ST. MARYS — For the second straight week the Curwensville Area High School football team rushed for over 400 yards against teams who were looking to stay atop of the Allegheny Mountain League South Division. The Golden Tide completely dominated Elk County Catholic 38-6 to continue to heat up as the weather starts to cool down.
“We came out for the second week in a row and played very well in adverse conditions against quality football teams,” pointed out Tide head coach Andy Evanko. “The kids are starting to feel that this is their kind of weather. I’m glad to see them embrace the situation, and they were really fun to watch tonight.”
It didn’t take long for the tone of the game as the Crusaders’ opening drive faltered. ECC gained 38 yards on its first seven plays – the eighth play was a pass. Sitting on a third down and nine, quarterback Mitchell Vallone looked to throw to the left. Curwensville sophomore Kyle Johns timed the pass perfectly to step in and stop the drive and set up his offense at their own 40-yard line.
Three plays after the interception, Alex Holland followed his blockers to free space and a 49-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 score at the 6:38 mark of the first quarter.
“ECC has a scary offense with a very balanced attack, but coach Folmar set up the defense perfectly and Kyle Johns made a great play,” said Evanko. “This was a big win for us and the offensive line played a tremendous game. I can’t say enough about how well they dominated the trenches.”
Curwensville’s defense stopped the Crusaders on a fourth down play in their next series at their own 26 again. Methodically, the offense pushed the ball down field with Holland and fullback Brad Coudriet running the ball for steady gains to the ECC 33-yard line.
On a second down and five play, Coach Evenko and his staff caught everyone in the stadium off guard as he dialed up a pass play on the cold, damp, muddy evening. Quarterback Hunter McCracken found fellow junior Jordan Russell alone on the left side, and Russell side-stepped his defender and outran everyone for the score. McCracken pushed the score to 14-0 as his keeper to the right was good for the two-point conversion.
“We got a dry ball, and a nice spot on the field where the ball wasn’t coming up slippery and wet,” said Evanko. “Jordan is really an underrated receiver who can fly down that sideline. His touchdown really opened up the offense.”
The Tide defense grew very stingy on the momentum of the score and shut down the Crusaders through the rest of the first half. The only thing that seemed able to stop the visitors was themselves – a fumble on a short pass play momentarily kept them from scoring.
However, Holland and his line pushed the ball into the end zone one more time before the half was over. The 51-yard drive featured Holland exclusively and finished with a 4-yard plunge. His trot for two set the half time margin art 22-0.
When Curwensville came out of the locker room, everyone was rested and ready to make a statement. starting on the team’s 35-yard line, Holland reaped the benefit of following the blockers on 10 straight rushing plays. At the 7:43 mark of the third quarter, an 11-yard gain capped the drive. Coudriet took his turn at the 2-point PAT and raised the mark to 30-0.
The only flaw on the Curwensville evening came quickly after the Tide score. After the ensuing kick off, ECC needed just three plays to cover 57 yards. Brock McCullough scampered for a 33-yard gain before a 22-yard scoring jaunt by Cole Gerber at the 6:34 mark of the third quarter. The extra-point try was shut down by the guests and the score stood at 30-6.
Curwensville’s offensive line continued to wear down the Crusaders, and the following drive resulted in the final score of the game. Holland and Coudriet took turns using the strong blocking of Seth Michaels, Todd Munchak, Chad Desmett, Bradd Stubbs, Spencer Smeal, Jason Bloom, Philip McCracken and Jesse Zorger. Coudriet got the call on a 4-yard dive at the 1:30 point for the score. Holland tip-toed in untouched for the PAT to end the scoring at 38-6.
“You always want to peak as the season progresses and it’s nice to see this team peaking against a quality football team. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with this performance,” beamed Evanko. “We’re just so blessed with so many guys who can play, and we’ve been trying to find the right fit at the right time. We’re just fortunate that we have 40 guys who can do the job.”
Holland finished the night with 312 yards on 41 carries while Coudriet added 54 yards on eight totes and Josh Greslick posted 42 yards in his eight tries. McCracken connected on two passes in three attempts for 36 yards, which included Russell’s 33-yard TD catch and run.
Curwensville and Brockway remain at the top of the AML-South with 6-2 records. Brockway received a forfreit from Johnsonburg on Friday. Injuries and illness Kept Rams off the field this week, but they do expect to travel to Curwensville next Friday.
Other games of interest on Friday saw Ridgway defeat Kane 14-0. The Tide will be looking to Kane to knock off Brockway next week to aid in playing for the AML Championship. Coudersport remained unbeaten with a 35-26 win over Otto-Eldred last night.
Curwensville will host Johnsonburg next week at Riverside Stadium with a 7:00 p.m. kick-off set.
Score by Quarters
Curwensville – 6 16 16 0 – 38
Ridgway- 0 0 6 0 – 6
Curwensville: 49-yard run by Holland (kick failed), 6:38
Curwensville: 33-yard pass from McCracken to Russell (McCracken run), 09:41
Curwensville: 4-yard run by Holland (Holland run), 01:10
Curwensville: 11-yard run by Holland (Coudriet run), 07:43
Elk County Catholic: 22-yard run by Gerber (run failed), 06:34
Curwensville: 4-yard run by Coudriet (Holland run), 01:30
Curwensville / Elk County Catholic
FIRST DOWNS: 22 / 7
RUSH YARDS: 406 / 167
PASS YARDS: 36 / 0
TOTAL YARDS: 442 / 167
PENALTIES: 3 / 1
PENALTY YARDS: 20 / 5
COMP/ATT/TD/INT: 2-3-1-0 / 0-5-0-1
FUMBLES: 2 / 0
FUMBLES LOST: 2 / 0
CURWENSVILLE: Holland-41 carries, 312 yards, 3 TD’s; Coudriet-8 carries, 54 yards, TD; Gresslick-8 carries, 42 yards; Olson-1 carries, 8 yards; Stiles-1 carry, 0 yards; Kyle Billings-1 carry, (-1) yard; Team-2 carries, (-9) yards; TOTALS: 62 carries, 406 yards, 4 TD’s.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC: Gerber-18 carries, 116 yards, TD; McCullough-8 carries, 38 yards; Vallone-2 carries, 4 yards; Erich-1 carry, 6 yards; Cappiello-1 carry, 1 yard; Cortina-1 carry, 2 yards; TOTALS: 31 carries, 169 yards, TD.
CURWENSVILLE: McCracken – 3 attempts, 2 completions, 39 yards, 1 touchdown.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC: Vallone- 5 attempts, 0 completions, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception.
CURWENSVILLE: Zorger – 1 reception , 6 yards; Russell-1 reception, 33 yards, TD; TOTALS. 2 receptions, 39 yards, TD.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC: None.