Smethport (1-1) at Curwensville (2-0)
CURWENSVILLE – Alumni from Curwensville Area High School will have reason to file into Riverside Stadium for a second straight week as Friday Night’s game with Smethport has been tagged as Homecoming. Last week former players flooded the home field to honor head coach Andy Evanko’s 100th career victory with a 46-20 win over Cameron County.
“Last week was nice – I didn’t expect anything like that,” Evanko stated. “I want to thank everyone who had a hand in putting together the night for me. Now it’s time to turn the attention back to the playing field.”
The focus of the coaching staff this week has rested on the Hubbers. Smethport comes into Curwensville with a 1-1 record after dropping its season opener to Elk County Catholic 33-6, but rebounding to topple Johnsonburg 36-20.
The Hubbers are trying to return to their glory days of years ago when they covered several regular seasons without a loss. The offense under first year head coach Jim Berlin seems to have studied the past and brings a similar attack to this year’s squad. Last week that attack earned points on the ground, through the air and even with the defense.
“If we don’t play a disciplined football game it could be a long night,” noted Evanko. “They have a scary offense, and their quarterback runs it very well in his first year as a starter. It looks a lot like the tough run offense that they were very successful with from years past.”
Last week against the Rams, quarterback Clay Schuler was part of three touchdowns. He ran for scores of nine and two-yards respectively, and connected with Ryan Corbet for a 33-yard strike.
On the ground, running backs Karl Lightner (2-yard) and Ryan Stratton (1-yard) added touchdowns. Stratton added a safety from his defensive position while picking off one pass and recording 13 tackles. Jake Abrams also turned in a strong defensive performance with 11 tackles including a sack.
“We are more than concerned about their team potential,” Evanko admitted. “We need to have each of our guys do his job every down. Every play has to show our focus and determination to win the game.”
A big concern this week for the Tide was to find a replacement for senior defensive back Austin Pollick who was injured in the first quarter of last week’s game and will be out indefinitely. Pollick led the team in tackles at Coudersport and was hitting hard again against the Red Raiders before his injury.
“Austin’s injury will be a big loss until we can get him back with us,” said Evanko. “He was outstanding at Coudy and was playing big again when he had to come out.”
While several players are working to get comfortable in Pollick’s position, the Tide staff is looking for its offense to continue it’s balanced attack. Curwensville has run for eight touchdowns from five different runners. They have also thrown for four scores.
Through the air, senior quarterback Hunter McCracken has turned to senior Jordan Russell 10 times for 205 yards and the four touchdowns. The longest connection was a 65-yard strike to the end zone.
Curwensville’s ground game has been spread through several runners. Josh Greslick leads the attack with 285 yards on the season on 39 carries and a touchdown. Zach Tibbens has been equally successful with four scoring jaunts among his 35 carries for 277 yards. Brad Coudriet and Alex Olsen have both scored from the fullback position. Coudriet has 48 yards on 12 carries while Olsen has netted 54 yards on seven carries.
The defensive squad has also played well to date. Sophomore Jake Stiles leads the Tide with total tackles with 12 while Spencer Smeal and Ricky Magnuson have 10 knockdowns each. Smeal, Magnuson, and Austin Jacobson all have sacks with Stiles and McCracken both pulling in an interception.
“We want to continue spreading the ball around,” said Evanko, “but right now, if they give us something to exploit, we’ll take it. The biggest game of the season is the next one we play.”
That next “biggest game” will kick off at 7:00 p.m. after the crowning of the 2012 Homecoming King and Queen which will take the field at 6:30 p.m.