Wildcats fall to undefeated Clearfield, 42-20
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Express Sports Writer
MILL HALL – Coming in to Friday night’s meeting, Clearfield and Central Mountain’s records were mirror images of each other as they appeared to be headed in opposite directions.
Following the game, that scenario remained intact as Central Mountain fell to 0-5 while Clearfield improved to 5-0 with a 42-20 win over the Wildcats at Malinak Stadium.
“Our kids always play hard,” said CM head coach Jim Renninger following the game. “They always give us a good effort, but the bottom line is that we aren’t a good enough football team that can turn the ball over, survive a few holding penalties and make execution mistakes. Defensively we had a few breakdowns in tackling, but give their kids credit because their kids played hard and did some good things. It is never an effort-issue with our kids as opposed to a size thing or a speed thing, but rather we seem to make critical mistakes in detail.”
The Wildcats broke the scoring ice in the game as they scored at the 9:20 mark of the opening period when Conner Soo hauled in a 23-yard a scoring pass from Zane Probst.
However, following the Soo score, the Bison came roaring back to take their first lead in the game with a pair of scores, quarterback Oliver Billotte cashing in the touchdowns on a pair of short runs.
Following the second Billotte score, it only took the ‘Cats a little more than a minute to get themselves back even in the game when Probst hit Peyton Johnson in the flat, and Johnson broke several tackles, managed to stay in bounds, and sprint down the sideline to complete the 74-yard scoring play.
For the game, Probst finished with 207 yards passing good for a pair of touchdown tosses in addition to rushing for one of his own. Johnson was Probst’s favorite target during the game as he hauled in six passes for 138 yards and the one score.
“We have some pretty good players who can make some big plays,” continued Renninger. “Peyton Johnson can make some plays, Rocco Stark can make some plays and Zane is obviously our trigger guy. For us it is just a matter of putting it all together and have a good night offensively when we have a good night defensively. If we can find a way to put it all together we can win some games.”
With the Wildcats obviously getting the attention of the Bison after the second score, Clearfield used the Billotte connection, Oliver to Ian, to take the lead for keeps with a 34-yard scoring pass to cap a short 3-play drive that only took 46 seconds to complete.
With the 21-14 lead, the Bison defense shut down the ‘Cats offense and in doing so set up the offense for a 2-yard score by Oliver Billotte.
With the lead 28-14 at halftime, the Bison came out strong in the third period to all but put the game in the books as a Clearfield “W” when the they unleashed a steady diet of Brett Zattoni who completed the Clearfield scoring with runs of 14 and 15-yards. Zattoni became the workhorse for the Bison through the middle of the game as he finished with 126 yards on 15 carries and the two scores.
“We tried to force them out of what they like to do and that is throw it around a little bit and get the ball to the Lezzer (Jake),” said Renninger. “But to their credit they adjusted and I thought their offensive line played really, really well and they ran the ball right at us. Give the credit to them because they played really well.”
With both teams sputtering for much of the fourth period, the Wildcats completed the game scoring when Probst called his own number, went off the left side of his line and dived into the end zone for the score.
The kick was no good, but with 4:14 on the clock, the scoreboard had the final at 42-20 Bison.
Clearfield 7 21 14 0 – 42
Central Mt. 7 7 0 6 – 20
CM – Connor Soo 23 pass from Zane Probst. (Trey Gentzel kick) 9:20
CLFD – Oliver Billotte 4 run (Zack Hess kick) 6:20
CLFD – Billotte 1 run (Hess kick) 9:44.
CM – Peyton Johnson 74 pass from Probst. (Gentzel kick) 8:45
CLFD – Ian Billotte 34 pass from Oliver Billotte. (Hess kick) 7:59
CLFD – Brett Zattoni 11 run (Hess kick) 10:24
CLFD – Zattoni 10 run (Hess kick) 3:02
CM – Probst 8 run (kick failed) 4:14.
Team Statistics CLFD CM
First Downs 21 11
Yards Rushing 313 35
Passing Yards 169 222
Passing (C-A-I) 10-17-0 12-18-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 4-45
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
CLFD: Brett Zattoni 17-126, 2 Tds; Oliver Billotte 8-58, 3 Tds; Jake Lezzer 4-48; Jason Plubell 6-35.
CM: Ryan Pentz 8-18. Zane Probst 3-18, 1 TD.
CLFD: Oliver Billotte 12-16, 157 yards, 2 TDS.
CM: Zane Probst 10-17, 207 yards, 1 TD.
CLFD: Jake Lezzer 6-68, Ian Billotte 1-34.
CM: Peyton Johnson 6-138, 1TD; Connor Soo 4-56, 1 TD; Rocco Start 2-17.