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Dragons rally with wild plays

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Central’s Hunter Smith pulls in a TD reception by Clearfield’s Karson Kline on the opening play.

ROARING SPRING — Juniors Parker Gregg and Josh Biesinger pulled out a trick from their middle-school days, and Central stunned Clearfield, 25-21, with a hook-and-lateral play from quarterback Jeff Hoenstine that went a total of 40 yards for a touchdown with 1:04 left to play Friday night at Roaring Spring Athletic Field.

“We used to run that play even back in eighth grade,” Gregg said. “That’s the second time we have ever scored on that play. The first was against Hollidaysburg in our ninth-grade game in our last game of the season. When Josh caught it, and I saw the open field, I knew we were in. It was amazing.”

It was Hoenstine’s third touchdown pass and Central’s fourth of the game — the other came on another trick play where Hoenstine threw backward to Eli Lingenfelter, who found Devon Boyles for a 19-yard touchdown that put the Scarlet Dragons up 13-0 in the second quarter.

Play of the game: It actually wasn’t the game-winning play. Prior to the hook-and-lateral, Hoenstine completed a 21-yard pass to Hunter Smith on fourth-and-14 from Central’s 32-yard line with 2:55 left to play in the game.

Central opted to go for it on fourth down in its own territory despite still having all three timeouts and 3 minutes on the clock out of respect for Clearfield.

“We did not want to give the ball up,” Central coach Dave Baker said. “We just thought if we gave it back to them, we had a very small chance of winning, because even if we stopped them, we would have got the ball back with a minute to go and have to go the whole way. We just didn’t think that was something we could do. We’d rather try the fourth-and-14 play. That was really the play of the game, because if we don’t make that, we’re in trouble.”

Player of the game: Hoenstine finished the game 13-of-21 for 258 yards and threw three touchdown passes. He now has 1,303 yards passing through five games, all wins, this year. He also had an interception defensively with 6:33 to play that set up the game-winning drive.

Unsung hero: Central senior Branson Dodson recovered a Clearfield fumble in the first quarter, sacked Bison quarterback Oliver Billotte for a 15-yard loss in the second quarter and then stuffed Mark McGonigal on fourth-and-2 at Central’s 10-yard line with Clearfield up by two and 9:44 to play.

Most vital statistic: Billotte had not thrown an interception all season until his final two passes Friday — the first to Hoenstine to set up the game-winning drive and the second to Smith that sealed the game with 43 seconds left.

Baker: “They have had our number. We have beaten them a couple times but not very much. I won’t say they’ve owned us, but they have gotten the better of us most of the time.”

Gregg: “We don’t crack under pressure. Even on fourth down, I still felt like we were in a good position.”

Clearfield coach Tim Janocko: “It’s been a crazy year. We have played two games until tonight. I was impressed with the way our kids played on the road. Both teams played well. This season has been nothing I or anyone else has ever experienced before. No excuses, but it what it is. I believe we are going to be OK.”

Clearfield wide receiver Jake Lezzer: “It felt good to be out there and play against such a good team. It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t come away with the win. My knee was a little sore. I tore my ACL last year, so I’m still going through the process of coming back from that.”

Notable: Lezzer finished with 10 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown for Clearfield. … The Scarlet Dragons are assured of one of the top two seeds in the District 6 Class 3A semifinals which begin Oct. 23. … Hoenstine’s first pass of the first half and the second half both went for touchdowns. The first was a 52-yard strike to Smith and the second was a 59-yard toss to Demetrious Harbaugh.

Records: Clearfield (2-1); Central (5-0).

Next week: The Bison will host winless Huntingdon, and Central will be back at home against Penns Valley.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Clearfield 0 14 7 0 — 21

Central 7 6 6 6 — 25

First Quarter

Ce.–Smith 52 pass from Hoenstine (Keith kick), 11:42.

Second Quarter

Ce.–Boyles 19 pass from Lingenfelter (kick failed), 6:54.

Cl.–O. Billotte 34 run (Graves kick), 5:57.

Cl.–Lezzer 10 pass from O. Billotte (Graves kick), 0:28.

Third Quarter

Cl.–McGonigle 2 run (Graves kick), 6:02.

Ce.–Harbaugh 59 pass from Hoenstine (pass failed), 5:08.

Fourth Quarter

Ce.–Gregg 36 lateral after Biesinger 4 pass from Hoenstine (pass failed), 1:04.

TEAM STATISTICS Cl. Ce.

First downs 16 12

Total yards 327 361

Rushes-yards 30-118 22-84

Yards passing 209 277

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 16-27-2 14-22-0

Punts-avg. 2-33 3-30.3

Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0

Penalties-yards 8-56 5-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Clearfield, Plubell 8-34, O. Billotte 11-55, McGonigal 9-40, Firanski 1-2, TEAM 1-(-13). Central, Gregg 12-59, Hoenstine 8-25, Smith 1-0, TEAM 1-(-1).

PASSING–Clearfield, O. Billotte 16-27-2-209. Central, Hoenstine 13-21-0-258, Lingenfelter 1-1-0-19.

RECEIVING–Clearfield, Lezzer 10-176, Kline 3-21, N. Domico 2-8, Plubell 1-4. Central, Smith 3-80, Eicher 3-15, Harbaugh 2-86, Boyles 2-23, Gregg 1-39, Lingenfelter 1-23, Klotz 1-7, Biesinger 1-4.

INTERCEPTIONS–Clearfield, none. Central, Hoenstine, Smith.

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