CURWENSVILLE – The Curwensville Golden Tide football team is no stranger to postseason play, and on Friday the Tide find themselves playing in the first round of the District 9 Class A playoffs.
Curwensville is the fourth seed in the playoffs, which was acquired after multiple tiebreakers were used as the Tide, Coudersport and Redbank Valley all finished with the same power point total of 640.
Speaking of the Coudersport Falcons, an old nemesis of the Tide, they are the opening round opponent and will travel to Curwensville for the 7:00 pm kickoff on Friday at Riverside Stadium.
The Falcons lead the all-time series, having won 13 of 20 battles against the Golden Tide. Seven of those games have been played under some type of playoff atmosphere, either in the District 9 tournament (five times) or the Allegheny Mountain League (AML) championship game (twice).
It should also be noted that the Tide have never defeated Coudersport in the five District 9 postseason games, losing in the finals in 2001 (18-13) and in 2006 (48-21).
The Falcons’ other three District 9 tournament wins came in 2005 (28-26), 2009 (28-2) and in 2011 (28-27).
The two squads have split the two AML championship battles, with Curwensville winning in 2004 (26-14) and Coudersport coming out on top in 2006 (14-6).
Recent history, however, shows Curwensville winning the last four games of the series and in 2015 blanked the Falcons 35-0.
The two squads have identical 5-4 records heading into Friday’s game.
Curwensville and Coudersport have defeated five common opponents this season – Cameron County, Bradford, Smethport, Port Allegany and Sheffield.
They both have lost to three common foes as well – Kane, Elk County Catholic and Ridgway.
The Tide lost to Brockway and the Falcons were beaten by Otto-Eldred in non-common opponent battles.
On offense the Falcons are led by senior signal caller Aaron Wolfinger who accumulated 1,129 yards through the air and rushed for another 213. Wolfinger tossed 14 touchdown passes and scored three times on the ground while throwing 13 interceptions.
The ground attack for Coudersport features Brock Wilson, a senior, with 531 yards and seven trips to the end zone.
Junior Jared Green backs up the Falcon running game with 257 yards rushing and four TD’s.
Green is also the leading receiver for Coudersport hauling in 27 receptions good for 502 yards and another seven touchdowns.
Other top receivers are junior David Burd with 14 catches and four scores, and Derek Keglovits, another junior, adding 12 receptions and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Green tops Coudersport with 84 total tackles followed by Wolfinger and Wilson, each with 61.
Burd leads the Falcons with two interceptions and sophomore Elijah Ayers has come up with five sacks.
Ben Cary is the second year head coach at Coudersport with an overall record of 10-9.
The Golden Tide offense starts with junior running back Nick Stewart who has rushed for 1,732 yards and 22 trips to the end zone. Stewart, in his third year, has over 5,000 career yards rushing.
Kaleb Witherite, a Tide senior, has provided his own mark to the running game, complementing Stewart with 302 yards on the ground and five TD’s.
Junior quarterback Bryce Timko has thrown for 409 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions.
Curwensville has a trio of receivers who have been favorite targets for Timko led by senior Zach Marshall with nine receptions for 199 yards and two trips to the end zone.
Stewart, coming out of the backfield, has the most catches with 10, good for 156 yards and one score, while Eli Jacobs, another senior, has caught nine passes accounting for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
Another, sometimes overlooked offensive weapon is sophomore place kicker Madison Weber, who has connected on 21 of 24 PAT attempts.
On the defensive side, junior Matt Carter leads the Tide with 52 total tackles with Jacobs recording 49 and junior Steven McClure adding 45.
Stewart has five sacks and McClure has dumped the quarterback four times.
Sophomore ball hawk Noah Von Gunden leads Curwensville with four interceptions.
Tide veteran head coach Andy Evanko is in his 17th season and has an overall record of 133-55.
One other first round game that will be played on Friday evening in District 9 Class A will be (#7 seed) Otto-Eldred (5-5) at (#2) Clarion-Limestone (7-2), also kicking off at 7 pm.
On Saturday (#6) Redbank Valley (5-4) is at (#3) Elk County Catholic (6-3) with a 4 pm kick-off in St. Mary’s.
Number one seeded Ridgway, (8-2), received a first round bye.
The winner of the Golden Tide-Falcons game will take on Ridgway on either November 11 or 12 at a neutral site yet to be determined.
Listen to the Curwensville – Coudersport contest on WOKW-FM, 102.9, starting with the pre-game show at 6:40 pm.