards.
|09/04||FORT HILL, MD||14 – 49||0 – 1|
|09/11||PENNS VALLEY||42 – 18||1 – 1|
|10/23||BALD EAGLE AREA|