|Larry Glace||Levi Reihart|
This is the way the streak ends … not with a bang, but a whimper.
Like any record, the clock was ticking on Tyrone’s 35-game regular-season unbeaten streak, and if it was going to end, you’d hope it would happen in a toe-down.
And it did.
But in a game that produced 69 points and 751 yards of total offense, the key plays weren’t the long scoring strikes, the pin-point passes or the gritty yards on fourth down. They were kicks. And with each one that missed the uprights, Tyrone’s chances against the dynamic Clearfield Bisons pittered further and further away.
When Johnny Shaffer’s 46-yard attempt missed with little more than a minute left, the streak was history, and Clearfield had a 35-34 victory at Bisons Sports Complex that put the team in the driver’s seat for a MAC Nittany Division championship.
But the Bisons weren’t the Hollow Men T.S. Elliot envisioned years ago. Neither were the Golden Eagles, for that matter. Instead, in a game where more than 2,000 fans at one time or another probably muttered, ‘Whoever has the ball last will win,’ the Bisons’ defense found a way to get a stop when it mattered most.
It came with the clock winding down on the Golden Eagles’ final drive. Ahead 35-32, Clearfield had just taken a safety after it found itself backed to the 7-yard line and punting out of the end zone. The free kick gave Tyrone good field position, starting at the Clearfield 43, and trailing by one.
But after advancing to Clearfield’s 33 on a 10-yard pass from Levi Reihart to Ben Ingle, the Bisons stopped Mark Mingle for no gain on first down. On second down, Larry Glace managed only 2.
On third down, Tyrone went with the same quarterback throwback pass that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last season against Philipsburg-Osceola, but the Bisons had a blitz on, and the pass from Ingle fell incomplete.
Fourth-and-8. Ball on the 26.
Franco opted for the field goal attempt by Shaffer which, had it gone, would have broken Tyrone’s school record by a yard.
This kick was on line, but with little rotation it died well short of the goal posts.
That was the way the record ended.
“Our whole team wanted to kick it,” said Tyrone coach John Franco, who set the Eagles on their regular season tear four seasons ago, following an October 1, loss to P-O in 2004. “You take a time out and debate it and if he makes it, you look great and if he doesn’t, what can you do?”
“We thought if we punted from our own end zone, they were going to get the ball at our 35-yard line,” said Clearfield coach Tim Janocko, referring to his choice to take the safety. “So we were going to make them beat our defense. If you’re to beat a team like that and snap that streak, you have to play until the end. You have to make some big plays, and we made some big plays at the end.”
For either coach to put the game in the hands of his defense seemed, on the outside, a gutsy call, because for so long both offenses abused their opposition. Neither squad kept the other out of the end zone until the Bisons took over on downs with 3:16 left in the second quarter after Reihart threw incomplete on fourth-and-6 at the Clearfield 38.
The numbers inside the numbers were enough to send any defensive coordinator scrambling for back-up plans. Reihart completed 8 of 11 passes for 209 yards. Jarrin Campman went 9-for-13 for 142.
Larry Glace broke loose for 121 yards on 20 carries. Isaiah Morgan powered his way to 145 on 18 tries.
Junior Garret Desch had his best day as a receiver with three catches for 91 yards before leaving with an injury in the third quarter. Trey Campman hauled in 5 receptions for 83.
Eight different players scored touchdowns. Ten had plays of 10-yards or more.
“It was kind of like two heavyweight fighters going at each other, and at the end, who was going to be left,” said Janocko. “Tyrone didn’t blink; we didn’t blink. It was like a showdown. Everybody got their money’s worth tonight.”
It was Ali-Frazier from the start. The Eagles drove 63 yards on eight plays and scored on a 6-yard run by Glace at the 8:01 mark of the first quarter. Shaffer had the big play of the series, taking a pass over the middle from Reihart 32 yards to the 19. But his extra-point attempt smacked the right goal post and fell to the ground, leaving Tyrone with a 6-0 lead.
Clearfield answered with a 70-yard drive, sparked by two big pass completions by Campman and capped when Morgan broke free off right tackle and raced 23 yards for the score. Parker Herrington’s PAT made it 7-6, putting Tyrone at a deficit for the first time this season.
Tyrone countered with an 85-yard march for score No. 2. Along the way, Reihart hit Ingle for 33 yards and Shaffer for another 34. Mingle powered in from 9-yards out, and again the PAT missed. Tyrone 12, Clearfield 7.
But not for long. It took the Bisons only three plays to leapfrog the Eagles, this time on a 34-yard pass from Campman to Derek Daniver, who on Campman’s scramble shook loose behind the coverage for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The PAT made it 14-12, Clearfield.
A 51-yard touchdown by Glace two plays into the ensuing series regained the lead for the Eagles, but their fake on the PAT attempt went nowhere, so the lead was just four, 18-14.
Clearfield scored on its next series, as well, to take a 21-18 lead that would stick until halftime. It started at the Bisons’ 20-yard line and lasted 9 plays, including 3 receptions by Trey Campman for 37 yards. Jarrin Campman covered the last eight.
“They have some outstanding football players,” Franco said. “(Campman) is the best quarterback I’ve seen in years. If he’s not first team All-State, there’s something wrong. We expected (the high score). We just needed two more points.”
The Bisons took the second half kick and powered 66 yards on five running plays to go ahead by 10. Jarrin Campman ran for 34 on second down to the Tyrone 27, and after running for 10 yards on first down, Morgan scored on a 16-yard run to make it 28-18.
Tyrone responded three plays into their next possession on a 67-yard pass from Reihart to Desch. Desch hauled in a 10-yard out and turned it up for the long score. Reihart then hit Shaffer for the 2-point conversion to make it 28-26.
The Eagles forced a punt two minutes later, and then went 53 yards to claim their first lead in the second half. Tyrone used 15 plays and 6 minutes, and converted twice on fourth down. Reihart got the points on a 6-yard run, but Jarred Templeton’s extra-point attempt missed, leaving Tyrone with a 4-point edge at 32-28 at the 11:50 mark of the fourth quarter.
That set up Clearfield for a game-defining drive. Taking over at their own 41, the Bisons went 59 yards in 10 plays, with Jarrin Campman figuring on all but two plays. He hit Trey Campman once for 12 yards, found Brandon Sass once for 16, and ran three times for 11 yards to get the ball to the 17. He closed it out by completing once more to Trey Campman for 17 yards and a touchdown to make it 35-32.
“We started out last season the first two games in a traditional-type offense,” said Janocko. “It wasn’t for him and I sat down with the coaching staff and said we’ve got to put this kid in an offense that can utilize his abilities. We did, and since then, he’s just taken off.”
Tyrone wouldn’t lead again, despite penetrating Clearfield territory twice. When the Bisons had to, they made stops.
Clearfield 35 Tyrone 34
TYRONE 12 6 8 8 – 34
CLEARFIELD 7 14 7 7 – 35
T – Glace 6 run (PAT failed) 8:01
C – Morgan 23 run (Herrington kick) 4:06
T – Mingle 9 run (PAT failed) :56
C – Daniver 24 pass from J. Campman (Herrington kick) 11:50
T – Glace 51 run (PAT run failed) 11:08
C – J. Campman 8 run (Herrington kick) 7:13
C – Morgan 8 run (Herrington kick) 9:57
T – Desch 67 pass from Reihart (Reihart pass to Shaffer) 8:22
T – Reihart 9 run (PAT failed) 11:50
C – T. Campman 17 pass from J. Campm an (Herrington kick) 6:59
T – Safety (Punter stepped out of end zone) 3:39
1st Downs 15 19
Yards Rushing 189 210
Pass Att.-Comp. 8-12 9-13
Yards Passing 209 142
Total Offense 398 352
Int. By 0 0
Fum. Rec. 3-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 1-34 2-37
Penalties/Yards 2-20 4-21
TYRONE – Glace 20-121; Mingle 15-56; Reihart 5-9; Gault 2-3.
CLEARFIELD – Morgan 18-147; J. Campman 18-63.
TYRONE- Reihart 8-11-209, 1 TD, 0 Int.; Mingle 0-1-0.
CLEARFIELD – J. Campman 9-13-142, 2 TD, 0 Int.
TYRONE – Desch 3-91; Shaffer 2-67; Ingle 3-52.
CENTRAL – T. Campman 5-83; Daniver 1-34; Sass 2-25.