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Written by: Phil Myers on Saturday, October 9th, 2021
The Clearfield Bison needed to play a quality opponent to get a gauge on how good they are. The Trinity Hillers, a 4A school from the WPIAL, was that opponent. Clearfield did its best imitation of a boa constrictor as they slowly squeezed the life out of the Hillers in coming away with a 30-0 victory Friday night at the Bison Sports Complex in Hyde.
The Clearfield coaching staff impressed upon their team not to let Trinity’s record of 2-4 fool them. Trinity’s losses came to teams with winning records including two state ranked teams in Thomas Jefferson and McKeesport. Clearfield head coach, Tim Janocko, said, “They were a quality team and well-coached by Coach (Jon) Miller. We needed to play four quarters against a quality opponent and we did that.”
Oliver Billotte (center in black) ready to receive the snap.
The game did not start off great for Clearfield as Trinity marched down the field aided a couple of big runs by sophomore running back Andrew Durig. Ultimately facing a 4th and five at the Bison 29, the Hillers went for it but Connor Roberts’ pass went awry and Clearfield took over.
Roberts #3 and Durig #25
Clearfield then embarked on a drive of their own that lasted almost five minutes. Coach Janocko nixed the idea of a field goal try when his team encountered a 4th and one from the Trinity 18. Clearfield’s quarterback, Oliver Billotte, snuck up the middle for 3 yards for the first down and used that same sneak to score from the one-yard line two plays later capping the 71-yard drive and giving Clearfield a 7-0 lead.
Clearfield’s defense proceeded to step up big by forcing Trinity to go three and out on their next three possessions. “They came out with something we had not seen on film,” said Janocko, “our defensive coaches made a little bit of an adjustment and after that we did a good a good job.” Meanwhile on Clearfield’s third possession, they drove 61 yards in 6 plays scoring on Jose Alban’s 7-yard dash into the end zone to make it 14-0.
On their next drive Clearfield did not score a touchdown, but Luke Sidorick booted a 25-yard field goal to increase the Bison lead to 17-0 with under four minutes to play in the half.
Trinity finally mounted a short drive that ended just short of midfield with four straight incompletions. With only a minute and seventeen remaining, Clearfield quickly scored as Billotte completed 3 of 5 passes. The last one was a pass of 24 yards to Nate Natoli. That put Clearfield in the driver’s seat 23-0 at half time.
After each team exchanged punts to open the third quarter, the Bison made it 30-0 on a Mark McGonigal 8-yard blast. McGonigal’s score finished a 54-yard 7 play drive.
No one scored in the fourth quarter, although Clearfield turned the ball over on a fumble at the Trinity 14-yard marker. And the Hillers last drive took them to the Clearfield 8 where they had a 2nd and 2 before an incompletion, a fumble for a negative 14 yards and another incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs to Clearfield. That drive took 6 minutes and when the Bison took over, only 80 seconds remained. Clearfield ran a play, then took a knee to end the game. Clearfield has now shutout their last three opponents and they have four shutouts for the year.
Clearfield defense ready to make a stand.
“Our defensive and offensive lines played well tonight. I think we played well in all facets. Our offense controlled the ball, our quarterback played well, our backs ran hard, and our receivers made some great catches. We were running on all cylinders tonight,” Janocko stated.
Clearfield outgained Trinity in total yardage 347 to 161. The four Bison ball carriers who chalked up 185 yards on the ground were McGonigal, Billotte, Alban, and Carter Chamberlain. Billotte went 10 of 16 passing for 162 yards. Karson Kline hauled in 5 of those passes for 95 yards. Clearfield (7-0) travels to Huntingdon next week.
For Trinity, Durig led all rushers on the night with 62 yards gained and Roberts was 11 of 31 throwing the ball for 114 yards. Trinity (2-5) will play at Belle Vernon the #1 ranked AAAA team in the state next week.
Lastly, the Clearfield Bison Marching Band entertained the fans on this warm October Friday night by performing Disney music at half time.
The Clearfield Bison Marching Band.
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