Brockway Rovers (3-1) at Curwensville Golden Tide (2-2)

Curwensville head coach Andy Evanko said that the schedule for his 2009 Golden Tide football team was brutal.  However, he didn’t expect it to be as brutal as it has been the last two weeks.

Coming off two big wins to start the season, Curwensville has lost two consecutive games to Coudersport and Cameron County.  Now, Evanko must gather his team together for another big showdown this Friday night at Riverside Stadium.  The opposition this week will be the high-powered, no huddle, spread offense of the Brockway Rovers.

This is going to be a true test for the Tide to see what their defense is capable of.  They must face a team that has put up 40-plus points in three of their four previous games.

Brockway’s offense is all about spreading the ball out and keeping the defense on the field, giving them little time to breathe.  Last year, Curwensville was able to tame the Rovers as they won the match-up 42-27.  A big part of that game was the play of then-quarterback David Kalgren, who went an impressive 10 of 16 for 141 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Not to be outdone, The Curwensville running attack tore apart the Brockway defense, as Jed Greslick rushed for a season-high 211 yards and three touchdowns, while Ben McGary rushed for 108 yards.

This year, it could be a different story.  Curwensville is coming off their toughest loss of the year at the hands of the Cameron County Red Raiders.  After erasing a 12-point deficit, the Tide took the game into overtime and nearly pulled off an incredible upset.  However, two blocked extra points came back to hurt the Tide, as in overtime Hunter Bardo scored the tying touchdown and followed up by kicking the winning extra point to give The Red Raiders the 19-18 victory.

Still, Curwensville put up their best performance of the season that night.  If they are to get back to the winning side, it will take that kind of effort.  Curwensville will have to rely on their ground game to wear out the Brockway defense, but more importantly take time off the clock so the Rover offense can’t take the field.

Greslick and Alex Holland will be the backbone of the ground game once again.  These two have combined for 695 of Curwensville’s 909 rushing yards this season, so watch for them to once again carry the load for the Tide.

Most important for Curwensville is they need to shut down the Brockway passing game.  Brockway’s quarterback, sophomore Derek Buganza, was named the RRR Roadhouse Player of the Week by for his performance last week in a 74-28 rout of the Otto-Eldred Terrors.

Buganza earned that honor by going 33 of 45 for 594 yards, a new state record, and six touchdowns.  Four of those scores went to wide receiver Mike Vervoort, who ended the night with nine catches for 175 yards.

This is an offense that will spread the ball often, and will do so in quick fashion.  If Curwensville is to come away with a victory, Evanko’s team will have to shut down Buganza and the rest of the passing game.

There is no question that this is a very critical game for Curwensville.  A win will certainly give them some momentum heading into the second half of the season.  A loss could put them really behind in the District 9 standings.  It is certainly going to be interesting.

Kickoff between Brockway and Curwensville is set for 7 p.m. at Riverside Stadium.

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