CURWENSVILLE – The Curwensville Area High School football team needs to take care of the business at hand and look for a little help from their foes in the next few weeks. Currently in a three-way tie for second place in the AML-South Division, Curwensville must first take care of Ridgway (4-2) on Friday night and look to Brockway (4-2) to knock off Elk County Catholic (5-1) to have an outside chance for an AML Championship game.
With AML-South teams very evenly matched on the season, plenty of things are possible, but the most immediate aspect of the season for the Golden Tide is to focus on getting back into the win column after an emotional 17-12 loss to Brockway last week.
“We never want to lose a game,” said Tide head coach Andy Evanko. “But, last week wasn’t a loss that will keep us off the field this week. It wasn’t a playoff game where the season is over. We have to pick ourselves up and go on from there.”
One factor that might be in Curwensville’s favor is the fact that they have now had two weeks to prepare for the split-wing offense. Second-year head coach Mark Heindl has done a good job implementing Ridgway’s offensive strategy and has completely turned around his team from a year ago.
“They (Ridgway) run the ball very effectively and have a quarterback with a decent arm to keep you off balance,” Evanko said of this week’s opponent. “If we don’t do the job defensively, it could be a long night.”
The Elkers’ senior signal caller has found his receivers 25-of-56 times this year for 466 yards and has thrown five touchdowns – including two last week in a 39-0 rout over win-less Johnsonburg. Seniors Eric Matheson (out of the backfield) and Aaron Sorge (at split-end) are the targets to watch most with 228 and 172 yards in receptions thus far. Matheson, however, is also the leading rusher with 376 yards on 60 carries including six touchdowns. Sophomore fullback Sam Delhunty has powered the ball 76 times for 341 yards and two scores. The Elkers also have three other backs with 100 yards or more on the season to give defenses more to worry about on every down.
“There’s no doubt that their offense can give you a problem,” Evanko warned. “We just have to have everyone doing their job, and we have to have everyone break down before they tackle, stay under control and see the runner.”
Curwensville tacklers seemed to have a hard time last week keeping containment on Brockway QB Kyle Braun. When Braun appeared to be in the most trouble behind the line, he seemed to convert his biggest plays and finished the game with 165 rushing yards.
“We’ve got to get better as a team,”Evanko said. “It’s not just one thing or another, it’s everything.”
The Golden Tide may continue to look to an improving passing attack to aid its offense. Junior Hunter McCracken finished last week’s game 12-24 for 127 yards – much of that when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter. Making key connections early in the game would allow the Tide to open up its offense. McCracken’s total now stands at 598 yards on the campaign with four TD passes and six interceptions. Senior wide-out Jesse Zorger has caught all four of the aerial scores and has totaled 386 yards on 20 grabs. Jordan Russell, who was very active last week, now has 13 receptions for 177 yards.
Those reception opportunities can only help Curwensville’s already strong running attack. Senior running back Alex Holland piled up 210 yards in last week’s loss – 76 yards came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half for a touchdown. Holland has 1339 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season on 178 touches. Josh Greslick and Brad Coudriet have also moved the ball well on the ground on their opportunities.
The Golden Tide will look to run on all cylinders as the thinking on the season seems to be to take care of their own business and let the season play out as it will.
“Ridgway is going to be very excited – it’s Senior Night,” Evanko noted. “We’re going to be walking into a snake pit and simply have to play big in a hostile situation.”
Curwensville will travel to Ridgway for a 7:00 p.m. kick-off on Friday night.
|09/02||@ Smethport||53 – 33||1 – 0|
|09/09||SHEFFIELD||37 – 0||2 – 0|
|09/17||@ Port Allegany||13 – 35||2 – 1|
|09/23||@ Otto-Eldred||60 – 7||3 – 1|
|09/30||KANE||13 – 7||4 – 1|
|10/07||BROCKWAY||12 – 17||4 – 2|
|10/21||@ Elk County Catholic|