HYDE — Coming out of a two-week road trip to start the season, the Clearfield Bison were ready to take refuge in their home field house on Friday night. A clear, but cool, air came across the Bison Sports Complex as the DuBois Beavers came in ready to spoil the home opener for the team clad in black.
Early on, things were tough sledding, and momentum was hard to come by. But when it mattered most, the Bison dug in their cleats, and the offensive line provided the spark. That led to a decisive 41-7 triumph to improve Clearfield’s record to 2-1 on the season.
“Our offensive line played really well. We definitely got off the football; our offensive line was spectacular,” Bison head coach Tim Janocko said afterwards. “The backs ran hard, Brady (Collins) had a big came, as did Carter (Chamberlain). We made some throws when we needed to as well.”
The ground game was exactly what the Bison rode the entire night, as the offensive line was pushing the opposition backwards almost every play. Despite having a size difference, it appeared that the conditioning and focus took over, allowing Clearfield to rack up nearly 300 yards of offense, with 90 percent of that coming on the ground.
Clearfield struck first in the opening quarter when Collins found daylight on the left side of the field, rumbling right down the DuBois sideline for a 34-yard sprint to put the Bison in the lead. Evan Davis’ right foot made the score 7-0 nearly halfway into the first quarter. But, it did not stay that way for long.
The ensuing kickoff would fall the way of the Beavers when Nathan Kougher took the ball at his own 10, found a hole to his left, and left the entire Bison coverage team behind. The 90-yard return, along with the extra point, tied the game up at seven-all, where it remained through the first quarter.
It wasn’t until the second quarter when the Bison really showed what their offensive line could do. Even without scoring, they were imposing their will. Defensively, Clearfield was making it difficult for DuBois to gain any offense, as they were held to under 100 yards of total offense. The Bison, however, were able to find daylight in a big way when Jacob Samsel took a 1st and 10 handoff at his own 48, broke into the secondary, and out-sprinted the entire Beavers defense to the end zone. After a quick pose, he celebrated with his team, and watched Davis put up the extra point to give Clearfield the 14-7 lead, which held into the halftime break.
When the teams came out for the second half, it became clear who was the more hungry, and more fresh, of the teams.
DuBois began to struggle on offense, as the front four of Clearfield found penetration, forcing errant throws and tackling for short yardage. It was obvious looking at the coaching staff for Clearfield, they could see the visiting team was getting tired. The opening drive of the third quarter took just over five minutes off the clock, with all except one play being runs. Collins then made a case for deja vu, finding another open lane into the secondary for a 33-yard sprint to the end zone. Davis was true again, pushing the score to 21-7.
Janocko at that point knew the way to continue to dominate was ground-and-pound, seeing that the Beavers were unable to stop the run.
“We definitely controlled the line of scrimmage. That was the difference, I thought,” he said. “As long as we can continue to get better, especially our younger kids getting that valuable experience, coming through the stretch we just had, I’m happy with where we are at heading into the rest of the season.”
He certainly felt happier when his team went up another score after both Collins and Chamberlain set up the offense just outside the goal line. Quarterback Will Domico called his own number, after having to be out for one play due to cramping, to score his touchdown. Davis saw his extra point bang off the left upright, leaving it 27-7 heading into the final quarter.
Collins capped off his night in a big way, adding another 34-yard sprint to the end zone on the next Bison drive, his third of the game. Collins ran for a season-high 161 yards on 16 carries. Quite the average for the sophomore running back. But, he also made the dagger play on the ensuing Beavers’ drive.
Quarterback Trey Wingard looked to his right, and then went for the pass down field. Collins stepped right in front of the route, snatching the interception. He wasn’t done yet as he had an open field in front of him, rumbling up the sidelines for a pick-six that deflated the Beavers sidelines, and allowed the Bison a chance to give its underclassmen a chance to get on the field.
“We’ve been so close the last couple weeks to making those big plays, just a hair away,” Janocko said. “I saw it come together last week. Tonight, we put every aspect together for this one.”
Getting the win in a dominant fashion put a smile on Janocko’s face. His night began with a surprise from athletic director Bob Gearhart, who presented a plaque in honor of winning his 300th-career game one week ago. Soon after, his wife, Trina, daughter and grand-daughter all joined in and handed him a football from that game, forever symbolizing the moment.
When asked if win number 301 felt any different, the long-time head coach chuckled, stating, “They all feel great, but I gotta tell ya, last week was pretty good, too.”
Clearfield goes back on the road next week for a quick trip up Rt. 322 to face Philipsburg-Osceola.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Dubois 7 0 0 0 – 7
Clearfield 7 7 13 14 – 41
- BISON: 34-yard run by Collins (Davis Kick), 6:54
- BEAVERS: 90-yard kickoff return by Kougher (Harman Kick), 6:40
- BISON: 52-yard run by Samsel (Davis Kick), 4:17
- BISON: 33-yard run by Collins (Davis Kick), 6:50
- BISON: 1-yard run by Domico (Davis Kick Failed), 1:13
- BISON: 34-yard run by Collins (Davis Kick), 11:00
- BISON: 35-yard interception return by Collins (Davis Kick), 10:20
- First Downs: 2/12
- Rush Yards: 33/270
- Pass Yards: 17/25
- Total Yards: 50/295
- Penalties-Yards: 1-5/0-0
- Turnovers: 2/0
- Time of Possession: 16:09/31:51
- Dubois: Dixon-5 carries, 13 yards; Hays-5 carries, 6 yards; Orr-4 carries, 2 yards; Team-2 carries, (-3) yards; Nissel-1 carry, 13 yards; Yale-1 carry, 3 yards; Henery-1 carry, 9 tards, Hanzley-1 carry, (-1) yards.
- Clearfield: Collins-16 carries, 161 yards, 3 TD (35-yard interception return TD); Chamberlain-11 carries, 40 yards; Domico-9 carries, (-11) yards, TD; Bell-5 carries, 13 yards; Samsel-1 carry 52 yards, TD; Lazauskas-1 arry, 6 yards; Curry-1 carry, 1 yard; Ryan-1 carry, 0 yards; Team-1 carry, (-1) yards.
- Dubois: Hays-2 for 15, 2 yards; Wingard-3 for 4, 17 yards, INT.
- Clearfield: Domico-1 for 7, 25 yards.
- Dubois: Orr-1 catch, 3 yards; Nissel-1 catch 16 yards; Kougher-1 catch, (-2) yards (90-yard kickoff return TD).
- Clearfield: Collins-1 catch, 25 yards.