T-D HS Football


Clearfield rolls past Somerset

By: Cory Isenberg

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Somerset defense played well enough to limit a high-scoring Clearfield squad to just 21 points on Friday night in the District 5-6-8-9 Subregional Championship at Hollidaysburg’s Tiger Stadium.
Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles mistake-prone offense could not keep pace with the Bison and fell 21-6 to end their best season in recent history. Clearfield moves on to play the District 4 champion, either Jersey Shore or Selingsgrove, next weekend.
“Our defense rose to the challenge tonight,” Somerset coach Bob Landis said. “I think that is a very good running football team, but it seemed like we contained them. I’m very proud of the effort our defense has given all year. That was our strength all year. We gave up three scores to a good football team and there wasn’t quite enough on offense tonight.”
Quarterback Christian Lezzer, who is headed to Boston College as an inside linebacker, finished with 169 yards on 27 carries, throwing for one touchdown and running for the backbreaker in the fourth quarter. Tyler Stratton added 21 carries for 125 yards and scored the other Clearfield TD.
The Bison led 14-0 at the half, but the Golden Eagles showed came out firing in the second half.
After a Jacob Heiple interception at the 23, Somerset moved 77 yards on 11 plays capped by a Tanner Stull 12-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the third. The Sam Hayward kick was blocked, but the Golden Eagles trailed just 14-6 with a quarter to play. Stull finished with 87 yards on 19 carries.
“We made some adjustments,” Landis said. “I’m very proud that we did not come out in the second half and fold. We came out and fought hard and fought back. We had an opportunity to go down and tie it and get in the game there at the end.”
But that was as close as the Bison left Somerset get, burning nearly six minutes on a 78-yard drive, kept alive by runs from Lezzer and Stratton with Lezzer scoring from the 1 and Spencer Harrington adding the kick to set the final.
“It was huge for us to respond to their touchdown,” Clearfield coach Tim Janocko said. “I felt at halftime that we would have to score again to win and we were able to do that. We busted a couple of big runs there and we were patient and kept doing what we do well and it kind of sealed the game.”
Every time Somerset appeared to get a break in the first half, the Golden Eagles would either make a mistake on offense or commit a turnover. Somerset had two interceptions and a fumble on a punt in the first half.
“They are a good football team,” Landis said.
 “They forced us into a lot of those mistakes. They had great secondary play. Obviously they are a good football team and they are moving on but that shouldn’t reflect poorly on our guys. I think Clearfield played well, I think we played well.”
In the first quarter, Michael VanLenten had an interception of Lezzer, but the Golden Eagles were unable to capitalize, going three and out.
Clearfield turned around and added by two Somerset penalties for 29 yards moved down to the 28.
Lezzer scrambled to keep the play alive on third down and tossed a scoring strike to his younger brother, Ryan, for Clearfield’s first score.
Stratton added the other Bison TD in the second quarter on an 11-yard run, capping a six-play drive that covered 52 yards.
“They have been in that situation before and we’re just in the process of getting to championship level football but I’m very proud that our guys didn’t back down from the opportunity tonight,” Landis said. “That’s why they’re hoisting the trophy right now.”
Landis said he is going to miss his seniors.
“This group of seniors was the first group of sophomores that I had when I got hired and I hate to see them go, but they laid groundwork here at Somerset,” the coach said.
“They’ve shown we can compete in the LHAC and that we can compete at the district playoff level. We’re saying goodbye to a great group of seniors and a great group of leaders who have helped establish this program.”