CURWENSVILLE – While the game may have been slowed down by lightning, the Curwensville Area High School football team used the lengthy delay Friday night to talk about adjustments that energized their play. The Golden Tide offense and defense charged the field after the intermission to play lights out for a 42-22 jolting of visiting Brockway.
“Sometimes a delay can be beneficial,” Tide head coach Andy Evanko said coyly. ”It doesn’t happen very often when you’re forced to sit in the locker room and wait, but our guys made the adjustments and picked it up.
The night sky lit up with 4:28 remaining in the first half while the hosts found themselves down 19-7 to the visiting Rovers. Curwensville scored first on an 8-yard run by senior Alex Olson in the first quarter. However, Brockway would score three times before the bad weather hit.
Alex Shaffer-Doan answered the Tide touchdown quickly on the ensuing drive. He connected with Anthony Benson for a 30-yard score in the opening quarter, but a bad snap on the PAT led to an incomplete pass and the Tide held the slim 7-6 lead. On their next possession Shaffer-Doan rambled off a 68-yard run to help set up Mike Martino’s 7-yard finish that gave the Rovers a 13-7 lead when Jarrett Esposito split the uprights. Minutes later, Martino picked off a Kyle Johns pass for a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. However, a pass play again failed and the score stood at 19-7.
The Golden Tide moved the ball on their next possession, but came up a yard short on a fourth down play to give the ball back to the visitors just before play was halted.
“The lightning showed up right on time,” Evanko grinned, “and so did the defense and Johnny Miller.”
When the teams came back on the field, Brockway was facing a second-down-and-seven at their own 33-yard line. On the first snap, Jake Stiles caught Shaffer-Doan for a five yard loss, and the second found Miller on top of the Rover quarterback for another sack.
Curwensville got the ball back with 3:04 left in the half and was quickly aided by pass interference and chop block penalties. The Tide relied on ground delivery after that as Olson, Johns and Zach Tibbens took turns running the ball. Tibbens covered the last 15 yards on a play that looked like he would be stopped at the 10. However, as always, the powerful senior kept his feet churning and broke tackles to romp into the end zone. Jason Thorp, who was perfect on the night in his point-after attempts, pushed the hosts closer with a 19-14 mark with :22 left in the half.
After the lengthy delay earlier, it was decided that no halftime break was needed, and the teams soon lined up to start the third quarter with Curwensville set to receive the kick. The Tide once again mounted a scoring drive that would put them in the lead for good with just one heart-stopping moment for the hometown fans.
On a third-and-four play, Johns looked to pass over the middle. Two Brockway defenders jumped the rout and battled each other for the ball. When the ball popped straight up a third defender contacted the ball but could not control it before Miller coming from his line position cradled the wayward ball for his first career reception and a Golden Tide first down. Tibbens poured salt on the wound with a 52-yard jaunt to help set up a quarterback sneak by Johns for the one-yard score.
“That was a critical pass play, and John did what he was supposed to do – find the ball,” said Evanko. ”He is just the typical blue-collar player who comes to work every day and does his job. I’m so proud of our offensive line. They stepped up and really did the job tonight.”
The lightning continued to strike for the Tide as senior Austin Jacobson picked off Shaffer-Doan on the Rovers’ next series and returned it 58-yards for a touchdown to up the score to 28-19 at the 6:31 mark of the third period.
Brockway then ended their scoring for the night on a 12-play drive that yeilded just three points on a 33-yard field goal by Jarrett Esposito. The Curwensville defense again came up big to deny the end zone as the Rovers were turned away from a first-and-goal situation.
Curwensville’s one bump in the second half was a fumble on their own 36-yard line with :41 in the third quarter. However, the Rovers returned the favor two-fold. With first-and-goal at the 10, Shaffer-Doan was in the shotgun. The senior signal caller paused his cadence to get instruction from the sideline, and as he turned his head, the center snapped the ball and the Rovers had to cover for a 13-yard loss.
After changing sides of the field to start the fourth quarter, Curwensville helped put the ball back at the nine on a pass interference call. But, once again it was the big-play defense that shut down Brockway, and once again it was Miller doing the damage. Shaffer-Doan bobbled the snap, and when he recovered Miller jarred the ball loose and senior Ricky Magnuson was there to complete the take-away.
“We felt we had something to prove after last week’s loss,” said Evanko. ”We may not have started out like we wanted, but the kids came on later.”
After the turnover, the offense went back to work. The ground game got things going again, but it was the 41-yard hook-up between Johns and Jacobson that covered most of the distance. A personal foul on the play put the ball at the Rover-22 where sophomore Hunter Johnson finished it off with one carry to raise the difference to 34-22.
Later, Tibbens would add a 15-yard TD to set the final score at 42-22.
Curwensville will travel to Johnsonburg next week to take on Ridgway (the two teams have joined forces this season) where it will be Homecoming. Ridgway played a non-conference game in Allegany, MD on Friday where they fell by a 42-0 score.
NOTES: Tibbens surpassed the 1000-yard mark on the season as he finished the game with 231 yards and stands at 1,066 on the year…Johns threw for 102 yards – six more than he had in the first five games combined…Shaffer-Doan was held to 75-yards passing – he was averaging 282-yards coming into the game…Curwensville had not been successful in beating the Rovers in their last four meetings…AML scores from friday include Smethport 35, Port Allegany 14, and Coudersport 26, Cameron County 19…Kane plays at ECC Saturday…Otto-Eldred is at Sheffield.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Brockway – 6 13 3 0 – 22
Curwensville – 7 7 14 14 – 42
Curwensville: 8-yard run by Olson (Thorp kick), 3:48.
Brockway: 30-yard pass from Shaffer-Doan to Benson (pass failed), 2:04.
Brockway: 7-yard run by Martino (Esposito kick), 10:08.
Brockway: 40-yard Interception return byBenson (pass failed), 7:41.
Curwensville: 13-yard run by Tibbens (Thorp Kick),00:22.
Curwensville: 1-yard run by Johns (Thorp kick), 8:25.
Curwensville: 58-yard interception return by Jacobson (Thorp kick), 6:31.
Brockway: 33-yard field goal by Esposito, 1:45.
Curwensville: 22-yard run by Johnson (Thorp kick), 9:04.
Curwensville:15-yard run by Tibbens (Thorp kick), 3:31.
Brockway / Curwensville
FIRST DOWNS: 12 /13
RUSH YARDS: 197/342
PASS YARDS: 80 / 102
TOTAL YARDS: 277 /444
PENALTIES: 6/ 10
PENALTY YARDS: 55 / 89
COMP/ATT/TD/INT: 11-22-1-2/ 6-9-0-1
FUMBLES: 3 / 2
FUMBLES LOST: 1/1
BROCKWAY: Shaffer-Doan – 18 carries, 177 yards; Benson - 4 carries, 32 yards; Martino -8 carries, 14 yards, TD; Kurtz – 1 carry, (-1) yard; Perrin – 1 carry, (-5) yards; B. Martini – 1 carry, (-8) yards; Gorham – 1 carry, (-1) yard; Team – 1 carry, (-13) yards.
CURWENSVILLE: Tibbens – 28 carries, 231 yards, 2 TD’s; Olson - 4 carries, 21 yards, TD; Johnson – 11 carries, 60 yards, TD; Johns – 5 carries, 13 yards, TD; McKenzie – 2 carries, 11 yards; Lancaster – 1 carry, 6 yards; Junod – 1 carry, 0 yards.
BROCKWAY: Shaffer-Doan – 18 attempts, 9 completions, 75 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.
Glasl – 2 attempts, 1 completion, 1 yard, 0 TD, 0 INT.
Martini – 2 attampts, 1 completion, 4 yards, 0TD, 0 INT.
CURWENSVILLE: Johns – 9 attempts, 6 completions, 102 yards, 0 TD’s, 1 INT.
BROCKWAY: Benson – 5 receptions, 63 yards, TD; Isabella – 2 receptions, (-5) yards; Morris – 1 reception, 4 yards; Glasl – 1 reception, 6 yards; Perrin – 1 reception, 4 yards; Muir – 1 rec, 8 yards.
CURWENSVILLE: Jacobson – 3 receptions, 52 yards; Lansberry – 2 receptions, 45 yards; Miller – 1 reception, 5 yards.