CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield High football team didn’t look good last year in terms of overall record – The Falcons won only two games – but it clearly improved from the year before.
In 2015, Clearfield averaged 6.3 points per game while allowing 40.5 – a difference of 34.2 points per game.
In 2016, Clearfield averaged 17 points per game while allowing 28.5 – a difference of 11.5 points per game.
“The one thing I heard after every single game (last year) was, ‘Wow, you guys played hard, man. That was a tough game,’” Clearfield coach Andre Dyson said. “I don’t think there was a team we played that was like, ‘Oh, those guys suck.’ Unless they were lying to my face, but I don’t believe it.”
Northridge might have thought Clearfield sucked before their matchup to conclude the regular season. Then the Falcons romped the Knights by 30.
“People come in and they underestimate you, and when you come in with an attitude of, ‘They suck,’ once you start punching them in the mouth, you start doing big plays on them, it’s hard to change that mentality to, ‘We’ve got to play serious,’” Dyson said.
As Dyson prepares for his fourth season coaching his alma mater, he can feel the momentum of the program starting to build. Still, he knows the results clearly show a lot more improvement is needed. Specifically, the Falcons need to finish. Clearfield lost three games by six or fewer points last year.
“We just didn’t know how to close because we hadn’t been in those types of games,” Dyson said.
Clearfield’s strength in 2017 will be at the skill positions. The Falcons were senior heavy on the offensive and defensive lines last year.
Colton Manning, a senior, returns at tight end and linebacker. Manning caught 31 passes for 597 yards (19.3 yards per reception) and five touchdowns last year. This will be Manning’s third year as a two-way starter.
“He’s just a product of hard work,” Dyson said. “He’s a very coachable kid. Any coach would love to have a player like (him). If you had a bunch of Coltons on your team, doesn’t matter their speed, their size, height, weight, anything of that matter … you could win a lot of games with that.”
Senior Jaxon Mansfield is another returning two-way starter. He plays quarterback and safety.
Running back Isaiah Belford, cornerback Orion Santiago, linebacker Anthony Surles, tight end/defensive end Devon Poll, offensive/defensive lineman Ben Brakey and cornerback Yo Finlinson – all seniors – also return.
“I don’t think anyone’s going to take us lightly, but I still don’t think anyone respects us, which they shouldn’t. We’ve got to earn that still,” Dyson said.
CLEARFIELD 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(*Region 1 game)
Friday, Aug. 18: at Hunter
Friday, Aug. 25: Cottonwood
Friday, Sept. 1: Weber*
Friday, Sept. 8: at Davis*
Friday, Sept. 15: Northridge*
Friday, Sept. 22: at Layton*
Friday, Sept. 29: at Box Elder
Friday, Oct. 6: Syracuse*
Friday, Oct. 13: at Fremont*
Wednesday, Oct. 18: Bountiful
TUESDAY’S PREVIEW: BOX ELDER BEES