Red Raiders Slaughter the Bison with Explosive Second Half
Written by: Phil Myers on Saturday, November 4th, 2017
The Bellefonte Red Raiders defeated the Clearfield Bison 62-21 at Rogers Stadium in Bellefonte Friday night in a District 5-6-9 semi-final playoff game. Bellefonte turned a close game into a slaughter by outscoring Clearfield 35-0 in the second half. “I was glad our offense was clicking, because defensively we were in a flux for a little bit,” stated Red Raider head coach Shanon Manning.
The Raiders hit on all cylinders offensively by scoring on 8 of their 9 possessions for the game and racking up 534 yards in the process. Quarterback Dylan Deitrich led the way by rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns, plus throwing for a couple of scores and 123 yards. “Our offense is very good and hard to stop with all the weapons we have,” declared Deitrich. Stephen Kutches caught both TD passes and C.J. Funk contributed two more tallies on the ground.
Bellefonte’s Cade Fortney took the opening kickoff 33 yards to set the Red Raiders up at their 45-yard line. Six plays later, with only 2:14 gone, Deitrich ran five yards up the middle for the game’s first score and a 6-0 lead. Clearfield answered with a twelve play, 57-yard drive. They scored when QB Isaac Rumery found Spencer Graham for a 7 yard scoring toss. Jakob Sorbera hit the PAT to give the Bison the upper hand, 7-6, at the 5:10 mark of the first.
The Red Raiders retook the lead for good, marching 67 yards down the field in nine plays. With 2:26 on the clock, Funk found the end zone from 21 yards out on a jet sweep which was a play the Bison just couldn’t seem to stop. Funk had 8 carries for 141 yards on the night and most of that yardage was on jet sweeps. “Funk worked hard (this year) to run the jet and tonight it was there,” said Manning.
After forcing a Bison three and out, the red clad Raiders quickly covered 70 yards in 5 plays. The last two were a 32 yard pass from Deitrich to Kutches and the scoring play, which saw Deitrich go 17 on a quarterback draw. Chris Persico, who had only missed one PAT all year, made his first of six, after barely missing the first two. That gave Bellefonte a 19-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Clearfield fumbled the subsequent kickoff and began their next possession at their thirteen. On third down and thirteen from their ten, Rumery rolled right and found a wide open Taye Lynch near midfield and Lynch raced the rest of the distance for a 90 yard TD to cut Bellefonte’s lead to 19-14. Later, half way through the second quarter, the Red Raiders scored on a two play 50 yard drive. Deitrich ran 23 yards on the first play, then Funk took it to the house on a reverse counter play. Deitrich ran in the 2-point conversion to increase the Bellefonte margin to 27-14. Little did anyone know or anticipate, the Bison would tally their last score of the evening with six seconds remaining in the half when Rumery surged in, on fourth down, from the one.
With the home team up 27-21 to begin half two, Clearfield received the kick with a chance to take the lead, but the Red Raiders had made some defensive changes. The first two Bison possessions netted a minus 12 yards, and as a result Bellefonte never looked back because the offense continued to score at will. Deitrich said the team felt comfortable about winning when, “Right out of the half we stopped them and went down and scored, and stopped them and went down and scored again.” Manning alluded to the defense stepping it up in the second half by saying, “Coach (Terry) Bumgardner made some changes at half time on base reads out of different formations and, to be honest, our pass rush got better.”
The second half scoring started with Deitrich hitting Kutches for a 47 yard TD. Then Dexter Gallishaw, who rushed for a hundred yards too, galloped 11 yards to the house to put Bellefonte on top 41-21 by the end of the third quarter. The Red Raiders tacked on another Deitrich to Kutches TD toss, a Colton Burd 8 yard run, and a breathtaking 64 yard pick six by Fortney in the final stanza.
Notes and Other Quotes: Bellefonte, now 9-2 on the year, moves on to play Greater Johnstown in the District 5-6-9 final next week. Johnstown beat Bradford 35-13. “We lost to a good football team”, observed losing coach Tim Janocko, “they have a lot of good athletes.” Clearfield, finished with a record of 6-5, was paced by Rumery, who went 16 for 32 pitching the pigskin for 209 yards and two scores. He had two interceptions in the second half, but numerous drops prevented better statistics and more importantly, a closer game. Lynch had 8 grabs for 164 yards plus a touchdown for the Bison. Janocko has most of his team back next year and is already looking forward to that. “It was huge to have a team this young and have a winning season and make the playoffs,” he said, “it’s the youngest ever put on the field in my career.”
Bellefonte had 411 yards on the ground and three hundred-yard rushers in Deitrich, Funk, and Gallishaw. “You got to give credit to the offensive line, obviously,” asserted Deitrich. Manning had this to say about Bellefonte’s success on offense and one of Clearfield’s players, “Rumery is one of the most dynamic defensive players we’ve seen this year. Him not being out there (the whole game) made a big difference. He’s a great football player on both sides of the ball.”
In an absolutely fantastic half time show both bands played one song each and then combined, almost 200 strong, to play ‘Loiue, Louie’ and ‘God Bless America’ in a stirring and moving performance. Each band had similar uniforms, black and red with white trim, so it looked like one huge band on the field.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball