John Wiley’s first game as Clearfield’s head coach didn’t go very well. The Bison traveled to Roaring Spring to face Central in the 1981 season opener and went home on the wrong end of a 26-6 loss. In that game, Clearfield ran 42 plays for just 117 yards, including an average of only 1.6 yards per carry. Wiley had brought the Wishbone to Clearfield after the Bison had successfully run the Delaware Wing-T under previous coach Kevin Karrs for several seasons. However, the former assistant at North Hills was unable to get the Bison moving offensively in Clearfield’s first-ever matchup with Central.
That wouldn’t be a problem when the two teams met the following year. On September 3, 1982, the Dragons traveled to Hyde to face a much different Clearfield team. The 1982 Bison would finish 9-2, an enormous improvement over Wiley’s first team, which went 2-8-1. Against Central in the rematch, Clearfield showed impressive balance by rushing for 201 yards and passing for 213 more. Bison quarterback Bob Sunderland threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as Clearfield rolled to a 40-0 win. The Bison defense picked off three passes, recovered three fumbles, and held Central to 86 yards of offense in a game that was never in doubt. The game was the first 40-point win by a Clearfield team since a 45-0 win over Tyrone in 1958 and featured nearly half as many points as the Bison had scored in 11 games the previous season (87).
Wiley adjusted his offense for the 1982 season, moving to what The Progress called a “modified Pro-I.” Sunderland – who would go on to play football at the Naval Academy – hit Randy Learish with a 76-yard touchdown pass and then threw a 47-yard touchdown to Dean Spingola. In between, John Rockmore rushed for a touchdown, giving Clearfield a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Just before halftime, Learish intercepted a Central pass and then caught a 52-yard touchdown on the ensuing play. He finished the game with 2 catches for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with two interceptions on defense. Jamie Madden – a transfer from Altoona – scored next for Clearfield on a 42-yard run and the Bison closed the scoring with a 13-yard pass from backup quarterback John Spingola to Jim Sturniolo.
Clearfield and Central wouldn’t meet again until 2008, but the two teams have met each year since then. The matchup seemingly always has major Mountain League title implications and this year is no different after Central’s 48-14 blowout win over Tyrone last week. The Bison hold a 7-2 advantage in the series, but the Dragons broke Clearfield’s 27-game conference and 21-game home winning streaks with a 35-28 victory at the Bison Sports Complex last season.
- In last year’s win over Clearfield, Central rushed 28 times for -1 yard, the lowest rushing output for a team to ever beat the Bison.
- Central has won both of its games in 2015 in dominating fashion. In addition to its win over Tyrone last Friday, the Dragons beat Tussey Mountain 55-13 in Week 1.
- Junior running back Alex Hoenstine has scored 11 touchdowns in four different ways in Central’s first two games. He has averaged over 12 yards per carry while rushing for seven scores, has caught a pair of touchdown passes, and has returned both a punt and a fumble for touchdowns.
- Friday’s game will mark one of the rare times when opposing coaches will have coached over 300 games apiece. Central’s Dave Baker has gone 161-184-11 in his 356 career games, while Tim Janocko has gone 239-102-3 in 344 games since 1985.
- Clearfield’s Matt Collins has 38 tackles over the first two games of the 2015 season. For comparison, when Seth Ford set the school record for tackles in a season with 125 in 2013, he made 14 stops in the first two games.
- Now sitting at 1,388 career passing yards, Cody Spaid has moved into 16th place on the school list. He is 458 yards from tying Mike Merritt (1986-1988) for 15th place.
- With 1,977 yards, Seth Caldwell is just two yards behind Jarrin Campman (2005-2008) for 13th place on the career rushing list. With 23 yards against Central, Caldwell will become the 13th Bison to rush for 2,000 career yards.
- Friday’s game will be the 1,057th in program history. The Bison are 557-461-38 all-time since 1904.