HUNTINGDON — Clearfield senior quarterback Isaac Rumery and sophomore receiver Jake Lezzer gave Huntingdon’s secondary trouble all night and helped give the Bison a three touchdown lead heading into the fourth quarter of Friday evening’s Mountain League contest at War Vets Field.
However, Huntingdon’s junior quarterback Nick Troha, who entered the game under center in the Bearcats’ second offensive series, turned in the best night of his varsity career. Troha completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 244 yards and one score and brought Huntingdon (1-3, 0-2 ML) to with two touchdowns with just under five minutes left in the game.
However, junior running back Brett Zattoni broke loose for a 36-yard score with 2:41 left on the clock to seal a 42-21 Clearfield (4-0, 3-0 ML) victory.
Rumery completed 13 of 22 pass attempts for 294 yards and three TDs. Lezzer was the main target, hauling in seven catches for 219 yards and two scores. Rumery also added 102 yards on the ground on 14 carries with two touchdowns.
“It’s always tough to play here and Huntingdon played hard tonight,” commented Clearfield coach Tim Janocko. “It was also very humid tonight and that takes a toll on you. But, we were fortunate to be able to make the plays and come out with the win. Lezzer had a big game and the line did a great job giving Rumery the time to throw the ball. You throw (Taye) Lynch into the mix and its tough to double up on them.”
Rumery and Lezzer connected on the second offensive play of the game, resulting in a 40-yard completion to the Huntingdon 18. However, the drive stalled at the Bearcat nine on a fourth-and-three.
But, just 86 seconds later, the Bison had the ball back. Three plays into the second drive, Rumery found Lezzer for a 54-yard touchdown toss. Zach Hess booted the first of his six PATs on the evening for a 7-0 lead with 6;09 showing in the first period.
Huntingdon answered right back and punched the ball into the end zone when Troha tossed to Draven Zook for a 34-yard score on a fourth-and-six with 2:49 left in the first. The drive was helped along by a 30-yard run from Ryder Kocik.
Clearfield was driving as the first quarter ended and needed just two plays into the second stanza before Rumery and Lynch connected on a 25-yard touchdown toss. The Bison also took advantage of the game’s first turnover when Eli Glass picked off Troha at the Bison 47. Rumery delivered bullets to Lynch and Spencer Graham to move the ball deep into Bearcat territory and then called his own number on a 13-yard scamper for a touchdown with 7:58 left in the first half.
Huntingdon got the ball back with 1:25 showing on the clock at its own 19. However, thanks to a 71-yard completion from Troha to wide receiver Andrew Miller, the Bearcats needed just five plays to find the end zone, capped by a Troha five-yard run, trimming the deficit to 21-14 at the half.
“I felt very god about our effort tonight,” noted Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy. “We are trying to create situations where people play just one side of the ball and we need Andrew (Hudy) on defense. We brought Nick into quarterback for that reason and it worked, so we stuck with it. Both are good quarterbacks, but fresh legs are always a help. But, we still made too many mistakes.”
Clearfield also received a golden opportunity to open the second half when Zook lost the handle on the opening kick and the Bison recovered at the Bearcat 33. Rumery then scrambled on the first play from scrimmage and found Lezzer all alone for a 33-yard touchdown toss and a 28-14 lead just 16 seconds into the third quarter.
When Clearfield got the ball back, it was Rumery and Lezzer connecting on a 35-yard pass to convert a third-and-18. The Bison converted a pair of third downs in the 77-yard drive, before Rumery broke free for a 33-yard touchdown jaunt on third-and-10 with 5:06 showing on the third quarter clock.
Hudy had one of his best punts of the year with a 59-yard boot at the 8:31 mark of the fourth quarter, pinning the Bison back at their own one.
After Clearfield was unable to do anything with the ball, Huntingdon took advantage of the short field and a Troha 35-yard run trimmed the deficit to 35-21 with 4:56 left in the contest.
However, Zattoni’s 36-yard touchdown run at the 2:41 mark sealed the Bison win.
“I think Ryder had the best night of his career and played with intensity. Our defense also did well against the run. But, we need to get over just playing one half of football,” concluded Hudy.
GAME NOTES: Miller had six catches for 140 yards and his 71-yard grab late in the second quarter was Huntingdon’s longest of the season ... The Bearcats’ rushing attack was limited to 78 yards ... Kocik was Huntingdon’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 49 yards ... Zook added three catches for 52 yards and one score ... Clearfield finished with 465 yards of offense, while Huntingdon had 327 ... The Bison have now won nine of the last 10 games in the series with the Bearcats and hold a 15-10 lead in the series ... Huntingdon travels to Penns Valley (2-2, 1-2 ML) next Friday, while Clearfield hosts Central Mountain (0-4).