They call them bunch plays — plays that gain more than 20 yards — and Clearfield had a bunch of them in Friday night’s 42-12 win over Penns Valley at the Bison Sports Complex.
The lethal Bison offense had eight bunch plays and had another called back as it rolled up 596 yards in total offense, 343 on the ground, 253 in the air. Clearfield also lost a fumble in the end zone. And the ironic thing is that its longest drive of the night — 15 plays, 76 yards — didn’t produce a touchdown. But that came early in the fourth quarter when another score would have been overkill.
Quarterback Isaac Rumery was the igniter for the Bison, completing 13 of 18 passes for five of Clearfield’s six touchdowns and all of its passing yards.
And tailback Ty Bender chipped in with 125 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown burst, to complement the passing game. Backup tailback Brett Zattoni added 102 yards,
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“They can run the ball when they want to, throw the ball when they want to, and they can catch the ball,” Rams coach Martin Tobias said. “They’re explosive. We knew their speed was outstanding. They have a multitude of players with excellent speed. Their speed jumps out at you on film. And you can only cover them so long.”
But in a game that featured so many big plays, it was Penns Valley that struck first.
The Rams took the opening kickoff and put the ball in play on their own 32. On the first snap wide receiver Tristan Klinefelter got behind the Bison secondary on a fly pattern down the left sideline and quarterback Justin Sands laid the ball right in his hands for a 68-yard touchdown. The PAT kick was blocked.
“That was one of those plays that you practice, that you prepare for, and to see it all unfold is exciting,” Tobias said. “It was a great way to start the game.’’
But the excitement quickly faded from the Ram sideline as the Bison offense revved up its engine.
First, Clearfield’s Bender broke an 82-yard touchdown run on his team’s second play from scrimmage, going up the middle then bouncing outside and outrunning the pursuit down the left sideline. Josh Sorbera kicked his first of six PATs at the 11:15 mark to give Clearfield the lead for good.
On Clearfield’s next possession, Rumery hit Micah Heichel for a 67-yard scoring strike on the first snap at the 8:50 mark and with 10 seconds left in the quarter Spencer Graham and Rumery combined for a nine-yard score.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same. Heichel and Rumery connected again, this time from the 10 at the 7:21 mark; Taye Lynch caught a 41-yard throw from Rumery with 4:54 left in the quarter and, with 24 seconds left, Lynch and Rumery connected again from the 5 for Clearfield’s final score. At halftime, the Bison led 42-6.
Penns Valley’s last score came when Ryan Ripka rumbled 19 yards with 4:31 to go in the game.
“Anyone who was here at the game could see that they played better than we did,” Tobias said. “They are a well-balanced team. You sort of have to pick your poison: Either stop the run or the pass. It’s not easy to stop both. Across the board they are very explosive.”
Sands paced the Penns Valley offense with 162 yards on eight completions.
The Rams will return home to take on Bald Eagle Area in the Iron Bell game at 7 p.m. Friday.