CURWENSVILLE – The Curwensville Area High School football team has opened up five seasons against Coudersport with the Falcons holding a 3-2 edge in week one meetings. The Golden Tide will try to even that stat Friday night at Riverside Stadium as the 2013 high school gridiron season opens up.
The two teams met in Coudersport to open last year’s season with the Tide walking away with a 34-26 victory. Curwensville used two fourth quarter scores to seal the come-from-behind victory. The Falcons went on to post a 3-6 campaign while the Tide under head coach Andy Evanko finished 7-3 in the first round of the district playoffs.
Senior quarterback Ethan Hite will likely be under center for the Falcons. Hite threw for 792 yards last season connecting on 52-of-115 passes. He tossed seven touchdown passes with seven interceptions. Hite also ran for 119 yards. The top receiver returning this season is senior Alex Hershey who gathered 13 aerials for 212 yards. Senior running-back Zac Elenchin is also a threat through the air having scored on a 40-yard pass play last year against the Tide.
“Their quarterback is a tall kid with a strong arm,” Evanko pointed out. ”He is also a threat to take off if nothing is open to him. Coudy is traditionally a running team, and we have to shut down the ground game to be successful, but they have multiple weapons and a good sized group of linemen.”
The Falcon ground game for the 2013 campaign has yet to prove itself as Hite is the leading returning rusher. Hershey covered 97 yards on 17 carries last season.
Of the eight seniors featured on this year’s Falcon squad, three are slated to man the offensive and defensive lines. Forest Tuttle, at 6-2, 210-pounds, returns as the leading tackler with 52 knock downs last season. Kyle Clay brings a 6-0, 225 frame and captain James Brown is on the end at 5-9, 160 pounds. Eight underclassmen weigh in at over 200 pounds as possible linemen including freshman Bryce Butler at 280, 6-3 and sophomore Ben Cochran 6-1, 260.
“It’s always interesting how similar our teams are when we get together,” said Evanko. ”Our line is looking to establish themselves against a relatively untested group from Coudy. They also have select positions that have seen action, and we have talented players who have proven themselves in the trenches. It should be a fun game.”
A pair of the Golden Tide’s proven players will be featured on offense and also helped secure last year’s victory. Senior running-backs Zach Tibbens and Alex Olson combined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground last season. At Coudersport in the fourth quarter with the Falcons leading 26-21, Olson plowed in from one-yard out, and Tibbens followed minutes later with a 40-yard scamper to ice the game. Tibbens totaled 127 yards in the opener last season.
Curwensville will counter in the trenches with seniors Ricky Magnuson, Phillip McCracken, Bryce McClure and Nick London, junior Jonathan Miller and sophomores Ian Barrett and Seth Sloppy.
“As always, we’re just looking to be better tomorrow than we were today,” Evanko said. ”We have the talent to be a good team, and we’ll have to execute well against Coudy because they always play us tough.”
The Falcons hold a 14-5 overall advantage over the Tide, but balancing out the opening week records will help Curwensville set the tone for this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 on Friday.