Before Bellefonte could even blink, the Red Raiders were behind 14-0, having just watched Clearfield running back Tyler Stratton scamper into the end zone for the second time in the first two minutes of play.
Stratton gutted the Red Raider defense, rushing for 204 yards on 10 carries and four touchdowns — all in the first half — as the Bison rolled to a 49-13 triumph at Rogers Stadium.
Clearfield’s stellar quarterback Christian Lezzer did not attempt a single pass Friday night, instead lining up as a running back behind sophomore signal-caller Erik Sellers. Lezzer, who admitted to feeling “a little banged up” after the game, saw limited action, but was still able to produce 57 yards on eight carries and two scores.
“I’ll be back next week 100 percent and ready,” said Lezzer after the Bison improved to 6-0. “I know we’re going be ready for next week against Tyrone, and it’s going to be a great game.”
Sellers played well controlling the first-team offense, completing 4 of 7 passes for 69 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown strike to wideout Ryan Lezzer with 2:52 left to play in the first half.
“It was interesting just looking back, sitting here and watching Sellers play quarterback, and looking at some of the coverages,” Lezzer said. “I was giving (Eric) some pointers and telling him some coverages and what to look for. It was definitely a learning experience for me.”
After Stratton’s second touchdown gave the Bison (6-0) an early 14-0 lead, Bellefonte (0-6) answered with a 93-yard kickoff return from sophomore Austin Jackson, making up for a botched catch on the play. The touchdown pulled the Red Raiders within one score 14-7 with 10:01 to play in the first quarter.
Clearfield’s potent offense would answer with a 71-yard scoring drive, capped by a 12-yard touchdown run from Christian Lezzer. The Bison, who rushed for 392 yards on 50 carries, added 35 straight points after the kickoff return to take a 49-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We’ve been running the ball pretty well all year,” Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko said. “We want to keep working on that. We have a couple different people that can carry the football, so we spread it around, and that’s to our advantage.”
With the running clock in action, the Red Raiders scored the only touchdown of the second half, a 20-yard run by Nick Leiter with 0:14 left to play in the third quarter. After forcing the Bison to turn the ball over on downs at their own 7, Bellefonte drove the length of the field, highlighted by a 61-yard rush by running back Jon Kerschner.
“It would have been easy for us to fold up and give up 60, 70 points, but we didn’t.” Bellefonte head coach Shanon Manning said. “I thought we played sound football, and got ourselves on the right foot.”
“They’re definitely a good, veteran, polished football team,” Manning added. “When you get the opportunity to play a team like Clearfield, you get the opportunity to see where you want to be, what it looks like, and you have a landmark to aim for.”
Bellefonte next hosts on Penns Valley in its annual homecoming Oct. 11 at Rogers Stadium.