Week 9: Clearfield (7-1) at Philipsburg-Osceola (0-8)

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In lieu of a write-up this week, this preview will include links to PDF files of old game stories featuring the series history of the Bison and the Mounties.  Clearfield first played Philipsburg-Osceola in its present form in 1956, going 32-23 in the series.  However, the Bison first played Philipsburg High School in 1909 and Osceola Mills High School in 1914.  Overall, Clearfield has played the three schools that have historically comprised P-O a total of 109 times; the Bison have a record of 64-41-4 in those games.

1929: Clearfield 47, Philipsburg HS 0

Bill Shepherd – the only Bison to ever play in the NFL – had one of the great forgotten games in school history against Philipsburg High School in 1929.  Even though he didn’t play until the second quarter, Shepherd scored 6 touchdowns and added 5 extra points, giving him 41 of Clearfield’s 47 points.  Shepherd’s 41 points still rank second all-time in school history, trailing only Dave Richards’ 42 points (on 7 touchdowns) against Bald Eagle Area in 2002.

Week 6 – vs. Philipsburg – 1929

1939: Clearfield 31, Philipsburg HS 0

The Bison outgained PHS 347-122 as part of its 10-1-1 season that saw Clearfield fall in the PIAA championship game.

Week 6 – vs. Philipsburg

1954: Clearfield 38, Osceola Mills HS 0

In the season opener, Bison Tom Krolick ran over Osceola Mills, rushing for more than 200 yards.  While complete stats for his night were not published, the five runs mentioned in the game story had Krolick running for 208 yards, making him the first Bison to “officially” break the 200-yard mark in a single game.  Other Bison almost certainly achieved the mark before Krolick, but those numbers have not been found.

Week 1 – at Osceola Mills

1977: Clearfield 27, Philipsburg-Osceola 13

Led by Pat Davis, the Bison rushed 55 times for 315 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Mounties.  Davis ran the ball 28 times for 215 yards and each Clearfield touchdown.  He also scored a two-point conversion, giving him 26 of the Bison’s 27 points that night.

Week 6 – vs. P-O

1994: Clearfield 54, Philipsburg-Osceola 6

Chad Kroell had many absurd stat lines throughout his career as a Bison, but few were as impressive as his game against P-O his senior year.  He threw 7 touchdowns altogether, including 6 in the first half.  He threw touchdown passes on 5 consecutive plays.  He went 12 for 16 for 271 yards, meaning he threw more touchdown passes (7) than incompletions (4).

Week 6 – at P-O (story)

Week 6 – at P-O (summary)

2002: Clearfield 48, Philipsburg-Osceola 21

Like Kroell, Dave Richards had no shortage of outstanding performances as a Bison.  Against P-O in 2002, Richards ran 34 times for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns and added another score on a punt return.  The punt return touchdown was remarkable for the fact that the Mounties punted away from Richards all night, even sending some kicks directly out-of-bounds.  However, one errant punt made its way to Richards’ hands and he returned it for a touchdown.

Week 6 – vs. P-O (story)

Week 6 – vs. P-O (summary)

NOTES

  • The Bison will play Punxsutawney next week for the District 9 AAA title.  The date, time, and location are all TBA.
  • With a win Friday, Clearfield would tack on 80 more points in an effort to secure the top seed in the District 5/6/8/9 Subregional.  The top four teams make it into the Subregional, with the top seed hosting the fourth seed and the second seed hosting the third.  The current standings are:
    • Clearfield: 850
    • Somerset: 710
    • University Prep: 520
    • Johnstown: 460
    • Punxsutawney: 270
    • Bellefonte: 180
    • Bradford: 0
  • As first noted by D9Sports.com, P-O has only scored 5 touchdowns in its last 7 games.  The Mounties are averaging just 5.1 points per game but are allowing 39.6 ppg.
  • Junior Matt Collins now has 124 tackles on the season, tying him for second all-time and putting him just two tackles away from breaking Seth Ford’s school record of 125.
  • Sitting at 95 tackles, Christian Rumery can become the 9th Bison to reach 100 in a season since 1993.
  • According to MaxPreps, Seth Caldwell eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark last week and now has 1,004 for the season.  He is the 26th Clearfield player to hit that mark.
  • Following last week’s win over Bald Eagle, the Bison now have an all-time record of 563-461-38.
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Clearfield (6-1) vs. Bald Eagle Area (1-6)

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Friday night will mark the 44th meeting between Clearfield and Bald Eagle Area, with the Bison holding a 26-17 advantage all-time.  However, the Eagles have scored some big wins over the Bison:

  • In 2009, BEA beat the Bison 34-21; following that loss, Clearfield would begin a 58-game stretch in which they have gone 54-4 through last week’s win over Tyrone.
  • The Eagles hammered Clearfield 52-6 in Week 3 of the 1991 season.  The loss still stands as the 3rd largest for the Bison since 1937.
  • In the first game of the series, BEA eked by Clearfield 13-12 even though the Bison rushed for 295 yards.

Despite these BEA wins over the years, Clearfield has dominated the series lately, going 14-2 since 1996.  No matchup or single-game performance has been as impressive as the game Bison running back Dave Richards had against BEA in 2002.  The PDF of the game story and boxscore from The Progress (found on http://www.newspaperarchive.com) is linked below:

Week 7 – vs. BEA (story)

Week 7 – vs. BEA (summary)

Richards steamrolled the Eagles, rushing 16 times for 363 yards and 7 touchdowns.  In the first half alone, Richards ran 12 times for 314 yards and 6 scores.  For reference, Richards was just 11 yards from tying the school single-game record for rushing…at halftime.  He had set that record himself against Philipsburg-Osceola the week before he ran over Bald Eagle.

The game took place in a steady downpour, leaving the old grass field at the Bison Sports Complex an expanse of thick mud.  A number of games during the 2002 season were played in wet weather, but that didn’t deter Richards from rushing for a still-standing school record 2,515 yards that season.  Against Bald Eagle, Richards gained 224 yards on his touchdown runs alone while the Eagles gained 81 yards of total offense all game.  By the end of the Bison’s 49-7 win, Richards had broken the school’s single-season rushing record following just the seventh game of the year.

NOTES

  • This year’s version of the Eagles have struggled offensively, scoring just 60 points in seven games.   BEA has been shut out in three of its last four games.
  • Following last week’s 34-17 win over Tyrone, Clearfield has all but wrapped up the Mountain League crown.  Season-ending wins over Bald Eagle and Philipsburg-Osceola would clinch an outright title for the Bison.
  • With 113 yards against the Eagles Friday night, junior running back Seth Caldwell would become the 26th Bison to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a single-season.  Caldwell got close to the milestone in his freshman and sophomore years, rushing for 800 and 995 yards, respectively.
  • Caldwell is also just four carries from becoming the fourth Bison to hit 500 for his career.  Christian Lezzer (586), Richards (564), and Isiah Morgan (544) are the only other Clearfield players to surpass 500 carries.
  • In last week’s win, senior quarterback Cody Spaid threw his 20th career touchdown pass, putting him 12th in school history.  Bruce Graham (1987-89) sits in 11th place with 23 passing scores.
  •   Spaid is 112 passing yards from becoming the 13th Clearfield quarterback to reach 2,000 in his career.
  • With his next reception, junior Ryan Lezzer will tie Jacque DeMatteo (1983-85) for 13th place on the career list, with 65.  Lezzer passed the Bison’s former all-time leader in receptions – Matt Solomon (1990-92) – in career receiving yards last week and now has 1,175.  He sits 11 yards behind Adam Jury (2004-06) for 11th place in career yards.
  • Matt Collins became Clearfield’s 8th player since 1993 to record 100 tackles in a season.  Now sitting at 105 for the year, he needs 21 to break Seth Ford’s record from 2013.  Teammate Christian Rumery needs just 9 tackles to become the 9th Bison with a 100 tackle season.

Week 7: Clearfield (5-1) vs. Tyrone (5-1)

As the high school football season rolls into Week 7, Clearfield’s matchup with Tyrone on Friday carries a ton of importance.  Not only is an outright Mountain League title likely on the line, but the Bison also have playoff seeding points to start thinking about.  As of this week, Clearfield leads the District 5/6/8/9 Subregional with 550 points.  Somerset (500), University Prep (440) and Johnstown (320) round out the top four, which is the number of teams that will qualify for the subregional.  Punxsutawney sits in fifth place with 260 points, so the playoff field is far from set with three games to play.

The Bison and Golden Eagles have played 66 times heading into Friday night and many of those matchups have been important ones for either team.  Snapshots of some of those games are shown below:

1925

Clearfield faced Tyrone for the first time, but little is resolved as the two teams battle to a scoreless tie.  It was the first of three ties in the series, with the others coming in 1950 (0-0) and 1976 (14-14).

1939

During Clearfield’s first 10-win season, they had to get by a tough Tyrone team that would finish the season 11-1.  Clearfield won the game, 13-7, giving the Golden Eagles their only blemish of the year.  Tyrone was beginning the first great stretch in school history, going 101-10-4 from 1939-48.  From 1939 through 1943, the team would go 54-4-2.  The 1940 team would tie Shenandoah, 0-0, for the state championship in 1940.

1955

The homestanding Golden Eagles gave Clearfield one of its toughest games in its 10-0 season, holding the Bison to a 6-0 halftime lead.  Clearfield pulled away in the second half and won, 20-0, marking the team’s sixth shutout of a total of seven they’d have that year.  Vic Jones ran 19 times for 139 yards and a touchdown, which was a relatively pedestrian game for the star who would run for 1,720 yards that year.

1977

On September 2, the Bison hosted Tyrone in the first game ever played at the Bison Sports Complex.  Clearfield wins, 27-7, as Pat Davis ran 17 times for 113 yards and three touchdowns.  The Golden Eagles did their best to help out the Bison, fumbling eight times and losing six of them.  The win would be the first of many for Clearfield teams on “The Hill in Hyde City” – Clearfield is 89-21 at home since the start of the 1994 season and has gone 35-4 there since the start of 2008.

2008

In the two teams’ first meeting since 1991, the Golden Eagles came to the Bison Sports Complex ranked 4th in Class AA by the Pennsylvania Football News.  Tyrone had won 35 consecutive regular-season games, but Clearfield pulled out a 35-34 win on its way to a 10-3 season.  Isiah Morgan ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns and Jarrin Campman accounted for over 200 total yards and three touchdowns.

2012, 2013, 2014

The current three-game winning streak over the Golden Eagles has featured a number of memorable moments for Clearfield.  In 2012, Clearfield used Christian Lezzer (34 carries, 154 yards, 2 TDs) and a stingy defense that held Tyrone to 155 total yards to knock off the Golden Eagles, 14-13, in Tyrone.  The next year, Seth Ford blocked two extra points and Lezzer scored the game-winning touchdown with 41 seconds left, giving the Bison a 27-26 win.  Last year, the Bison scored two touchdowns before Tyrone’s offense set foot on the field.  Clearfield beat the undefeated Golden Eagles, 26-14, in Tyrone.  Dustin Maines blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown to help give Clearfield a lead in the second quarter that they wouldn’t relinquish.

NOTES

  • Friday’s matchup will go a long way in determining the Mountain League champion for 2015.  Clearfield is undefeated in the conference, while Tyrone and Central each have one loss.  A win by the Bison this week followed by wins over Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola – who have combined for 1 win this season – would wrap up the title for Clearfield.
  • The last three meetings between Tyrone and Clearfield have been close ones, but the Bison have won each (14-13, 27-26, 26-14).  Clearfield is the first team to beat the Golden Eagles three years in a row since Huntingdon did so from 2001-03.
  • Sad news for the Bison football family as former CHS standout Christian Lezzer has decided to end his football career following a string of concussions.  Lezzer totaled nearly 4,800 yards from scrimmage and 74 total touchdowns in his career.  While at Boston College, Lezzer played as a true freshman in last year’s upset win over USC, recording a sack in the game.
  • Heading into Friday’s game, Tyrone quarterback Drew Hunter has thrown 16 touchdown passes without an interception on the season.
  • Matt Collins is just 9 tackles away from becoming the 8th Bison to record 100 tackles in a season.  Collins would join Seth Ford (2012) as the only juniors to do so since 1993.  He has recorded at least 12 tackles in all but one game this season and ranks third in the state with 91 on the year.  Christian Rumery is 9th with 81.
  • Tyrone leads the all-time series, 34-29-3.  In its history, Tyrone holds a 630-356-41 record, while Clearfield enters Friday’s game with a record of 561-461-38.

Week 6: Clearfield (4-1) at Bellefonte (1-4)…PIAA Expands to Six Classifications

bellefonte-logo-2

Due to the big news out of Mechanicsburg yesterday, this preview will focus mostly on the PIAA’s sweeping change regarding football classifications.  Plenty of information on Friday’s game at Bellefonte can be found in the Notes section, but first, a look at the implications of a six-class football classification system.

It’s not hyperbole to say that yesterday may have been the biggest day in the PIAA’s 102-year history.  Classifications were expanded for a number of sports, but the vote to bump football from four classes to six garnered the majority of the headlines.  All of these changes will go into effect next school year, meaning schools (including Clearfield) will learn their new classification sometime around mid-November.

Sweeping changes like this always take time to sort out and draw plenty of praise and criticism.  However, the vote’s wide margin was somewhat unexpected; the only districts to vote “No” on classification expansion were the WPIAL (District 7) and the Pittsburgh City League (District 8).  Supporters say it allows for more teams to compete for state championships by dropping the number of schools per class from about 145 to around 95 to 98.  Some also laud the shortening of the season from 16 weeks to 15, ending the season earlier in December and overlapping less with winter sports.  Those against the expansion say it waters down the state championship and increases travel between teams.

What does it mean for Clearfield?

The overall impact of the six classification system won’t be known until it is actually put into practice beginning next year.  However, it appears as if Clearfield will go from a small 3A school to…a small 4A school.  This designation is based on enrollment estimates, as the PIAA considers the number of male students in grades 9-11.  These enrollment numbers are due to the PIAA this month, meaning the initial determination of classifications should be made in the next month or so.  Currently, Clearfield has an enrollment of 319 males, putting them just 20 students above the cutoff for 2A.  Based on the most common estimate, the new classification cutoffs will be:

6A: 608 and above

5A: 410 to 607

4A: 301 to 409

3A: 210 to 300

2A: 148-209

1A: 1 to 147

The PIAA tries to divide classifications as evenly as possible to put the same number of schools in each class.  If the Allentown Morning Call’s estimates shown above are accurate, the Bison would be near the bottom end of 4A.  These cutoffs could still change, but it seems fairly likely that this will be the case.  Teams will have until December to decide to play up a classification if they’d wish.

One other potential impact to the Bison would be their route through the playoff bracket.  It’s possible that Clearfield would be moved back into the western half depending on how the bracket is configured.  The final drafts of the statewide brackets will be released later this winter.

What does it mean for Clearfield’s opponents?

(Note: all of the following estimates can be heavily influenced by changes in the reporting of this year’s enrollments to the PIAA.  Districts must report current enrollments by the middle of this month.)

According to D9Sports.com, Clearfield will probably now compete for the District 9 4A championship against Bradford and Punxsutawney.  In terms of the Mountain League, the breakdown (using the past cycle’s enrollment figures) could look like this:

Bald Eagle Area: 2A

Bellefonte: 4A

Central: 3A

Huntingdon: 3A

Penns Valley: 2A

Philipsburg-Osceola: 3A

Tyrone: 3A

Another point of the classification change is the optional replacement of a team’s second scrimmage for its first official game.  Teams can elect to play two scrimmages and then nine regular season games, or one scrimmage and ten regular season games.  It’s unclear what Clearfield would choose to do or who they would add to the schedule as a tenth game should they choose that route.

Many details remain unclear regarding the enormous change enacted by the PIAA Wednesday.  The details will be sorted out in the coming months, but it is certain that the landscape of Pennsylvania high school football has been permanently altered.  The change has been divisive, leading to groups of fans who think the move was unnecessary and damages the prestige of a Pennsylvania state title and those who think it levels the playing field for teams who were outnumbered by hundreds of students in some games.  It remains to be seen how the change will work in practice, but the state’s football structure that had been in place since the start of state playoffs in 1988 is about to be history.

NOTES

  • Friday night will be the 58th meeting between Clearfield and Bellefonte, making it the fifth-longest series in Bison program history.  DuBois (103 games), Punxsutawney (90), Curwensville (87), and Tyrone (67 following this year’s game) are the only teams Clearfield has faced more often than the Red Raiders.  The Bison hold a 31-25-1 advantage in the series.
  • Check out D9Sports.com’s predictions for this week’s games here.
  • First played in 1913, the Clearfield-Bellefonte series is the oldest of all of the Bison’s 2015 opponents.
  • Clearfield is on a five-game winning streak over the Red Raiders.  The Bison have outscored Bellefonte 217-33 over those five games.  Clearfield’s last loss in the series came in 2007 by a score of 41-31.
  • Career yardage list updates:
    • QB Cody Spaid: Currently has 1,679 career passing yards, putting him 167 yards behind Mike Merritt (1986-88) for 15th place.
    • RB Seth Caldwell: Currently has 2,413 career rushing yards, 80 yards behind Stu Wiggins (1950-52) for 7th place.
    • WR Ryan Lezzer: Currently has 1,086 career receiving yards, 79 yards behind Matt Solomon (1990-92) for 12th place.
  • Linebackers Matt Collins and Christian Rumery continue to rack up tackles this season – Collins leads the team with 79 and Rumery has 71.  Collins lost his spot as the state leader, but still ranks 3rd.  Rumery checks in at 9th.
  • Bellefonte has struggled in recent years, going 7-38 since the start of the 2011 season.  However, the Red Raiders have played more competitively this season.  Their 2015 results so far:
    • Week 1: lost to Jersey Shore, 14-6
    • Week 2: lost to Huntingdon, 27-6
    • Week 3: beat Philipsburg-Osceola, 44-3
    • Week 4: lost to John Marshall (WV), 28-17
    • Week 5: lost to Tyrone, 42-0