Cats ride Border to big road victory

By Tyler Kolesar

For the Mirror

CLEARFIELD — If you like offense, Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex was the place to be for high school football fans.

Both the Huntingdon Bearcats and the Clearfield Bison racked up over 1,000 yards of total offense, with four touchdowns coming in the opening 3:40 of the game.

However, three of those scores belonged to Bearcat running back Ian Border, who gashed the Bison defense routinely on the night for 288 yards on 23 carries en route to a 45-27 win.

“He paid his dues in the weight room,” Bearcats coach Michael Hudy said of his workhorse running back. “(Border) is an example of what you can do if you work hard.”

Borders finished with four touchdowns.

“He’s a great football player,” Bison coach Tim Janocko said. “We knew that coming in. He runs through tackles and we have some young kids playing on the defensive side of the ball.”

On the first offensive play of the game, Border took it 54 yards to the house after numerous broken tackles for a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds in. Once Clearfield went three-and-out, the Bearcats needed three more plays to score. After a Jonathan Price 56-yard end around got Huntingdon to the Bison 8, Border punched it in two plays later for a 14-0 lead.

Clearfield quickly answered as Bison quarterback Isaac Rumery shot up the middle on a keeper for a 66-yard score 21 seconds later. That cut the Huntingdon lead to 14-7. But just three Bearcat offensive plays later, they struck paydirt once again. Border notched his third score with a 27-yard romp that put the Bearcats up 21-7 after Giovan Scaccia’s PAT kick.

“I didn’t know it was going to go that way,” Hudy said of the first quarter.

The Bison started to settle down after that on the defensive side, holding the Bearcats to a 30-yard Scaccia field goal over the next two quarters. The only problem was the Bison didn’t do much better in terms of finding the end zone.

Micah Heichel’s 8-yard reception from Rumery 52 seconds into the second quarter was the lone touchdown until the scoring onslaught picked up again in the fourth.

“Huntingdon’s a real good football team,” Janocko said. “I said we were going to play back-to-back really good football teams. And we did. We were shocked a little bit there in the first half. I thought we got better in the second half and moved the football. We just didn’t stick it in a couple times when we needed to.”

Three different times on the night, the Bison got well into Bearcats territory and came away empty handed. Clearfield got to the Bearcats’ 29 with less than a second to go before halftime. However, an interception by Alex Mykut ended that drive.

Clearfield’s opening drive in the third quarter lasted 14 plays and 77 yards. But on fourth-and-1 at Huntingdon’s 3, the Bearcats stuffed Brett Zattoni up the middle and took over on downs.

“A couple of times in the red zone, we needed to put it in,” Janocko said. “We could’ve gotten back where we had a chance to win the game, but we didn’t (score) in the third quarter.”

Bison defender Taye Lynch picked off an Andrew Hudy pass six plays later and Clearfield drove down to the Huntingdon 21. Once again, a Rumery interception, this time by Price, nullified any momentum the home Bison had received.

The Bearcats put the game out of reach with Nick Troha’s lone pass on the night, as he found Price for a 62-yard score and a 24-point lead with 9:15 to play.

“We mix our personnel around with different packages,” Hudy said. “It’s all about breaking tendencies.”

While the Bison quickly answered with a score of its own 29 seconds later with Rumery finding Spencer Graham on a 3-yard pass, it was too little, too late.

Hudy’s different packages included Border taking control of the wildcat formation in the fourth quarter to run out the clock. On second-and-22, Border scored his fourth and final touchdown on the night, this time from 48 yards out, to give Huntingdon a 45-20 lead with 3:40 to play.

The Bison got their final score on a 20-yard Luke McGonigal touchdown reception with 26 seconds left in the game.

Huntingdon hosts Penns Valley next week while Clearfield (2-2) travels to Central Mountain.