HYDE — After a tough, fourth-quarter loss last week at Central, the Clearfield football team bounced back in a big way Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex, throttling Huntingdon 42-14 on Homecoming.
The Bison scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters and enjoyed a commanding 42-0 advantage at the break.
“I feel happy for the kids,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “We had a Senior Night here the last home game and tonight we had Homecoming, and the kids performed well.
“And we bounced back from a tough loss. It was a tough loss to lose at the end of the game and we played so well.”
It took the Bison offense a series to find their rhythm, going three-and-out after a bad snap and two Oliver Billotte incompletions.
But Clearfield got things rolling on the next possession with Billotte and Jason Plubell gashing the Bearcat defense on the ground for consecutive first down runs of 12 and 16 yards before Mark McGonigal went on a 42-yard scoring jaunt to make it 7-0 with 7:21 left in the first.
Clearfield’s next touchdown also came on the ground when Plubell punched it in from the 2-yard line to complete a 4-play, 48-yard drive. A Billotte to Jake Lezzer 45-yard connection set up the scoring play.
The Bison started even closer to the Bearcat end zone on their next drive after Huntingdon punter Tyson Cook bobbled the snap and was dropped for a 15-yard loss.
Clearfield started at the 21 and needed just one play to reach paydirt for the third time in the quarter. Billotte tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Ian Billotte to make the score 21-0 with 2:10 left in the first.
Huntingdon’s next three possessions all ended in turnovers and led directly to Clearfield scores.
Nate Natoli picked off two passes, intercepting Braylan Ronk on one drive and Darin Harman on another. Defensive lineman Isaac Samsel also had an interception.
The Bison defense held Huntingdon, which completed only three of its 17 pass attempts, to 47 yards through the air — and 22 of those came on a late touchdown pass against Clearfield backups.
“A lot of different kids made plays,” Janocko said. “I was really happy with how our corners played, the whole secondary. But I thought our corners played exceptionally well.”
McGonigal scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter, completing a 40-yard drive set up by the first Natoli pick. McGonigal led the Bison ground game with 69 yards on five carries — all in the first half.
Billotte then connected on TD passes of 12 and 28 yards just 29 seconds apart.
He hit Karson Kiine on the 12-yarder a play after the Samsel interception and tossed the 28-yarder to Logan Firanski a snap after Natoli’s second pick.
After misfiring on his first three passes, Billotte was 5-of-8 for 144 yards and three touchdowns in a little under a quarter and a half of work.
“He settled down a little bit. He was a little too fired up there at the beginning,” Janocko said. “Once he settled down a little bit, he got into a groove.”
Clearfield led 42-0 with 6:24 left in the first half when Janocko started making mass substitutions on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bison had 263 yards of total offense in the first half, while Huntingdon had just 60.
After Firanski returned the second half kickoff 42 yards to the Bearcat 48, the Clearfield jayvee offense put together a 14-play drive that took over nine minutes off the clock, but turned it over on downs at the Huntingdon 7.
The Bearcats ran a fake punt from their 10 three plays later and Cook scampered for 56 yards to help set up a Myles Baney 16-yard run with 9:18 left in the game.
A blocked punt helped Huntingdon score again as Cook caught a 22-yard TD pass from Harman with 5:55 to go a play after the special teams gaffe by the Bison second-team punt unit.
Clearfield had 162 yards rushing in the game with Braedon Firanski going for 40 yards on 12 carries and Plubell adding 28 on four totes.
Kline led the receivers with two receptions for 50 yards.
Huntingdon rushed for 114 yards on 30 carries, but 67 of those came on a pair of fake punts. The Bearcats only had 47 yards on 28 runs otherwise.
Clearfield, which improved to 4-1, is back in action Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. at Brockway’s Frank Varischetti Field. The Bison play St. Marys in the District 9 class 3A title game.
“We polished some things up and we continue to get better and hopefully now we’re ready to go into the playoffs,” Janocko said. “Thank God we’re going. We’re still playing and taking one day at a time. We’re happy that we’re going.”
NOTE: Rylee Biancuzzo was crowned Homecoming Queen at halftime.