Tyrone loses heartbreaker to Clearfield
CLEARFIELD – It must have seemed like a little deja vu for the Tyrone football team and its fans Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex as the Golden Eagles dropped a 27-26 decision to Clearfield.
Tyrone had a pair of extra points blocked in Friday’s contest, the second coming with 5:43 left in regulation that kept the Golden Eagles’ lead at 26-20.
But Clearfield (7-0) drove 50 yards for the winning touchdown, getting a 4-yard run from Christian Lezzer and the PAT from Spencer Herrington with 41.2 seconds left.
Tyrone (5-2) also lost last year’s contest by a point (14-13) after missing the potential game-tying field goal late in the fourth.
And the last time Tyrone visited the Bison Sports Complex, it fell by a point (35-34) in a game where it missed three extra points and a field goal.
“That’s what it came down to,” Clearfield coach Tim Janocko said. “Blocking two extra points and getting the field goals from Spencer and having good coverages on punts and kicks. That’s what wins big games.”
“These were two evenly matched teams that played a great football game, and it has to come down to something,” Tyrone coach Steve Guthoff said. “It was just a heck of a football team played by both teams and somebody had to lose.”
While the missed extra points were key, Guthoff thought his kickoffs and kickoff coverage may have been the biggest factor in the game, especially on the last Bison drive, which started at midfield.
“We’re really happy with our guys’ effort tonight, and we’re happy with the execution for the most part,” Guthoff said. “It just came down to one little thing, but a lot of things contributed to it.
“There wasn’t one particular play that did it, but we have to do a better job with special teams. We gave them great field position most of the night, and we don’t have any soccer players on the team at Tyrone. So we don’t have anybody that can kick the ball down the field for us.”
Tyrone’s initial kickoff after taking the 26-20 lead went out of bounds, and Janocko had the Eagles kick it again instead of taking the ball on the 35.
“I thought that was a good move, getting us to re-kick,” Guthoff said.
Tyrone led, 20-17, at the half, despite only running 16 plays and picking up five first downs.
Eagle quarterback Erik Wagner hit Nicholas Getz on a pair of long touchdown passes, finding him on short slants that turned into 74- and 65-yard touchdown jaunts.
“That’s something we’ve actually been doing for three weeks in practice that we haven’t run in a game, knowing we would have it ready for this game,” Guthoff said.
Bison Seth Ford blocked the PAT after the second Getz score. Ford also blocked the Eagle extra point in the fourth quarter.
Clearfield ran 35 plays in the first 24 minutes and collected 14 first downs.
Tyler Stratton gave the Bison a 7-0 lead with a 6-yard touchdown run, while Lezzer plunged in from a yard out to put Clearfield on top, 14-7, after one.
Herrington upped the advantage to 17-7 midway through the second quarter with a 37-yard field goal after the Tyrone defense stuffed the Bison at the 1-yard line twice and then watched the third-down snap sail over Lezzer’s head. Lezzer covered it on the 20.
James Oliver, who was kept in check by the Bison defense most of the night, scored a 21-yard touchdown with 3:42 left in the half to cut the Eagle deficit to 17-14. The 21-yard run was Oliver’s longest of the night. He finished the game with just 39 yards on 12 carries.
“I was really happy with the offensive execution for the most part, but give them credit,” Guthoff said. “They have some big, strong guys up front and they have some good defensive players. They made their plays on defense also.”
Clearfield scored the only points of the third quarter, getting a 26-yard field goal from Herrington to tie the game at 20-20. The Bison had the ball for all but five plays in the stanza.
The Eagle defense came up with a huge play midway through the fourth, sacking Bison quarterback Erik Sellers and forcing him to fumble the ball. Colby Pannebaker pounced on the loose football at the Clearfield 1-yard line and Wagner scored a play later to give the Eagles the 26-20 lead.
But Ford blocked the ensuing extra point and Clearfield went 50 yards in 11 plays to snatch the win from the Eagles.
“We told them we were really proud of them,” Guthoff said. “We said coming into this thing that they were going to punch us in the mouth and we were going to punch them back in the mouth. It was going to be like that until the final play of the game, and that’s exactly how it turned out.”
Score By Quarters
Tyrone7 13 0 6-26
Clearfield14 3 3 7-27
C-Stratton 6 run (Herrington kick), 5:22.
T-Getz 74 pass from Wagner (Umholtz kick), 3:45.
C-C. Lezzer 1 run (Herrington kick), 1:28.
C-Herrington 37 FG, 5:10.
T-Oliver 21 run (Umholtz kick), 3:42.
T-Getz 65 pass from Wagner (kick failed), 2:10.
C-Herrington 26 FG, 6:12.
T-Wagner 1 run (kick failed), 5:43.
C-C. Lezzer 4 run (Herrington kick), 41.2.
Rushing: Tyrone-Oliver 12-39, Wagner 7-37, Hunter 1-5. Clearfield-Lezzer 31-139, Caldwell 17-90, Stratton 7-46, Sellers 6-(-10), Team 2-(-20).
Passing: Tyrone-Wagner 8-16-0-182. Clearfield-Sellers 5-6-0-96.
Receiving: Tyrone-Getz 2-139, Hunter 4-14, Crawford 1-25, Oliver 1-4. Clearfield-C. Lezzer 4-75, Ford 1-21.