CURWENSVILLE – It is a year of adjustment for the Curwensville Area High School football team as Curwensville graduate Jimmy Thompson takes over as head coach.
Longtime head coach Andy Evanko passed away from ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in early June of this year after a courageous battle. Evanko, who became head coach in 2000, had 150 wins that included three District 9 titles – 2000, 2004 and 2010.
Thompson, who played under Evanko, will take on his first ever head coaching job after being an assistant at DuBois Area High School the past few years.
For Thompson, his first year will be one of development as 29 of the 39 players on the 2019 roster are sophomores and freshmen. There are 14 sophomores and 15 freshmen with just four seniors and six juniors who will suit up for this year’s edition of Golden Tide football. Curwensville does however return 13 letter winners from a season ago.
Thompson recently talked about the very young squad, “We will be playing a lot of underclassmen but that won’t be used as an excuse at any time. We also believe that your team leaders can come from any class, not just seniors.”
The Tide offense, which under coach Evanko was run heavy, may see a few changes such as formations, but Thompson has a formula in which he wants to get the ball to his best players to utilize their individual skills.
The first year coach added, “Our formations will look a little different than past years, but we realize that we need to still run the ball on offense to be successful. And of course we must win the battle up front, both offensively and defensively.”
As of now the Tide will start with freshman Daniel McGarry at quarterback with a backfield consisting of junior Duane Brady, senior Zack Holland and sophomores Collin Jacobson, Andrew Freyer and Thad Butler.
Curwensville will come out without, for the most part, a tight end but will look to wideouts Jake McCracken and Michael Lezzer, both juniors, who will be joined by two sophomores in Jacob Mullins and Ty Terry.
Perhaps the most dependable piece of the offense will come from the players up front as all are returning lettermen in juniors Curtis Caldwell, Scott Condon and Jayce Witherite as well as senior Nick Holbert and sophomore Shawn Orcutt.
Of course many of the players listed above will see action on the defensive side of the ball as well.
When asked about team goals and concerns Thompson stated, “We don’t really have any serious concerns at this time. We just want to get better at each practice and every rep our players get. The goal is pretty much the same as Coach Evanko always had, be better today than yesterday.”
Curwensville will open the 2019 season with a road trip to St. Marys on Friday to battle the Crusaders of Elk County Catholic (ECC).
The Tide and Crusaders battled twice in 2018 with ECC winning the home opener for both teams 34-14 before Curwensville shut out Elk County Catholic 26-0 in the quarter-finals of the District 9 “A” playoffs.
Since 1999 the Golden Tide hold a 13-9 edge in the series.
Listen to the Golden Tide-Crusader game on WOKW-FM, 102.9, with the pre-game show starting at 6:45 pm
SENIORS: Benjamin Bumbarger, *Justin Hartman, *Nick Holbert, Zack Holland
JUNIORS: *Duane Brady, *Curtis Caldwell, *Scott Condon, *Michael Lezzer, *Jake McCracken, *Jayce Witherite
SOPHOMORES: Noah Brady, Cael Butler, *Thad Butler, Alan Farley, *Andrew Freyer, Trenton Hipps, Spencer Hoover, *Collin Jacobson, Brennan McCarty, Matt McCracken, *Jacob Mullins, *Shawn Orcutt, Mitchell Sutika, Ty Terry
FRESHMEN: Josh Bloom, Damion Brady, Kaleb Derrick, Chris Fegert, Nick Fegert, Cory Floyd, Ethan Hunt, Chase Irwin, Daniel McGarry, Kaleb Olosky, Carson Spencer, Cooper Spencer, J. D. Strong, Ayden Sutika, Gavin Webber
23 at Elk County Catholic
30 CAMERON COUNTY
6 at Union/AC Valley
13 at Smethport
3 at Redbank Valley – THURSDAY
25 at Brockway – 7:30 pm kick-off
Home games in CAPS. All games start at 7 pm unless otherwise noted.