CURWENSVILLE – Looking at last week’s scoreboard might indicate that the Curwensville Area High School football team is in for a relatively easy contest when it travels to Sheffield for a Saturday afternoon game this week. However, from a coaching point-of-view, the scoreboard doesn’t always tell the whole story.
“They (Sheffield) moved the ball up and down the field last week against Brockway,” said Golden Tide head coach Andy Evanko. “They have a very effective offense that just failed to get into the end zone last week.”
In week one, the Wolverines were handed a 49-21 loss at the hands of Brockway. While the scoreboard didn’t favor Sheffield, their passing game put up some impressive numbers. Quarterback Ian Nearing connected on 11 of 16 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. The Rover defense did pick him off twice to help keep the score one-sided. Nearing is also a threat to run and gained 23 yards in the first week.
Nearing’s favorite target is Nick Bonavita who pulled in five passes for 130 yards against Brockway. The Wolverines proved to have a strong running attack as well led by Kalil Slaughter. Slaughter tallied up 96 yards on the ground to help balance the attack.
“They have an effective passer and a fast runner,” said Evanko. The have a very aggressive attack defense that could give us some trouble as well.”
In the season opener for the Golden Tide, Curwensville tallied 49 points of their own in a 49-26 win over Smethport. As the hosts last week, the Tide spread its offense around very effectively. Quarterbacks Hunter McCracken and Alec Starr combined for 9 of 16 passing for 94 yards. McCracken connected for three touchdowns.
Four receivers were targets for the passing game in week one. Jesse Zorger made two key grabs for 35 yards while Shae Best totaled 34 yards on two catches that included a touchdown. Other scores through the air went to Shane Hoover and Alex Holland.
Holland was the Tide workhorse on the ground carrying tha ball 20 times for 149 yards and two scores. Six other players carried the ball for Curwensville to total the ground game at 195 yards.
Sheffield showed prowess on the defensive side as well as Joe Caruso returned an interception 25 yards for the Wolverines’ first score. The defensive touchdown (in the second half against Brockway) made the score at the time 49-7.
Against Smethport, Curwensville’s special teams had a big night capped by Best’s 88-yard kick-off return. Not to be outdone, Hoover returned a punt for 78 yards.
Despite the offensive output of last week’s game, Coach Evanko is not about to let his team go into this game unprepared.
“This week will just have a different feel to it,” Evanko said, “It’s a Saturday game, in the afternoon, after a long bus ride. We can’t take anything for granted.
“We have to cut down our turnovers (three last week), block better and be more disciplined on defense to cut down the penalties. They’re a more focused team than they have been in the past.”
Kick-off for the game is set in Sheffield for 1:30