D5/6/8/9 Semifinals: Clearfield (9-1) vs. Johnstown (5-5)

johnstown

Clearfield squares off against Johnstown in the District 5/6/8/9 Subregional semifinals Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex.  This is the fifth time in six years that the Bison and the Trojans have met in the playoffs, with Clearfield winning each of the previous four matchups.  The two teams also met in 1919 and 1924, both Johnstown wins (6-3 and 17-0, respectively).

The Bison are currently 9-1 this season.  Here’s how each of its opponents have fared over the last 10 weeks:

WEEK 1 – vs. Fort Hill (MD) – 49-14 L

The Sentinels currently sit at 8-1 on the year and will play Northern – which is based in the wonderfully named Accident, MD – this week in the Maryland state playoffs.  Fort Hill’s only loss this year was in Week 2, a 48-41 loss to Keyser (WV), the team Clearfield lost to in last year’s season-opener.  The Sentinels are outscoring their opponents this year by an average of 43-16.

WEEK 2 – vs. Penns Valley – 42-18 W

Penns Valley finished another tough season, going 2-8.  The Rams beat Bald Eagle (32-20) and P-O (26-7), but struggled defensively, giving up 40 or more points five times and allowing 75 points in a season-opening loss to Juniata.  Penns Valley allowed over 36 points per game.

WEEK 3 – @ Central – 19-8 W

The Scarlet Dragons enter this weekend as the top overall seed in District 6 AA and will face Forest Hills Friday night.  Clearfield was Central’s only loss, and the 9-1 Dragons have outscored opponents this year by an average of 43-11.  Removing its loss to the Bison, Central has averaged 46.8 points per game in its nine wins.

WEEK 4 – vs. Huntingdon – 50-23 W

The Bearcats enter the playoffs at 6-4 and will take on Tyrone this weekend in the first round of the D6 AA playoffs.  Huntingdon is 4-2 since its loss to Clearfield on September 25th, and senior running back Jon Wagner has rushed for over 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns this year.

WEEK 5 – @ Brockway – 28-7 W

At 8-2, the Rovers will face Elk County Catholic in the first round of the D9 A playoffs Friday night.  Brockway’s two losses came to Clearfield and Kane (21-14) in consecutive weeks.  They are allowing just over 11 points per game in 2015.

WEEK 6 – @ Bellefonte – 42-7 W

Bellefonte wrapped up its second-straight 3-7 season last week with a 43-7 win over rival Bald Eagle Area.  The Red Raiders went 3-0 against Centre County teams and 0-7 against all others.

WEEK 7 – vs. Tyrone – 34-17 W

Tyrone finished in third place in the Mountain League at 8-2, losing only to league champion Clearfield and 9-1 Central.  The Golden Eagles will host Huntingdon Friday night in the first round of the D6 AA playoffs and are on a three-game winning streak, including one over AAAA Central Mountain.

WEEK 8 – vs. Bald Eagle Area – 49-12 W

The Eagles finished 1-9, defeating only winless P-O by a 14-0 score.  Offense was a big problem for Bald Eagle Area, as they averaged only 7.9 points per game.  They also allowed 40 or more points six times.

WEEK 9 – @ Philipsburg-Osceola – 56-17 W

P-O ended its second-straight winless campaign with a 42-0 loss to Bellwood-Antis last week.  Over the past three seasons, the Mounties are just 1-29.  In 2015, they were outscored by a total of 415-58.

WEEK 10 – vs. Punxsutawney (D9 AAA Championship) – 56-8 W

Despite being just 3-6 in the regular season, the Chucks entered the D9 AAA playoffs and were hammered by the Bison last week.  Punxsy beat Moniteau, Brookville and A-C Valley this season for its only wins.  In their two season-ending games, the Chucks were outscored by Karns City and Clearfield by a combined score of 118-14.

NOTES

  • Counting last week’s win over Punxsutawney in the District 9 AAA championship game, Clearfield is now 24-23 all-time in playoff games.
  • The Bison now have at least 9 wins in 7 of its past 8 seasons.  A win Friday would give Clearfield its sixth 10 win season during that span and 12th overall.
  • Trojans quarterback Jeremy Updyke has passed for over 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.  For his career, Updyke has thrown for 5,233 yards and 52 touchdowns.
  • Many of Updyke’s passes are thrown to junior Exree Loe, who has caught 46 passes for 904 yards and 8 touchdowns this season.
  • Johnstown and Clearfield have no common opponents, but the Trojans have played the Subregional’s second-seeded team, Somerset.  The Eagles edged Johnstown by a score of 12-7 on October 2nd.
  • The Trojans have lost three of their last four games, but many games have been close.  Three of Johnstown’s five losses have come by a combined 10 points and another loss came to defending Class A state champion Bishop Guilfoyle.  Last week’s 21-18 loss to Cambria Heights assured Johnstown the 4th seed in the Subregional; a win would’ve moved them up to the 3rd seed.
  • With 2,226 career passing yards, Bison quarterback Cody Spaid is just 70 yards behind Jeff Kavelak (1984-86) for 11th in program history.  Kavelak graduated as Clearfield’s all-time leader in passing yards.
  • The Bison have six players who have rushed for at least 100 yards this season.
  • Seth Caldwell’s 3,088 career rushing yards put him just 32 yards behind Isiah Morgan (2006-08) for fourth all-time.  With 529 career carries, Caldwell is already just 57 behind Christian Lezzer’s school record of 586.
  • Junior Matt Collins extended his own school record to 144 tackles this season in last week’s win.  Senior Christian Rumery now has 107, marking just the second time since 1993 that two Bison have had over 100 tackles in the same season.  Beau Swales (115) and Robbie Myers (107) did so in 2011.
  • Johnstown’s all-time record is 644-405-56.  The Bison currently stand at 565-461-38.
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District 9 Championship: Clearfield (8-1) vs. Punxsutawney (3-6)

punxsy

Friday’s District 9 AAA championship game will feature Clearfield and Punxsutawney in the 91st meeting between the two schools.  The Bison own a 44-43-3 all-time edge in the series, which dates back to 1924.  In last year’s D9 title, Clearfield beat Punxsy, 35-8, on its way to its fifth straight championship.  The last team to win a D9-AAA title was Punxsutawney, which did so in 2009 by virtue of a 34-28 win over the Bison.  A win Friday would give Clearfield its sixth consecutive district championship and its 14th overall.

Clearfield has won the past five district title games by an average score of 38 to 7.  Friday’s game will have no bearing on the state playoffs other than serving as an additional chance for both teams to accrue points for the District 5/6/8/9 Subregional playoff.  Punxsutawney has been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, but a Clearfield win would wrap up the top seed in the subregional, which begins next week.  The Bison are currently leading the points race with 960.  A look at the other teams in the four-team subregional playoff:

  • Somerset  (830 pts) – The Eagles are currently the second-seed and sit 130 points behind Clearfield.  They face undefeated and state-ranked Bishop Guilfoyle Friday; they would pass the Bison for the top seed with a win and a Clearfield loss to Punxsutawney.  They cannot fall lower than the second seed no matter what happens Friday night.
  • University Prep (520 pts), Johnstown (480 pts) – University Prep fell to Brashear, 7-6, last week in the City League playoffs and does not have a game scheduled for this week.  Deciding the third and fourth spots in the subregional will fall solely on Friday’s Johnstown vs. Cambria Heights game.  A win by Johnstown means University Prep will play at Clearfield next weekend, barring the unlikely scenario of both a Somerset win and a Bison loss.  A loss by the Trojans sends them to Hyde, instead.  Whoever ends up with the third seed will most likely play at Somerset.  Johnstown enters the game 5-4, while Cambria Heights is 4-5.

NOTES

  • Punxsutawney is currently riding a three-game skid that has seen them get shutout by St. Marys and then allow 109 total points in losses to Clarion-Limestone and Karns City.  On the season, the Chucks have been outscored by an average of 28.7 to 19.0.
  • Friday’s game wasn’t set in stone until a little over a week ago when the Chucks confirmed that they would participate in the tournament.  With only three teams in D9-AAA and Bradford owning just one win this year, it was unclear whether the district would have a championship game this year.  That, coupled with the fact that the game has no real bearing on the state postseason, cast Friday’s game in doubt to some extent.
  • The Chucks are led by senior quarterback Ryan Jones, who has thrown for 1,267 yards and rushed for 393 more.  No other Punxsutawney player has eclipsed 200 yards rushing this season.  Jones has a hand in 13 of the Chucks’ 23 offensive touchdowns this season and has intercepted 3 passes on defense.
  • After finishing the 2015 regular season at 8-1, the Bison have won 56 of their last 60 regular season games (93%) dating back to midway through the 2009 season.
  • Clearfield now has 334 points scored this season, giving them the 12th highest single-season total in school history.
  • Friday’s 56-17 win over Philipsburg-Osceola was the 7th time a Bison team had scored exactly 56 points in a game.  Four of those occurrences have come against P-O.
  • With his 8 tackles against P-O, Matt Collins now has the school’s all-time record for tackles in a season.  He currently has 132 with at least two games left to play.
  • Seth Caldwell now has 515 career rush attempts, making him the fourth player in school history to have at least 500 (Christian Lezzer, Dave Richards, Isiah Morgan).  Caldwell currently has 2,905 career rushing yards, putting him just 95 away from becoming the 5th player in Clearfield history with at least 3,000.
  • Ryan Lezzer is now tied for 11th with Todd Shaw (1999-2002) with 70 career receptions.  His 1,308 receiving yards rank 9th and his 16 career receiving touchdowns put him in a four-way tie for sixth place.
  • Cody Spaid is just three passing yards away from tying Christian Lezzer (2010-2013) for 12th in career passing yards.  His 24 career touchdown passes tie him with Tanner Kelly (2001-2004) for 10th.
  • A win over Punxsutawney on Friday would give Clearfield its sixth-straight season of at least 9 wins.
  • Check out more info on this game via the D9Sports.com preview.