CURWENSVILLE – The Alleghany Mountain League (AML) –South Division is sure to have one less undefeated team after Friday night’s match-up between Curwensville and Brockway. The Golden Tide take a 5-0 slate on the road to battle a tough 5-0 Rovers squad
Currently, there are three unbeaten teams left in the AML-South as Elk County Catholic also stands at 5-0. Unblemished Port Allegany has separated itself from the North Division teams and should not be challenged for that title.
“It’s another big one,” Curwensville Area High School head coach Andy Evanko said. “When you only have nine games, each one counts that much more. There are no breaks in the schedule.”
This week’s “big one” comes against a team that has kept the Tide out of the AML Championship game for the past two season. Curwensville last won the AML south in 2009 and has stumbled against the Rovers since. Once again, the path to the championship game may very well travel through Brockway.
That’s not to leave a talented Crusader team out of the picture. Curwensville is looking for last week’s conquest to help the cause this week as ECC travels to Kane. If the Golden Tide takes care of business on Friday, and Kane is unable to help, an undefeated showdown may take place in two weeks at Riverside Stadium.
But, first things first; Brockway is not about to step aside just to allow that match-up to take place. The Rovers are averaging just under 42 points per game in 2012 and can score with many different weapons on offense.
Last week against Ridgway, the Rovers won 38-14. Quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan completed 13-of-20 passes for a total of 198 yards and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Benson. Shaffer-Doan also ran for a score on the night.
Benson added two rushing touchdowns against Ridgway as he piled up 218 yards of total offense – 93 yards on the ground and 125 receiving yards. Also scoring on the ground for the Rovers was Chad Melillo, who ended the game with 153 yards of rushing. Phil Espisito added a field goal to the score.
“They will try to spread us out to run and throw the ball,” Evanko said. “It seems like everyone is moving to a spread offense or pistol, and it comes down to who can tackle in the open field. You don’t average 40-plus points a game and not be good.”
Using Evanko’s definition of “good,” the Golden Tide would fall into that category. Curwensville is averaging just over 40 points a game. Last week’s 36-20 win over Kane matched the previous low offensive output of the season – Curwensville downed Coudersport 36-28 in week one. Brockway was held to 35 points earlier in the season by Sheffield – a team Curwensville plays in the regular season finale.
Offensively, Curwensville has a quite a few weapons of its own. On the ground, junior Zach Tibbens has scored eight touchdowns to date as part of his 660 yards on 92 carries. Senior Josh Greslick, who was a little banged up last week, has 612 yards on 94 hauls with five scores to date. From the fullback position, Alex Olson has crossed the goal line three times among his 27 carries for 190 yards, and Brad Coudriet has also covered 153 yards in 30 totes with four TD’s.
A successful aerial attack for the Tide starts with seniors Hunter McCracken and Jordan Russell. McCracken, the play-caller, is currently 32-of-52 in his pass attempts for 470 yards, seven interceptions and seven touchdowns. Russell has caught all seven scoring passes among his 26 grabs with 418 yards.
It’s no secret that both teams have great offenses, but perhaps the more interesting aspect of the Curwensville squad in 2012 is the depth of its defense. The Golden Tide defense has proven to be very balanced. Thirty-three players have taken part in at least one of the teams 244 tackles this season, while eight different players have recorded sacks on the season, six players have picked off opponents passes, and nine have fallen on loose balls as take-aways.
The defense has really played well lately,” mentioned Evanko. “Coach Fulmar has developed great schemes for the team and everybody is doing their job. It just seems to be the way of the game that each week somebody different steps up to make the big play.”
The top tackler for the Black and Gold on the season continues to be sophomore Jake Stiles with 29 while Coudriet has 25 and Spencer Smeal has 21. Smeal leads the team with two sacks as Stiles and Brad Stubbs both have two fumble recoveries to lead the squad in that category.
The Golden Tide will hope to keep both its offense and defense on track in Brockway Friday night. Kick-off is set for 7:00 in Brockway.
Other games of interest this week for Curwensville besides Elk County Catholic at Kane include Ridgway at Johnsonburg and Sheffield at Otto-Eldred. Ridgway, ECC and Sheffield are the final opponents of the regular season for the Tide.
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|08/31||@ Coudersport||34 – 26||1 – 0|
|09/07||CAMERON COUNTY||46 – 20||2 – 0|
|09/14||SMETHPORT||42 – 13||3 – 0|
|09/21||@ Johnsonburg||41 – 0||4 – 0|
|09/28||KANE||36 – 20||5 – 0|