CLEARFIELD -- Riding a pair of four-game losing streaks and with the playoffs drawing closer, times were getting desperate as Cyprus and Clearfield met Friday evening.
A.J. Semeatu buoyed the postseason hopes of himself and his Pirate teammates while likely extinguishing Clearfield's flickering chance. The junior scored in a multitude of ways with a rushing touchdown, a fumble recovery in the end zone and a late 84-yard TD reception from Dennis Kamakana to seal a Cyprus 28-7 victory.
"We've just got to show up," Clearfield coach Will Hawes said. "The team that showed up last week and lost to a top-ranked team (Highland) by eight points, if that team shows up all season, then we've got a different season. They've got to want it and they didn't want it tonight. That's the part of coaching you can't teach. If you don't want it, then that's what will show and that's what showed tonight.
"And, of course, Cyprus has a veteran, good coach and they're going to show up ready to play and we didn't. That was the difference in the ball game."
The game got sloppy right out of the gate with a pair of turnovers in the game's first 27 seconds. The Falcons tossed an interception on their second play from scrimmage, while the Pirates handed it right back with a fumble on the ensuing play.
Clearfield turned the Cyprus miscue into its only seven points of the game as it marched 65 yards in nine plays, scoring when a scrambling Ricky Martinez found Travis Gravely in the back of the end zone from five yards out midway through the opening quarter.
It was all downhill for the Falcons after that as Clearfield failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities while watching Cyprus cash in Falcon mistakes for touchdowns.
The Pirates answered the Clearfield scoring drive with one of its own, which was punctuated with a six-yard Semeatu run. Cyprus then went up 14-7 when Nico Disera crossed the goal line from 18 yards out following a Clearfield turnover on downs early in the second quarter.
Cyprus added to its lead after Clearfield muffed a punt deep in its own territory. Semeatu emerged with the ball from a pile up in the end zone to make it 21-7.
Finally, on the first play of the fourth quarter, a blown coverage assignment left Semeatu wide open downfield as he outran the Clearfield defense for the final points.
The road doesn't get any easier for the Falcons as they host an East squad next week that beat Cyprus 76-28 a week ago and is arguably the best team in the state.
"(East) is just like anybody else that comes in here or we go there, we've got to prepare," Hawes said. "We'll be prepared when they walk through the gate and if we want to show up, we'll show up and, if not, then hopefully it's over quick."