Curwensville – Looking for their first win of the season the Golden Tide hosted the Johnsonburg Rams at Riverside stadium in week 5 of high school football play.
Coming into the game as underdogs, the Tide\’s improved defense kept the Rams passing game under control to take the win.
The first quarter of the game went scoreless as each team had 3 chances to move the ball down the field. The Tide failed to get a first down after a 4th and 8 pass attempt from David Kalgren to Tyler Johns. The Rams fought back from xcellent field position, but a Cory Bloom recovery of a Zane Zelehoski fumble on a 2nd and 7 left the Rams empty handed on their first drive of the game.
Tide once again found themselves in a 4th and 8th position as Kalgren over threw to Jesse Hoover giving the Rams the ball at their own 20 yard line. The Tide defense held the Rams, forcing them to punt.
A Jesse Hoover fumble recovered by Zane Zelehoski ended the Tide\’s hopes of a first quarter score. The Rams were not able to capitalize on the fumble recovery and were once again forced to punt the ball away to the Tide.
The next Tide possession was full of “shoot yourself in the foot” play. The Tide overcame 3 penalties that added 20 yards to their first scoring possession of the game. The Tide took 17 plays and over 8 minutes to push down field from the 23 yard line. Jed Greslick had a 36 yard run to the 3 yard line that set up a 2 play push to the end zone by Cory Bloom. An extra point kick by Jesse Hoover put the Tide up 7-0 with 7:12 left in the half.
Craig Carrow set his Rams up with great field position taking the ball back to the Rams 40 yard line. Mark Myers and Zane Zelehoski worked the remaining 60 yards, ending with a Zane Zelehoski 5 yard run into the end zone with 4:07 left in the half. A Trey Dececchis kick tied the ball game 7-7.
In the next drive the Tide couldn\’t move the ball against the Johnsonburg defense. Forced to punt on a 4th and 5 the Tide capitalized as freshman Kyle Irwin recovered the football when the Ram\’s Andy Benson dropped the punt. Poised at the Ram\’s 27, the Tide took 6 plays to send Jed Greslick in on a 4 yard run giving the Tide the 13-7 advantage with 1:11 left in the half.
Craig Carrow came through again as he returned the ball to the Rams 48 yard line. Johnsonburg took full advantage of the great field position and successfully drove the ball down field for a score in a 9 play 52 yard push down the field in just 1:10 that ended with a Zach Padasak to Ren Yonkers play from the 3 yard line. Trey Dececchis put the ball between the uprights bringing the Rams back into the lead 14-13 with :01 left in the half.
After half time the Rams came back on the field with another great kick return bringing the ball back to the Johnsonburg 45 yard line. In true Rams fashion, the Zach Padasak/Zane Zelehoski combination brought the ball down field. The Rams finished the drive with a 33 yard run to the end zone by Zane Zelehoski . Trey Dececchis\’ kick was blocked and the Rams led 20-13.
The Tide would need to step up their defense and stop the Rams running game like they had stopped their passing game. But first the Tide needed to get in the end zone and not allow the Rams to run away in the second half like each of their prior opponents had done.
The Tide met their first challenge head on. Using a wide variety of players to move the ball, the real success of this possession was the David Kalgren keepers and Jed Greslick break aways that set up a Nick Opalisky run in from the 13 yard line. Tide junior Ben McGary took the ball in for a 2 point conversion putting the Tide up 21-20.
Each team would score again before the end of the game. The Rams sent favorite Zane Zelehoski in the end zone from the 2 yard line with 10:23 to go. Adding a good kick the score was 27-21 Rams.
But it was the Tide\’s successful stop of the Rams defense on their next possession and smart use of time that ran the clock down to under a minute as they were back in scoring position.
With 4:08 to go after stopping the Rams, the punt bounced in favor of the Tide at their 39 yard line. With a slow march down the field the Tide ate up the clock assuring that the Rams would not have time for a last strike at the end zone. Nearing the end zone with :28 to go, David Kalgren connected with Jesse Hoover, recovering the ball after a bobble near the side line, to place the ball at the 1 yard line with :23 to go.
David Kalgren, who loves the keeper, followed his offensive line into the end zone tying the score at 27. Weighing the options and Jesse Hoover\’s extra point attempt record, Tide head coach Andy Evanko decided to go for 2. Kalgren caught the Rams off guard on a second keeper for the 2 point conversion sealing the win for the Tide 29-27 with enough time on the clock for the Rams to run one play after the kick off.
The Rams gave the flea flicker play a chance, but the ball was batted down by Jed Greslick with :01 left in the game. A last pass attempt to get the ball to Ren Yonker was intercepted by Jed Greslick, yet he was called for pass interference. With a chance for a last play from their 40 yard line, the Zack Padasak attempted pass was batted down leaving the Golden Tide with their first victory of the 2007 season.
Overcoming their tendency to shoot themselves in the foot, curbing turn overs and stopping the opposing weapons with an improved defense, the Tide (1-4) celebrated a 29-27 win over the Johnsonburg Rams(1-4).
The Tide travel to Kane to take on the undefeated Wolves at Paul R. Miller Stadium at 7:00 pm.