HYDE — The defeated feeling from a week ago was one that had a very sour taste that seemed to linger the entire way home for the Clearfield Bison following the 22-13 loss to Forest Hills. However, once the clock struck midnight on Saturday, the game was in the past, and the focus went to the next obstacle in the quest for a winning season. That obstacle would be long-standing rival Philipsburg-Osceola, and the two would do battle under the lights at the Bison Sports Complex.
There was no doubt as to how the Bison felt after the game, as thanks to a powerful ground game, and the defense forcing turnovers, Clearfield took a 44-7 victory to get back to their winning ways.
“The kids were fired up. We had a good week at practice, and came out hot,” Bison head coach Myles Caragein said afterwards. “We focused on each kid doing their job, and they did that. They read their keys, swarmed, and made big plays.”
What was a struggle a week ago ultimately was what got Clearfield going early. After having difficulty on the ground against Forest Hills, the Bison came out ready to establish the ground game, and used five of the first seven plays on the opening drive to do so. Add in a couple deep passes from quarterback Will Domico and the Bison went from their own 32 to inside the red zone of the Mounties. Carter Chamberlain capped off the opening drive by plowing into the end zone for his first score of the night. With the extra point, Clearfield took a quick 7-0 lead.
That lead would grow in a quick fashion following the ensuing kickoff. Returner Sam McDonald took the ball inside his own 10 but the swarming special teams of Clearfield knocked the ball loose, and ended up in a turnover as the Bison took the ball right back for another possession already working downhill. Five plays later, Domico punched the ball into the end zone for the second touchdown in a three-minute gap. Warren Diethrick pushed the point after to the right, leaving the score 13-0 with just under half a quarter to play.
A three-and-out by P-O on their first drive of the game led to a punt, and another Clearfield score as Chamberlain capped off a 60-yard drive with a two-yard plunge to the goal line. After one quarter, Clearfield’s 20-0 lead was well in hand.
The start of the second quarter was a case of deja vu for the Mounties. Faced with 3rd-and-4 near midfield, a misfire on a backwards pass caused a loss of yardage, and a quick recovery from Clearfield, setting the Bison up inside the P-O 10. But, for the first time all night, the Bison could not convert it into a touchdown as their own fumble in the backfield cost yardage, but not possession. Diethrick was called on for his first field goal of the season, and he split the uprights to make the score 23-0 with 9:26 remaining in the half.
Clearfield wasn’t done as on their next drive, the defense forced Mountie quarterback Zack Meyers to make an inopportune pass, with Colton Ryan pulling down the interception. Four plays later, Clearfield got in the end zone again, this time when Domico connected with Brady Collins on a 13-yard strike. Domico finished the night with a pair of scores through the air, going 8-for-12 and 146 yards. The extra point made it 30-0 in favor of Clearfield with still half a quarter to play before intermission.
The Mounties finally managed to get on the board when Jakodi Jones got going on the ground following the Bison score, capping off a 10-play drive with a 13-yard run to the end zone. Clearfield’s lead was cut down, but they just as quickly got it back. It took four plays, three through the air, for the Bison to get within one score of a running clock. This came at the hands of Domico and Carter Freeland, as they connected on the second touchdown through the air on the night, this from 31 yards out.
Going into halftime, the Bison held a 37-7 lead, and were feeling rejuvenated after the struggles a week earlier.
“It was a tough loss at Forest Hills for all of us. But we kept fighting to get better, and we did,” Caragein said. “We simplified the gameplan to make it easy. I think I was putting too much on their plate, so I took some things out and got back to basics.
“They performed well, made some nice catches, great blocking. Just an overall much improved performance.”
Clearfield’s final score came in the third quarter as Chamberlain showed that he had speed, power, and a strong offensive line, as he capped off a 62-yard drive with an eight-yard score to put the running clock into effect. The senior tailback finished with a team-high 84 yards rushing and three touchdowns, his best performance of the year.
After P-O was forced to punt, Caragein moved many of his second-string players in for some playing time as the third quarter came to a close. But, after one play into the final quarter, officials had to call a stoppage as despite no rain falling near the field, some lightning was seen in the distance and was close enough to move players into the locker room. Both Caragein and P-O head coach Jeff Vroman met with officials on the field after players went into the locker room to discuss the situation. Even with no precipitation in the area, the lightning stoppage meant a guaranteed 30-minute delay, with the clock being reset if another strike was within a certain distance of the field.
With this in mind, and the running clock already started, the coaches, officials, plus Clearfield Athletic Director Bob Gearhart, agreed to call the game with 11:52 remaining in the final quarter.
With another win under their belt, Clearfield (2-1) is back on the road next week against Bellefonte (1-2), 49-6 winners over Bishop-Guilfoyle Friday night.
SCORE BY QUARTER
P-O 0 7 0 0 – 7
Clearfield 20 17 7 0 – 44
- BISON: Chamberlain 10-yard run (Diethrick kick), 8:37
- BISON: Domico 1-yard run (kick wide-right), 5:37
- BISON: Chamberlain 2-yard run (Diethrick kick), 1:02
- BISON: Diethrick 30-yard field goal, 9:26
- BISON: Domico pass to Collins for 13 yards (Diethrick kick), 6:58
- MOUNTIES: Jones 13-yard run (Long kick), 2:11
- BISON: Domico pass to Freeland for 31 yards (Diethrick kick), 1:10
- BISON: Chamberlain 8-yard run (Diethrick kick), 6:44
- No scoring
- First Downs: 7/15
- Rush Yards: 81/161
- Pass Yards: 31/146
- Penalties-Yards: 7-50/3-20
- Total Yards: 112/307
- Turnovers: 3/1
- Time of Possession: 24:13/12:55*
*Game called with 11:52 remaining in the 4th.
- P-O: Jones-17 carries, 86 yards, TD; McDonald-4 carries, 14 yards; Barger-2 carries, 1 yard; Meyers-1 carry, 1 yard; Team-1 carry, (-21) yards.
- Clearfield: Chamberlain-10 carries, 84 yards, 3 TD; Freeland-5 carries, 23 yards; Domico-4 carries, 19 yards; Collins-4 carries, 15 yards; Owens-3 carries, 12 yards; Bell-1 carry, 8 yards.
- P-O: Meyers-3 for 14, 31 yards, INT.
- Clearfield: Domico-8 for 12, 146 yards, 2 TD.
- P-O: Johnson-2 catches, 21 yards; Barger-1 catch, 10 yards.
- Clearfield: Freeland-3 catches, 73 yards, TD; Collins-3 catches, 37 yards, TD; Bell-2 catches, 36 yards.
Date Opponent Score Record
08/25 TYRONE 29 – 21 1 – 0
09/01 @ Forest Hills 13 – 22 1 – 1
09/08 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 44 – 7 2 – 1
09/15 @ Bellefonte
09/29 PENNS VALLEY
10/06 @ Bald Eagle Area
10/13 @ Richland
10/20 @ Central 10/27 TBD