CURWENSVILLE – Curwensville Area High School football coach Andy Evanko and his staff had to be a little concerned while viewing opposing team game film this past week. The film in the machine was showing the Golden Tide’s next two match-ups in Kane and Brockway which produced a total of 92 points between the two teams last week.
Brockway was able to hold off the Wolves by a 50-42 final, but Kane never made the game easy for the Rovers. Brockway never trailed in the contest, but needed a last second field goal to break a 21-21 tie before half-time.
“We were counting on Kane as one of the better teams in our division along with Elk County and Brockway,” noted Evanko. “It’s interesting to see things unfold they way you expected in the pre-season. You don’t always want to be right, but it’s happening, and it’s a little scary.”
The Wolves seem to be part of the “trickle,” as Evanko noted last week, of new passing teams that are emerging into the Allegheny Mountain league. Against Brockway, quarterback Sean Jordan threw for three touchdowns on a 14-for-23 evening for 217 total yards.
“Normally, when you played Kane, it was sweep, sweep, sweep,” Evanko reminisced. “But Jordan was a decent quarterback last year and he’s even better this year. He has the ability to pass and run, and that makes Kane a scary team.”
Jordan used multiple receivers for his scores. The longest pass play of the night was a 69-yard connection to speedster Jonah Smith. Tyler Ennis scored from 17 yards out while Jeff Kocjancic pulled in a 3-yard toss.
Smith, who rushed for 115 yards against the Rovers on 16 carries, also carried in a score from four yards. Sean Rollick broke the endzone initially for the Wolves with a 98-yard kickoff return. Rollick helped set up the offense with good field position the entire game with his return yardage.
“Last year Kane had about three total seniors and were very competitive,” said Evanko. “We were looking for them to be one of the better teams in the league along with Elk County and Brockway. To be in a slugfest with Brockway and almost pull out a win is a huge accomplishment.”
Curwensville will look to a very active defense to try to slow down the Wolves. The Tide defense will be looking to put pressure on Jordan in the backfield by adding to their sack total. Five different Golden Tide rushers have wrapped up quarterbacks – Brad Coudriet, Austin Jacobson, Ricky Magnuson, Spencer Smeal and Jonathan Miller. Jake Stiles leads the team in tackles with 22 with Coudriet and Brad Stubbs adding 17, Smeal 14, Magnuson 13, Miller and Josh Greslick 12, Bryce McClure 11 and Jacobson with 10.
That strong pursuit of a multitude of tacklers has been complimented by 13 take-aways on defense as well. The Tide have recovered 10 fumbles from their opponents and have picked off three passes. Stiles and Stubbs have fallen on two loose balls while Stiles, Hunter McCracken and Kyle Billings have all stepped in front of stray passes.
The only aspect of the swarming defense that will be missed this week is senior end Brad Stubbs who is serving a one-game suspension as a result of being ejected last week.
“It’s a big loss, but we’ve been able to plug in other players to find the best fit this week.” said Evanko. “We can’t dwell on it, and, like we mentioned last week, we know Brad will be back next week ready to play.”
As tough as the defense has been, it’s hard to be successful if your offense doesn’t respond to the advantages given. Curwensville’s offense has been equally impressive in the first games of the season. The Tide has turned in a total of 1,778 total yards of offense so far to help post their 4-0 record.
Greslick has been the team’s top yardage gainer to date with 548 yards on 81 jaunts. He also shares the touchdown mark with Zach Tibbens and the passing connection of McCracken and Jordan Russell with five each. Tibbens has carried the ball 71 times for 508 yards. McCracken has thrown completions in 24-of-36 attempts for 382 total yards while Russell has pulled in 20 of those passes for 358 yards. Greslick has two receptions for 23 yards on the season.
The fullback position has also been effective on the ground with the tandem of Coudriet and Alex Olson pounding out 276 yards as well. Coudriet has scored four times as part of his 111 yards and Olsen has three touchdowns among his 165 yards.
Curwensville remains as one of three undefeated teams in the AML-South Division, but may have the toughest opponent of the three on the week. Brockway (4-0) will be on the road at Ridgway (1-3) on Friday night while Elk County Catholic (4-0) travels to Johnsonburg (1-3). In the North Division, Port Alegany is the lone unbeaten squad as no other member of the league has more than two victories.
The premiere game in the AML this week is set for kick-off at Riverside Stadium at 7:00 p.m.