Golden Tide Defense Corners Kane In 36-20 Victory
CURWENSVILLE – When the Curwensville Area High School football team needed a big stance on Friday night against Kane, the defense stood up to the challenge time and time again. The Golden Tide held off the Wolves 36-20 to remain unbeaten at 5-0 to set up next week’s showdown with Brockway. Brockway bumped Ridgway 38-14 to also remain 5-0 in 2012.
“It was 20 points we gave up, but some of that was on special team’s play where we just didn’t tackle well,” said Curwensville head coach Andy Evanko. “We have to stop giving up the big plays, and we’ll be a good team.”
The big plays for Kane that followed special team’s play resulted in three scores – two after kick-offs, and one following a punt by Curwensville. The plays all helped the visitors stay in the game until the defense and the running of Tide junior Zach Tibbens closed the door on any thoughts of a Wolves upset.
Curwensville never trailed in the contest and looked as if they would put Kane away early by scoring on its first two possessions. Senior Jordan Russell set the tone on the opening kick-off with a strong return to the Kane 46-yard line. After a 14-yard run by senior Josh Greslick on a third-and-three, Russell finished the four-play drive on a 25-yard pass play from quarterback Hunter McCracken. Spencer Smeal’s kick was true and the Tide was up 7-0 at the 9:59 mark in the opening quarter.
Kane was given just one play after the ensuing kickoff. Greslick picked off Wolves’ quarterback Sean Jordan on the first play from scrimmage to give his team the ball back at the Curwensville 45-yard line. The hosts moved the ball effectively on a 12-play drive that found McCracken and Russell connecting again – this time on an 8-yard scoring pass. Kane was offsides on the PAT attempt, so the call came to Alex Olson for the two-point conversion to give his team a 15-0 lead with 3:23 left in the first frame.
“Hunter and Jordan just played a super game and helped open things up later in the game,” Evanko praised. “It was a big key to the game that we had two scores and they were only able to run one play. That was quite a luxury.”
Kane’s second possession also resulted in an interception as Brad Coudriet corralled the errant pass from Jordan. However, the Tide could not move the ball and had to punt from deep in their own territory.
Following the punt, Jordan needed just two plays as he got loose for a 34-yard running touchdown. Sean Rolick added the PAT and suddenly the Wolves were back in the game with a 15-7 mark with 10:45 left before halftime. At that time Kane had run just six plays from scrimmage while Curwensville scored twice among 20 attempts.
However, it was time for the Tide to get back to business. The hosts marched down field again with a steady running game, and even overcame a couple of penalties to find pay dirt once more. Tibbens was able to move the ball the final nine yards for the score. Smeal was perfect again as the score moved to 22-7 with 2:30 left.
Kane was not ready to give up and Rolick pulled in the ensuing kick-off at the 13-yard line and carefully picked his way up field until he found the seam and the sideline. Rolick, who had a 98-yard return for a score last week against Brockway, couldn’t be stopped on this 87-yard return. His extra point kept the ball game close at 22-14 at the 2:16 mark. Rolick’s 87-yard return covered more yardage than Kane’s offense had in the entire first half.
“We talked about that at halftime,” said Evanko. “And we responded in the second half. I am really so proud of our defense. The guys really started to come on last week – Johnsonburg is a good team and the staff is doing a fine job up there – but you could just see that the guys are putting things together.”
Curwensville came out in the second half and attempted an on-side kick that failed to travel 10 yards to give the Wolves good field position. And the visitors took advantage. In a seven-play drive that nearly doubled the Kane offense, the score tightened at 22-20 on a one-yard score by Jonah Smith. The Tide rush got to the quarterback on the PAT to keep the score from being tied.
The home town fans were kept on edge as Curwensville gave the ball back four plays later with a Jeff Kocjancic interception. Kane moved the ball to the Curwensville six-yard line when the defense began to show its muscle.
On second-and-goal from the six-yard line, Curwensville’s line put pressure on Jordan until Smeal finished him off back at the 17-yard line. An incompletion and a missed field goal seemed to deflate the Wolves and charge the Tide.
“Spencer had just a great game, and that goal line stand was huge,”Evanko said. “On defense, he blew things up, and on offense, we ran behind him all night. The offensive line took over late in the game with Ricky Magnuson, Jonathan Miller, Jason and Kyle Bloom and Philip McCracken doing an outstanding job.”
Tibbens had a rough start in the game, but by the fourth quarter, he put the team on his back and wouldn’t be denied. Tibbens pounded out 46 yards including a 14-yard touchdown following the missed field goal. Smeal again added the PAT to move the score to 29-20 to give the Tide some breathing room.
“Zach is a tough running back, and he got stronger as the game went on,” Evanko noted. “We needed him to run well with Josh (Greslick) a little banged up. Coudriet helped out the rushing with some crushing blocks, and Alex (Olson) is such a good compliment at both back positions.”
Tibbens extended the lead the next time he touched the ball with a 34-yard bulldozing of the Wolves’ secondary. Tibbens bounced off several tacklers to push the score to its final after Smeal’s kick.
The defense continued to play well as a sack by Jake Stiles set up the final score, and tackles for losses from Coudriet, Jake Kavelak and Nathan Wriglesworth stymied the visitors in the final minutes of the game.
“This was just a hard-fought win,” finalized Evanko. “The defense was big. We’re going to enjoy this win until our next practice – tomorrow morning – and then we’re going to look forward to next week’s game. We’re going to have a lot of fun next week on the turf at Brockway on a cool night. It will be a lot of fun.”
Tibbens finished the game with 145 yards rushing on 21 carries and three touchdowns. Greslick carried the ball just three times in the second half, but finished the game offensively with 64 yards. He did continue to play well on defense. Coudriet netted 41 yards on the ground and Olson added 25.
McCracken finished 8-of-13 through the air for 86 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Russell caught six passes for 59 yards and two scores. Greslick had one catch for 16 yards and Nate Kurtz pulled in an 11-yard toss on the night.
Kane had a total of 57 yards in the first half of Friday’s game, and ran just 11 plays before intermission. Jordan, who threw for over 200 yards a week ago completed no passes in the first 24 minutes. Kane totalled just 147 yards on the night against the Golden Tide.
Three teams still stand with unblemished slates in the AML-South after Friday’s contests. Elk County Catholic defeated Ridgway 25-12 on Friday to stay unbeaten. Curwensville will be in Brockway next week to limit that number to possibly two and will face ECC at home in three weeks. Game time with the Rovers is slated for 7:00 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Kane - 0 14 6 0 – 20
Curwensville – 15 7 0 14 – 36
Curwensville: 25-yard pass from McCracken to Russell (Smeal kick), 9:59.
Curwensville: 8-yard pass from McCracken to Russell (Olson run), 3:23.
Kane: 34-yard run by Jordan (Rolick kick), 10:45.
Curwensville: 9-yard run by Tibbens (Smeal kick), 2:30.
Kane: 87-yard kick-off return by Rolick (Rolick kick), 2:16.
Kane: 1-yard run by Smith (pass failed), 8:17
Curwensville: 14-yard run by Tibbens (Smeal kick), 8:52.
Smethport: 7-yard run by Schuler (run failed), 5:58.
Curwensville: 43-yard run by Tibbens (Smeal kick), 4:19.
Kane / Curwensville
FIRST DOWNS: 9 /16
RUSH YARDS: 74/273
PASS YARDS: 73 / 86
TOTAL YARDS: 147 / 359
PENALTIES: 4 / 6
PENALTY YARDS: 30 / 50
COMP/ATT/TD/INT: 6-16-0-3/ 8-13-2-2
FUMBLES: 1 / 0
FUMBLES LOST: 1 /0
KANE: Rolick – 1 carry, 21 yards; Jordan – 8 carries, 29 yards, TD; Lingenfelter – 4 carries, 6 yards; Smith – 10 carries, 18 yards, TD; TOTALS: 23 carries, 74 yards, 2 TD’s.
CURWENSVILLE: Greslick - 13 carries,64 yards; Tibbens - 21 carries, 145 yards, 3 TD’s; Coudriet - 5 carries, 41 yards; Olsen - 6 carries, 25 yards; Team – 2 carries, (-2) yards; Totals: 47 carries, 273 yards; 3 TD’s.
KANE: Jordan – 16 attempts, 6 completions, 73 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT’s.
CURWENSVILLE: McCracken - 13 attempts, 8 completions, 86 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s.
KANE: Kocjancic - 3 receptions, 41 yards; Rolick - 2 receptions, 26 yards; Smith – 1 - reception, 6 yards.
CURWENSVILLE: Russell - 6 receptions, 59 yards, 2 TD’s; Kurtz – 1 reception 11 yards; Greslick 1 reception, 16 yards.