WINGATE — For the fourth year in a row Clearfield will battle Bellefonte in the playoffs as the two face off for the District 6-9 title at Bald Eagle Area High School Friday at 7 p.m.
It will be the second straight year the two teams will meet in the title game, as the Bison will look to put an end to a common trend in the series.
Each of the last three seasons, the team to win the regular season matchup has gone on to win in the playoff meeting, as last year that was the case for Clearfield as it won the title with a 49-21 win after claiming a a victory by the exact same score during the regular season.
In 2017, Bellefonte won 55-28 in the first matchup and then again 62-21 in the playoffs, while it was the Bison sweeping the series in 2016 with a 34-7 win in the playoffs following a 28-0 shutout in the first meeting.
This season it was the Red Raiders (8-2) coming away with a 28-19 victory on their home field in a battle of undefeated teams back on Sept. 27.
The matchup will pit Bellefonte’s rush-heavy offense against a more balanced style of attack by the Bison.
The Red Raiders’ rushing attack is led by C.J. Funk, who ran for 137 yards and a touchdown on 14 totes in the two teams last meeting and has a team-high 13 scores on the season on 107 carrels for 1,255 yards.
Despite allowing 245 rushing yards against Bellefonte, Clearfield (9-2) has found success in stopping its opponents rushing attacks this season.
The Bison are second among area teams behind only Ridgway with 104.6 rushing yards allowed per game, while they sit in last in passing yards surrender per game with 175.9.
They will also need to find a way to slow down Red Raiders’ dual-threat quarterback Ethan Rossman, who is 56-of-117 passing this season for 903 yards and 11 touchdowns along with just three interceptions.
Rossman has also carried the ball 69 times on the year for 493 yards and three scores.
Offensively for Clearfield, Brett Zattoni is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing on the season as he enters the game needing 104 to hit the mark and is fourth among area backs in rushing yards on 158 carries and 12 touchdowns.
Oliver Billotte leads the Bison passing game as he is fourth in the Tri-County area with 1,641 passing yards on the season on 111-of-194 passing for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Like his counterpart Rossman, Billotte is also a major threat with his legs, as he has rushed for 392 yards and 13 touchdowns on 108 totes this year.
Billotte has been without his main target in the passing game in Jake Lezzer for a hand full of weeks now due to an injury.
Matt Pallo has stepped up in the receiving role and has 24 catches for 354 yards and six scores on the season.
The winner will take on the winner of a subregional game between Cathedral Prep and University Prep in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs next week.
Cathedral Prep beat Clearfield 55-21 in the first round last year on its way to a Class 4A state title.