Bison Stampede runs over St. Joan of Arc
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, August 31st, 2013
Arc Angel head coach Tom Pianta said before the game ,”We want to expose our guys to a high level of football, where the coaching is excellent, the players take it seriously and we want to expose them to the best football possible.” They picked the right team to face. Clearfield was led by Boston College bound quarterback Christian Lezzer who had 140 rushing on the night. They ran all over the visitors from Ontario racking up 316 yards on the ground for a 45-7 win. But it didn’t come easy at first.
Highly touted D1 prospect Nate Hobbs led his team to the Bison 7 on their first drive. Running back Saad Amir carried for 35 yards but the key play in the drive came on 4th down from the Arc Angel 38. Hobbs dropped back to take the punt snap then took off right for an 18 yard gain and 1st down. Two incomplete passes gave the Arc Angels 4th down at the Bison 7. That’s when Clearfield coach Tim Janocko showed his first card. “We knew we had to make a few plays on special teams so we worked on that this week.” The work paid off. Wyatt Flanagan burst through the line and blocked the field goal attempt.
Lezzer didn’t exactly catch fire early. Following two nice 15 yard runs, one by Sr. running back Seth Ford and the other by Lezzer, Lezzer took off right but was hit hard and put the ball on the ground for his first of two turnovers on the night. “I made a few mistakes out there, dropping the ball a couple times. I was really disappointed with that and need to work on that,” said Lezzer of his mistakes.
Clearfield’s Cory Shimmel intercepted a Hobbs pass on the ensuing drive and it was all Clearfield from this point on. Lezzer scampered for 22 yards on the second play of the drive, then hit Ford for a 20 yard scoring pass. Ford had 43 yards rushing with 1 touchdown and 2 catches for 35 yards and a score.
The special teams plan showed its head again on the next Arc Angel drive. Following a sack by Wyatt Flanagan, Nick Kovalick blocked the next Hobbs punt attempt and the ball rolled out of bounds at the one yard line. Ford got the one yard scoring run and, with the point after by kicker Spencer Harrington, the Bison were off and running 13-0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
Kovalick again disrupted the Arc Angel punting game nearly blocking the kick and forcing Hobbs to run on the next series but he failed to get the first down. A 16 yard reception to receiver Ryan Lezzer gave the Bison the ball on the 2 and #4 called his own number, punching in for the score and a 20-0 lead with 10:22 still left in the 2nd quarter.
The Bison defense stepped up big time, holding the Arc Angels to negative 20 yards on 3 plays, setting up a 4th and 30 from their own 4. Hobbs took the intentional safety giving the Bison a 22-0 lead.
It was here where Lezzer stepped it up a bit, literally. Following a couple pass completions to Ford, the Bison faced a 4th and 4 from the 22. Lezzer took the snap, scampered right then up field. When the Arc Angel defender went for his legs Lezzer lept skyward hurdling the defender and eventually running to the endzone. The point after gave Clearfield a 29-0 lead heading into halftime.
“Next man up” Janocko said in his victory speech to his team. He was talking about freshman tailback Seth Caldwell. The speedy little back took over for an injured Tyler Stratton. Stratton was injured early in the first half and rather than risk further problems coach Janocko opted to hold him out of the game. His first carry of the second half was a 26 yard scamper to the one yard line. Lezzer punched it in for the 36-0 lead. St. Joan of Arc would finally see a glimpse of why Hobbs is a D1 prospect as he hit receiver Jared Liberman in stride for a 55 yard score.
It was here that Caldwell, who ended the night with 117 yards on 15 carries, took over. The Canadian team just had no answer for the speedy back. “He’s a freshman, has a heck of a future” said Janocko of the “next man up”. Following another defensive stand and safety on punt, Caldwell would close the scoring with a 1 yard run.
“We played a team tonight that had a lot of speed and we were able to contain them. We’ve got a tough schedule coming up and we just have to keep working hard like we did tonight” said Janocko of his teams win. Clearfield faces Penns Valley next week in a key early match up.
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