Clearfield falls to Berwick in Eastern Semifinal
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, November 30th, 2013
After his Bulldogs rolled over the Bison of Clearfield, George Curry summed up his teams efforts: “You have to be able to run the ball this time of the year.” Berwick, led by C.J.Curry (147 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Dain Kowalski (119 yards rushing and 1 touchdown) plowed their way to the Eastern AAA final with over 300 yards rushing to top the Bison 44-7 at Mihalik Stadium in Lock Haven.
Clearfield took the early momentum stopping Berwick on the first series of the game in three plays. The first Bison drive wasn’t much more successful except that they pinned the Dawgs deep in their own territory on the ensuing punt. Two plays later Ryan Lezzer intercepted a Curry pass at the 40 and returned it to the Berwick 19. Christian Lezzer then called his own number 4 times, going in from 4 yards out to get the early lead. It was the last time the Bison would score, but certainly not their last chance.
Berwick answered with a 61 yard, 12 play drive. Curry took the ball in from four yards out and Olivia Seely tied the score at 7 with 9:30 to go in the second half.
On Clearfield’s next possession Dain Kowalski got his first of 2 interceptions on the night.(Kowalski would also later recover a key fumble for Berwick). Berwick ran 4 plays when Curry found a streaking Andrew Force down the left sideline for a 48 yard pass play to the Bison 5 yard line. Curry carried the ball over the goal line from 2 yards out to give the Dawgs a 14-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Bison again got great field position to start its next series at their 48, but on 4th down from the 24 Tyler Stratton was stopped short of the first down and Berwick took over with just 47 seconds remaining in the half. On the third play of the drive Curry was intercepted at the Bison 35. Clearfield had the ball with only 8 seconds to go in the half but it turned out to be a very bad 8 seconds. On the second play of the drive Lezzer launched a deep throw and Dain Kowalski intercepted the pass. Kowalski then zipped up the right side after avoiding a few tackles and 75 yards later Berwick celebrated in the endzone. Seeley’s kick gave the Dawgs a 21-7 lead going into the break. “Man, I saw that opening and just started running. I think that play really helped us get some momentum going into the second half” said Kowalski of the pick and run.
Clearfield received the opening kick of the second half and proceeded to march 66 yards to the Berwick one yard line. Tyler Stratton took the hand off and ran toward the endzone but a crushing hit by Kowalski jarred the ball loose and the DB just scooped the ball out of the air. “That play was a game changer” said Coach Curry. “Those turnovers, we both had them, but that one. Man, did you hear that hit? That one really fired our boys up”.
With some nifty cutback runs Kowalski led the Dawgs on a 99 yard scoring play, taking the ball in himself from 12 yards out for the back breaking score. “They (Clearfield) were biting on the fullback dive every time I lined up in it” said Jordan Stout. “We were able to just run the ball because they were being over aggressive”. Stout ran in the 2 point conversion and Berwick was in total control.
Berwick forced Clearfield to punt after only three plays and Curry padded the Bulldog lead with a 37 yard scoring strike to a wide open Ian Mazonkey. “We really wanted to try and get our tight ends open in the second half and it worked” said Coach Curry.
The Bulldogs closed out the scoring on a 62 yard run from C.J. Curry.
“I think that was my best game of the year. They just kept biting on the dive so I’d just keep it and run. We saw that in the first half and used it in the second” said the senior QB.
“That’s a good team coach (Tim) Janocko has over there that we beat tonight. They never gave up, even when their quarterback got hurt. My hat’s off to them, heck of a ball club” said coach Curry.
Clearfield’s season ends at a respectable 13-1 while Berwick will move on to face Archbishop Wood next week in the AAA Eastern final.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball