It wasn’t the big plays that hurt Bald Eagle Area at the Bison Sports Complex Friday night. The Eagles had a couple of those that allowed them to hang with Clearfield for a while in the first half.
Instead, it was the little plays that they didn’t make that cost them in a 49-12 loss to the Bison.
BEA opened the game with a 41-yard halfback pass from Ryan Guenot to Dan Hockenberry and later hit on a fake punt pass from Guenot to Jake Koleno for 28 yards. Add in a 65-yard scoring pass from Tanner Kresovich to Cole Robinson and it’s clear it had some firepower. But it was unable to convert on the short-yardage plays, being held to three yards rushing overall and no first downs in the second half that led to the Eagles’ seventh loss of the year.
“We had a couple of big plays but we’ve got to execute those little plays,” said BEA coach Ron Hoover. “In the second half, we couldn’t crack their front seven. They just closed the gates on us.”
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The once-beaten Bison put together a 64-yard scoring drive the first time they touched the ball, getting the score on a 14-yard run by Seth Caldwell with 4:49 to go. Josh Serena kicked the first of his seven PATs on the night.
Two minutes later he kicked the second after a 50-yard scoring pass from Cody Spayd to Ryan Lezzer at the 2:45 mark and he added a third PAT behind Jacob Wingate’s 55-yard interception return of a Kresovich pass with :33 still to play in the quarter.
BEA answered when Kresovich circled right end from the 14 for BEA’s first score at the 8:28 mark of the second quarter. The PAT kick failed.
The teams traded scores in the quarter as the Bison got a touchdown on a 39-yard pass from Spayd to Travis Ogden with 5:58 showing and BEA came back with a 65-yard strike from Kresovich to Robinson. The pass for the two-point conversion fell incomplete.
Clearfield finished the half with an 18-yard run from Lezzer at the 4:55 mark.
The Bison got a pair of touchdowns on the ground in the third quarter to kick in the mercy rule as Cory Shimmel scored from the two with 9:41 left in the quarter and Lezzer scored from 13 yards out at the 6:43 mark to end the scoring for the night.
Clearfield’s balanced offense caused BEA problems all night as Caldwell ran 17 times for 108 yards, Lezzer added 72 yards on five carries and Spayd connected on five of nine passes for 138 yards and two scores.
“They’re very versatile,” Hoover said. “Spayed can run that offense, then they put Lezzer in there in the Wildcat. It’s hard to practice against both. It makes it challenging when a team is that versatile. They’re talented at every position, they have depth and they’re well coached. They have playmakers.
“I thought we played tough and we played physical early. We played hard. But we didn’t make tackles when we needed to make tackles. We needed to make those tackles for force some three-and-outs. Not executing those tackles hurt us more than anything.”