Second-quarter Bison flurry dooms Dragons
CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield Area High School football team scored three times in the final 4:35 of the first half, including two touchdowns in the last five seconds to blow open Friday’s game against Central at the Bison Sports Complex.
The 21-point onslaught, capped by a 37-yard Isaac Rumery to Taye Lynch TD pass as time expired in the half, made the score 28-7 at the break, and the Bison rolled to a 42-14 victory over the Dragons.
“They were the better team,” Central head coach Dave Baker said. “They are difficult to stop. They are just a very good team. We can say if we could have maintained some things and not given them the ball back at the end of the half, it just would have taken them a little longer.”
Clearfield had 286 yards of offense at the half, while holding Central to just 86. Rumery accounted for 162 of that through the air, but the Bison also asserted themselves on the line of scrimmage as the game wore on.
“We made some big plays, but I thought as the game went on our offensive and defensive lines started to wear them down,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “We pounded the ball, and that takes a lot out of the defense.
“And I thought we did a lot of good things on defense and took a lot away from them. We just played very well on both sides of the ball.”
The game was tied 7-7 with 8:30 left in the second quarter thanks to Dragon quarterback Noah Muthler’s 1-yard run that capped an 11-play, 60-yard drive.
But the Bison answered with their own long drive, going 66 yards in 10 plays with Rumery getting the payoff on a 3-yard run with 4:35 to go in the half. The second of six Zach Hess extra points made it 14-7.
Bison defensive back Jake Lezzer picked off Muthler near midfield on the next series, but the Dragon defense forced Clearfield to go three-and-out and punt the ball away.
After the Dragons moved the ball to their 47, the Clearfield defense stiffened and Central had to punt back to the hosts with a little over a minute left on the second-quarter clock.
That was plenty of time for Clearfield to score. In fact, it was plenty of time for the Bison to score twice.
Rumery guided the Bison on a 7-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a Brett Zattoni 7-yard touchdown run with 4.3 seconds left in the half.
Lezzer made two big plays in the drive, picking up 15 yards on a jet sweep before catching a 41-yard pass from Rumery.
Clearfield squibbed the ensuing kickoff, and the Dragons were unable to come up with the ball. Bison Nick Domico recovered at the Central 37-yard line, giving the hosts one more snap before the half.
The Bison made the most of it with Rumery heaving the ball to Lynch, who jumped over a pair of Dragon defenders in the back of the end zone to come down with a back-breaking 37-yard TD reception as the half ended.
“When those kinds of things happen, you really have problems,” Baker said. “They’re good, and you can’t give them more opportunities than they earn or normally would get. Once you give them those extra possessions, you’ve got problems.”
The Bison offense continued to roll in the second half. Clearfield had scoring drives of 63 and 43 yards and ate up nearly the entire third-quarter clock as the Dragons only ran four plays to the Bisons’ 17.
Muthler was 7-of-12 for 66 yards through the air and added 40 yards rushing on 14 carries. Zach Imler added 51yards on 6 runs.
“I told the kids (after the game), ‘we know where we are and we will get better,'” Baker said. “We will get better. These kids will work hard. They put a lot into this and we try to convince them that you have to get a little bit better every day and play better every week. We could have played a lot better tonight and still not have been as good as (Clearfield).”
Score by Quarters
Central 0 7 0 7 — 14
Clearfield 7 21 14 0 — 42
CL–Freeland 10 run, (Hess kick), 1:09.
CE–Muthler 1 run, (Keith kick), 8:30.
CL– Rumery 3 run, (Hess kick), 4:35.
CL–Zattoni 7 run, (Hess kick), 0:04.
CL– Lynch 37 pass from Rumery, (Hess kick), 0:00.
CL– Zattoni 1 run, (Hess kick), 5:58.
CL–Billotte 1 run, (Hess kick), 0:53.
CE–Kitt 11 pass from Muthler, (Keith kick), 6:24.
TEAM STATISTICS CE C
First downs 13 24
Rushes-yards 31-119 50-252
Comp-Att-Int 8-13-1 11-16-0
Passing Yards 85 171
Total Plays-Yards 44-204 66-423
Fumbles-Lost 7-2 1-1
Punts 3-37.0 1-27.0
Penalties-Yards 2-10 2-20
RUSHING–Central, Imler 6-51, Muthler 14-40, Quarello 5-12, Parks 1-8, Walters 1-4, Marko 3-3, Kurtz 1-1. Clearfield, Zattoni 18-111, Freeland 13-65, Plubell 8-31, Rumery 7-25, Lezzer 2-14, Billotte 2-6.
PASSING–Central, Muthler 7-12-1-66, Kitt 1-1-0-19. Clearfield, Rumery 11-15-0-171, Billotte 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Central, Albright 2-32, Kitt 2-20, McConahy 1-19, Parks 1-8, Walters 1-6, Imler 1-0. Clearfield, Lezzer 6-104, Lynch 3-57, Graham 1-6, Zattoni 1-4.