CURWENSVILLE — After two weeks of long road trips, the Curwensville Golden Tide made their first appearance in front of their home crowd on Friday night. After two wins on the road, the Tide were looking to build on the momentum as they welcomed in the Coudersport Falcons.
However, the Falcons spoiled the Tide’s return to Riverside Stadium. A combination of turnovers and penalties were too much for Curwensville to overcome as the Tide lost their first game of the year, 23-6.
“We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” head coach Andy Evanko said in the locker room. “We had the opportunities all night, but could not capitalize.”
Offensively, the Tide played well. Running back Jed Greslick gained 80 yards on the ground on 19 carries with a touchdown, while quarterback Sam Gardner threw for 78 yards. What hurt the Tide the most were the turnovers. Greslick fumbled the ball on two occasions while Gardner threw one interception.
Both teams exchanged punts to start out the game, however it was Coudersport who got the first long drive of the night. Starting at their own 38 yard-line, the Falcons drove down to the Tide four, only to have the defense hold strong and prevent a touchdown. Cooper Bonczar did put a 21-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Falcons the early 3-0 lead.
“I think our defense played very well the entire game,” Evanko said.
The ensuing possession for the Tide started with great field position at the Falcon 47. After two strong runs by Greslick, they moved the ball down to the 22. However, on a 1st and 10, Greslick had the ball stripped from his hands, and Coudersport fell on the ball at their own 16, yielding the first turnover of the night.
The Falcons would take over with just over a minute left in the first quarter and drove the ball to the Tide 44. However, a great stand by the Curwensville defense pushed Coudersport back to their own 36 yard-line, forcing a punt.
The Tide could still not get anything going as they were forced to punt on their next possession, giving the Falcons the ball on the Tide 47. Six plays later, Mitch Freeman punched the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. Bonzar’s kick was blocked, and the score was left 9-0 heading into halftime.
The Tide got the ball first to start the second half, but once again were forced to punt as they failed to get past mid field. On the Falcons\’ first possession of the third quarter, they started at their own 24 but drove the ball right down the field with the run game, getting to the Tide 19 yard-line. However, on 1st and 10, quarterback Tim McCusker fumbled the snap, and the Tide fell on the ball.
Unfortunately, Curwensville went three-and-out on their possession and had to punt the ball back to the Falcons.
Coudersport got the ball at their own 35 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter, and then started the signature drive of the game. The Falcons used the run game to wear down the Tide defense, but it was the pass plays that caught caught the Tide off guard. On a 3rd and 6, McCusker connected with Kevin Wolfinger, giving them a 1st and 10 on the Tide 38.
Coudersport would drive the ball to the Tide five yard line but the defense again stood tall, forcing a 4th and goal. Unlike the first quarter, the Falcons elected to go for it. Using a play action pass, McCusker found Wolfinger again along the right sideline in the end zone, culminating the long drive. McCusker would connect with Jordan Barnett for the two-point conversion, giving Coudersport a 17-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
Curwensville would get the ball back at their own 28 and were able to gain 21 yards on the ground with Greslick’s running. On first down Gardner went with play action over the middle, looking for Daniel Hess. However, linebacker Chris Symans was able to intercept the ball and gave the Falcons the ball at their own 45 yard-line.
Both teams exchanged punts over the next two possessions, but the Falcons would put the game away late in the fourth quarter as Freeman scored his second touchdown of the game. The extra point was again blocked, giving the Falcons a 23-0 lead.
Curwensville’s lone score came right when time expired as Greslick broke a 54-yard run up the middle.
After the game, Evanko said that he really liked his team’s attitude and that they didn’t quit. But, he said there was a lot of room for improvement.
“We weren’t prepared enough tonight,” said Evanko. “We need to go back and fix our mistakes. We need to stop fumbling the ball and committing penalties.”
Those mistakes will need to be fixed as Curwensville (2-1) are once again on the road next week as they travel to face the Cameron County Red Raiders. Coudersport (2-1) returns home to host the Ridgway Elkers.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th FINAL
Coudersport 3 6 0 14 23
Curwensville 0 0 0 6 6
SCORE BY QUARTERS
FALCONS: 21-yard field goal by Bonczar
FALCONS: 5-yard run by Freeman (Bonczar kick blocked)
FALCONS: 4-yard pass from McCusker to Cowburn (2-point conversion good)
FALCONS: 4-yard run by Freeman (Bonczar kick blocked)
TIDE: 54-yard run by Greslick
FIRST DOWNS: 15 9
RUSH YARDS: 254 125
PASS YARDS: 78 88
TOTAL YARDS: 332 213
PENALTIES: 7 6
PENALTY YARDS: 69 38
COMP/ATT/TD/INT: 7/8/1/0 6/15/0/1
FUMBLES: 2 2
FUMBLES LOST: 1 2
TIME OF POSSESSION: 27:38 20:22
COUDERSPORT: Freeman-19 carries, 80 yards, 2 TD; Barnett-10 carries, 92 yards; Hayes-5 carries, 25 yards
CURWENSVILLE: Greslick-14 carries, 80 yards, TD; Holland-8 carries, 30 yards
COUDERSPORT: McCusker-7 for 8, 78 yards, TD, 0 INT
CURWENSVILLE: Gardner-6 for 15, 88 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
COUDERSPORT: Wolfinger-4 catches, 28 yards, TD; Cowburn-2 catches, 31 yards; Barnett-1 catch, 12 yards
CURWENSVILLE: Tubbs-3 catches, 28 yards; Hess-2 catches, 35 yards, Best-1 catch, 5 yards