CURWENSVILLE — The Curwensville Area High School football team wasn\’t about to allow upstart Kane to interrupt its march toward another Allegheny Mountain League South Division championship Friday night after surviving the meat of its schedule on a roll since its opening-night loss to reigning AML champ, and still undefeated, Coudersport.
Coach Andy Evanko\’s Golden Tide wowed the large Parents Night crowd at Riverside Stadium with its most dominating performance of the season for a 42-0 conquest of the underclassman-laden but talented Wolves, extending its winning streak to five.
Just how dominating?
Well, Kane never ran a play in Curwensville territory and had only two first downs until late in the fourth quarter, when the Wolves drove 85 yards against the Golden Tide reserves before running out of time at the C-7. Safety Phillip Michaels had a pair of interceptions for the Tide.
On offense, Curwensville piled up 464 yards, 339 of them on the ground, and scored six touchdowns, four by All-State halfback Nick Sipes and two by undersized fullback Brandon Hess, against a unit that had allowed only 65 points.
The only negatives for the Golden Tide, which didn\’t have to punt, were three lost fumbles and 72 yards in penalties.
From the outset, it was apparent the Kane defense was primed to slow down Sipes, who still managed 141 yards on 21 carries, but that left the Wolves vulnerable on the outside and in the secondary, and quarterback Shawn Sopic made them pay with a triple-triple. The 6-2, 195-pound senior flashed his surprising speed on rollouts and option keepers for 109 yards on just seven attempts and enjoyed his best passing night of the season, connecting on five of 12 aerials for 117 yards.
Almost half of his total came on one brilliant individual effort by Hess, who turned a short pass into a highlight reel 54-yard touchdown.
Kane, which has a bright future with only one senior in action, never was able to generate any momentum, even after Evanko gambled on fourth-and-eight at the Wolves\’ 38 on Curwensville\’s first possession. Sipes almost made the sticks but had the ball knocked from his grasp, with Kane\’s Steve Mix recovering at the 31.
Sipes quickly atoned for that turnover when he got a hand on Matt Mix\’s punt, which traveled only 19 yards, and the Golden Tide drove 53 yards to paydirt in seven plays, a 30-yard sprint by Sopic to the K-7 the big gainer. Sipes slanted off the right side for a three-yard touchdown with 4:17 left in the quarter. His PAT conversion was wide.
Early in the second period, Curwensville converted a fourth-and-two at its 42 when Sipes powered for three yards on a dive right and reaped dividends for that gamble when Hess dazzled the Wolves and the fans. The 5-9, 160-pounder snared Sopic\’s pass in the right flat, pulled away from his defender, started down the right sideline, cut back to the middle and somehow maintained his balance when belted by two Wolves near the K-25, spun back to the sideline and crossed the goalline for the Golden Tide\’s first TD pass of the year. Sopic rolled right for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead with 9:58 to play in the half.
The hosts increased the margin to 21-0 on their next possession, covering 44 yards on four plays and a pass interference penalty, Sipes getting the final yard and then kicking the extra point with 7:06 left in the half.
Curwensville brought the Mercy Rule into play in the third quarter with a pair of scores, a 63-yard run by Sipes and a 22-yard bolt up the middle by Hess making it 35-0 with 2:53 on the clock. Sopic made an amazing play on the TD by Sipes, who bounced Iso Right to the sideline. After the handoff, Sopic dashed downfield wiped out the last Kane defender at the K-32. A high snap foiled the conversion try by Sipes following that score, but Sopic turned it into two points by rifling a pass to Hess.
Sopic\’s 29-yard bomb to Evan Olson at the K-3 on the last play of the third quarter set up Sopic\’s one-yard plunge with 11:07 remaining. Sopic then booted his 26th point of the night and 113th of the season.
The entire Curwensville \’D\’ created havoc for the Kane offense, oft times with blitzes off the corners by outside linebackers Hess, Matt Holland and Cody Botzman or up the middle by inside linebackers Sipes and Nathan Russell. Rotating down linemen Joe Hawkins, Brandon McDonald, Trevor Horton, Jarod Skebo, Nick Caldwell and Sam Kephart stood their ground against the Wolves\’ big front. And Sopic, David Kalgren and Michaels shut off the deep passing routes.
The Golden Tide\’s pressure forced sophomore Kenny Kane to throw quickly. Five of his seven completions netted eight yards or less, the biggest a 33-yarder to wide-open Ross Nicholson on the final drive.
EXTRA POINTS — In a fitting tribute prior to the kickoff, Curwensville fans were given the opportunity to salute Sipes for becoming the District 9 all-time rushing leader during last week\’s win at Johnsonburg. He was presented a game ball by Evanko.. The Golden Tide had a perfectly-executed Sopic-to-Jesse Hoover TD pass of 27 yards wiped out late in the first half by an ineligible receiver penalty… A high snap when Kane was in a shotgun formation cost the Wolves 23 yards in the second quarter, and they wound up with only 49 yards rushing for 28 plays… Kane, which is 2-4, limited Sipes to only three runs of 10 yards or more… Smethport, 0-6 after Friday night\’s 28-14 loss to Otto-Eldred, will provide the opposition for Curwensville\’s regular season home finale next Friday.
Ends — McDonald, Olson
Tackles — Horton, Kephart
Guards — Hawkins, Skebo
Center — Russell
Backs — Sopic, Sipes, Hess, Johnson
Subs — Hoover, Botzman, Caldwell, Holland, Kalgren, Michaels, McGary, Dell\’Antonio, Kahl, Guy, Dixon, Greene, Starr, Opaliski, Smith, Johns, Thomas, C. Bloom, Holt, Zemba, Maney, Lash, Koontz, Bennett, Wriglesworth, J. Bloom, Padgett, Winkelman
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Kane 0 0 0 0 — 0
Curwensville 6 15 14 7 — 42
Cur — Sipes 3 run (Kick failed), 4:17
Cur — Hess 54 pass from Sopic (Sopic run), 9:58
Cur — Sipes 1 run (Sipes kick), 7:06
Cur — Sipes 63 run (Hess pass from Sopic), 6:23
Cur — Hess 22 run (Kick failed), 2:53
Cur — Sipes 1 run (Sipes kick), 11:07
First Downs Rushing 5 11
First Downs Passing 2 2
First Downs Penalties 0 1
Total First Downs 7 14
Yards Gained Rushing 97 344
Yards Lost Rushing 48 5
Rushes-Net Yards 28-49 41-339
Passes Att-Com-Int 16-7-2 11-2-1
Passing Yards 76 125
Punts-Average 7-31.1 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-3
Penalties-Yards 6-50 7-72
RUSHING — Kane: Todd 3-24, Moran 4-21, Bizzak 13-14, Horton 1-6, M. Mix 5-6, Kane 1-1, (Team 1-minus 23). Curwensville: Sipes 21-141, Sopic 7-109, Hess 8-42, C. Bloom 1-24, Holland 3-18, Hoover 1-7.
PASSING — Kane: Kane 16-7-0-1, 76 yards. Curwensville: Sopic 12-5-1-0, 117 yards; Kalgren 1-1-0-1, 8 yards.
RECEIVING — Kane: Nicholson 3-54, M. Mix 3-18, Bizzak 1-4. Curwensville: Hess 1-54, Olson 1-29, Hoover 2-20, Sipes 1-14, McDonald 1-8.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES — Kane: S. Mix, Bizzak, Dangelo.
INTERCEPTIONS — Curwensville: Michaels 2.