FOOTBALL: Wildcats travel to Clearfield to battle Bison
By SHAREIK FLOWERS
MILL HALL- Although the season is four-games young, it’s been a rough start to the year for Central Mountain.
They’re winless, struggling to generate offense and have had numerous athletes sidelined with injuries.
But despite their limited success Central Mountain remains optimistic. The 67 members of the roster work their tail’s off in practice each day with the goal of obtaining the year’s first win.
Tonight’s challenge is the Clearfield Bison– a team CM lost to 49-10 a season ago. They’ve put that loss behind them and are focused on snatching a win tonight.
“I think we had a pretty good week of practice,” CM coach Jim Renninger said. “We went back to some basics, and focused a lot on the detailed things that we haven’t really been focusing on.
“They’re a really resilient bunch of kids. They really like to play, they work really hard. They’ve stayed together and that’s the toughest task. Any time you’re doing badly and struggling it becomes easy to start pointing fingers and blaming teammates and coaches. But our kids have done a pretty good job of not doing that.”
Central Mountain has another stiff test with Clearfield tonight. The Bison are undefeated (4-0) with a potent offense that’s been lighting up scoreboards. They’ve outscored their opponents 168-80, and are fresh off a 42-21 win against Huntingdon.
“They’re a talented bunch of kids,” Renninger said of Clearfield. “[Clearfield quarterback] Isaac Rumery is very talented. He makes good decisions, has a good arm and moves well in the pocket. He’s a special player.”
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Central Mountain’s offense has underperformed this season.
After a sensational Week 1 showing against Williamsport they’ve been held to fewer than seven points in each game since.
The run game has been invisible, though they’ve had success through the air. Collin Jones recorded an 83-yard touchdown grab against Bellefonte last week. Jones has racked up an impressive 403 yards and four touchdowns this season.
“Anytime you have a kid who’s that big, and can run that fast, he’ll be a threat to score from anywhere on the field,” Renninger said of Jones.
Jones has scored four of Central Mountain’s seven touchdowns this season. For CM to have a chance of winning Jones needs another big game, but more importantly his teammates around him need to step up and start making plays.
“We still have to continue to get the ball to Collin, but what we have to do a better job at is taking advantages of mismatches when teams adjust to try and take him away,” Renninger said.” And that’ll start with being able to run the football.”
KEY TO VICTORY
Quarterbacks like Isaac Rumery don’t get shutdown, but can be contained.
Limiting Clearfield’s passing attack is Central Mountain’s clearest path to victory, but it’ll be difficult.
Rumery has thrown for six touchdowns and is averaging 213 passing yards per game this year. Jake Lezzer, his No. 1 receiver, has recorded 504 yards and four touchdowns this season.
“They’re pretty skilled on the perimeter,” Renninger said of Clearfield. “We’re going to have to be focused on the details and doing our jobs, if not we’ll give up a lot of big plays. They have some pretty good athletes and their quarterback is pretty special.”
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN WILL WIN IF
“These kids play with fanatical effort, trust in each other, trust in the system and don’t turn the ball over,” Renninger said.