The Bellefonte football team simply couldn’t limit Clearfield’s big-play ability.
The Bison registered 13 plays of 12 yards or more, including touchdowns of 35, 38, 50, 64 and 69, leading the hosts to a 49-14 win over the Red Raiders Friday at the Bison Sports Complex.
“We talked to the kids about that a lot during the week,” Bellefonte head coach Duffy Besch said. “We needed to limit their big plays. If we limit some of those plays, there is a good chance that we can stay with them. But unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that.”
Clearfield quarterback Christian Lezzer ran the ball eight times for 152 yards, including a 69-yard scamper. Lezzer completed three passes — all for scores — for 123 yards.
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Bison running back Tyler Stratton added 139 yards, including a 64-yard score, on nine carries. Receiver Trey Jordan hauled in two passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
“Their offense is very dynamic,” Besch said. “I said it all week we have to control what they are able to do. We have to come out and make plays.
“This game is about blocking and tackling. We didn’t make some of the tackles we needed to make. I think when we sit down and watch film, that is what we are going to see.”
Bellefonte took the opening kickoff and traveled from its own 35 to the Bison 14 before stalling and lining up for a 31-yard field goal.
But Lezzer made the first big play of the night for the Bison by blocking the kick, nearly getting to the ball before Tyler Rhoades got a foot on it.
Lezzer ran 45 yards on the following play, then hit Jordan for a 38-yard score, as the Bison took little time getting to the end zone.
The Red Raiders answered with their own big play when Kahsim Buey took a middle screen and scampered untouched for a 69-yard score to knot things at 7-7. Buey was Bellefonte’s biggest offensive threat, grabbing two passes for 71 yards and running 12 times for 70.
But Clearfield responded on the very next play from scrimmage as Lezzer juked his way through the line, bowled over a would-be Bellefonte tackler and ran to open space, racing 69 yards for a score just 22 seconds after Buey had tied the game.
Clearfield added another first-quarter score with 1:35 remaining when Stratton slipped through a crease in the Bellefonte line and outran the Red Raider secondary for a 64-yard score.
The Bison nearly had two 100-yard rushers by the end of the first quarter as Lezzer had 131, while Stratton collected 96.
“There were times when we seemed to have them contained but that’s a good football team,” Besch said. “They don’t rely on one person. They are able to go after you with somebody else.”
Clearfield put three more touchdowns on the board in the second quarter, taking a 42-7 lead into the break and setting the running clock in motion for the second half.
The Bison racked up 401 yards of offense by halftime and finished the contest with 516.
“Our offense moved the ball real well tonight,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “Credit our offensive line. We ran the ball well, and threw the ball well. We spread it around. It was a big night for us. We put a lot of yards up, especially in the first half.”
Meanwhile, Bellefonte had 164 yards in the first half, but totaled just 33 after the first two drives.
The Raiders played the Bison to a 7-7 tie in the second half, outgaining Clearfield, 117-115.
Buey scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run with 2:58 left in the third quarter, capping Bellefonte’s 8-play, 70-yard drive.
Raider quarterback Jordan Fye completed three passes on the drive, including a key 22-yarder to Doylan Deitrich. Fye hit on 14 of his 21 pass attempts for 159 yards. Brandon Shuey reeled in seven of those passes for 61 yards.
“For the past couple of weeks, we have really struggled in the second half,” Besch said. “I don’t think that’s any big news flash.
“So what we asked them to do is win the second half. Don’t look at the score, just go out and win the second half. And we were able to play solid football. We were able to score some points. That is what we needed. That’s a movement forward for us.”
Bellefonte dropped to 2-4 with the loss.
The Red Raiders travel to Penns Valley on Friday.
“We need to come back and play a complete game, and hopefully we are able to put that together,” Besch said. “We have a game to get ready for and that’s the thing we need to focus on. We have to keep them focused and ready to go and come back ready to play Penns Valley.”