Curwensville (6-2) at Sheffield (2-6)
CURWENSVILLE – With one game left on the 2012 regular season high school football schedule, the Curwensville Area squad (6-2) will be focused on Sheffield (2-6). The Golden Tide will travel to meet the Wolverines on Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. start.
While no team can be overlooked on the field in the Allegheny Mountain League this season, those of us who don’t have to play the game can look ahead and have one eye on the post season.
It would appear that the Golden Tide’s fate in the District IX Class A playoffs is set as the number six seed and will travel to play the runner-up in the AML – either Port Allegany or Brockway in two weeks. The only way that position might change is if Elk County Catholic (6-2) should lose this week to Otto-Eldred. The Terrors are currently on a two-game winning streak after dropping Cameron County and Sheffield.
An ECC loss would likely send the Tide to Union in the first round of the playoffs. The top seed in the D-IX Championships will be earned by either Brockway (8-0) or Port Allegany (8-0), who play each other on Friday and will meet again next week in the AML Championship. The result of the championship game will determine the top district seed. Clarion (8-0) and Union (7-1) will definitely represent the KSAC while Kane (5-3) and Smethport (4-4) are still in the mix.
The Curwensville staff and players will be focused on the Wolverines this week to propel themselves into the post season on a winning note. For the second time this season, Curwensville looks to rebound after a disappointing defeat – a 13-12 loss to ECC a week ago.
“This week’s game doesn’t present an easy game,” said Tide head coach Andy Evanko. “We’ll be out of our normal routine playing on Saturday afternoon, but this group is resilient and has bounced back before after tough games.”
This week’s opponent doesn’t look threatening from a distance as Sheffield holds a 2-6 mark, however, they do have the potential to put points on the board. The Wolverines have scored over 30 points or more three times on the season and slipped to Brockway by 14 at 35-21.
“They have been close in a lot of games this season,” suggested Evanko. “They make great drives to get the ball down field before losing it on a turnover. They show a lot of different offensive sets that can keep you guessing. It’s always a concern when you are playing against athletes.”
Perhaps the main athlete for the Tide to be concerned about is Shequan Wright. Wright spends time as the starting quarterback before giving way to become a wide receiver. In the win against Coudersport, Wright threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-21 attempts. When Wright was replaced by Adam Higby as play-caller, he was the prime target of an 8-of-14 effort that covered 131 yards and three TD’s.
Other receiving threats include Brendan Winslow and Dylan Reynolds while Wright is always a threat to run in the quarterback position as well as on the reverse. Wright also booted a 30-yard field goal for his team’s only points last week.
“Wright is one heck of an athlete, and Winslow has a lot of speed,” complimented Evanko. “Athleticism is always a concern. It’s not like they’ve scored their points late in games. They have scored against everyone’s first units. Their line has decent size and everyone is pretty athletic.”
Last week the Golden Tide had trouble putting the ball in the end zone to put the game away. Against the Wolverines, they must remedy that problem to control the game.
The defense will need to stop a strong passing game that looks to throw at any time. Pressuring the quarterback will be key, and the Tide has nine sacks on the season with Spencer Smeal recording two to lead the team. Brad Coudriet, with a strong game last week, took over as the team’s top tackler with 40. Jake Stiles has posted 38 knock downs with Smeal at 32, Brad Stubs at 28 and Josh Greslick at 26. Kyle Johns has pulled in three of the teams 10 interceptions.
Offensively, the passing game of the Golden Tide finds Hunter McCracken with 791 yards and 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions among his 57-of-95 effort. Jordan Russell has pushed his receiving yards to 588 on 44 grabs with nine TD’s. Austin Jacobson has pulled in three passes for 64 yards and one score.
On the ground, Zach Tibbens cleared the 1,000-yard mark and has rushed for 1,134 0n 150 carries with 14 touchdowns. Rounding out the running corps shows Greslick with 792 yards on 128 jaunts while Alex Olson has run 41 times for 364 yards and Brad Coudriet shows 206 yards on 41 totes.
“We have to come out and block better, tackle better and be better than we were last week,” said Evanko. “If we can do what we have to do this week the game should take care of itself.”
Defending the passing game of Sheffield may not prepare the Tide for the playoff match-up that may be ahead of them, but it will at least put them in that mindset for the next few weeks.
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|
|10/05||@ Brockway||34 – 56||5 – 1|
|10/12||RIDGWAY||55 – 6||6 – 1|
|10/19||ELK COUNTY||12 – 13||6 – 2|