CURWENSVILLE – In a year unlike any other in American history, high school football season in Pennsylvania and across the country will be played under a cloud of a Pandemic called COVID-19.
Health and safety procedures have been put in place to ensure the well-being of all involved in athletics in all sports until further notice.
The Curwensville Golden Tide Area High School are set to open its season Friday, on the road against Redbank Valley, as second year head coach Jimmy Thompson is eager and anxious to make his first season in 2019 just a bad memory as the Tide finished 1-8.
Curwensville does return 15 letter winners from last season, a fact immediately recognized by coach Thompson, saying, “We bring back a lot of letter winners on both sides of the ball, losing only two full time starters on offense and another three on our defense from last year. That is good because now we have a lots of guys that have experience. These veteran guys have really trained hard this past off-season and also have turned into great leaders for our younger guys.”
Sophomore Danny McGarry returns as the quarterback on the Golden Tide offense and has running backs Duane Brady, Thad Butler and sophomore Chase Irwin in the backfield. Brady is a senior, while Butler is entering his junior season.
There possibly will be six wide receivers utilized this season by Thompson with four being juniors in Jake Mullins, Ty Terry, Andrew Freyer and Collin Jacobson. Senior Michael Lezzer and sophomore Nik Fegert are the other two wide outs that Thompson will have to count on in the passing game.
The Curwensville offensive line is anchored by centers Alan Farley, a junior, and sophomore Josh Bloom with the tackles being senior Scott Condon along with Brennen Moore and Trenton Hipps. Moore and Hipps are juniors.
As of now seniors Jayce Witherite and Curtis Caldwell are the starting guards for the Tide. Junior Shawn Orcutt will also see playing time along the offensive front.
Of the 35 players listed on the opening night roster there are just five seniors, all returning lettermen, but out of the 11 juniors on the squad seven of those won letters last season, a fact not lost on Coach Thompson commenting, “Our older players understand our high expectations and they have helped us the teach our younger guys. We spend lots of time with our leaders and try to help them take more ownership in the program.”
Defensively, the Tide, will rotate in eight players up front that include Condon, Hipps and Carson and Cooper Spencer, both sophomores, at defensive end. On the interior Curwensville will have Caldwell, Witherite, Orcutt and Matt McCracken, a junior.
Backing up the defensive front are linebackers Brady and Irwin while patrolling the secondary will be Jacobson, Fegert, Freyer, Butler and Terry.
The kicking duties will once again be the responsibility of Mullins.
Thompson added, “Our expectations are to get better each day at practice and to get better each week of the season. The team leaders met this off-season and set the goal of making the playoffs so we have invested a lot of time to make that goal a possibility.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Curwensville is scheduled to play a nine game season that includes playing just five teams. The Tide will have a home and away series against four other squads in Redbank Valley, Sheffield, Union/AC Valley and Keystone. Brockway will host Curwensville in the middle of the season in their lone contest for 2020.
Listen to Golden Tide football, as always, live on WOKW-FM, 102.9, as the first game scheduled for Friday is between the Tide and Redbank Valley. Last year, the Bulldogs shutout the Golden Tide 39-0 on their way to a 9-3 season.
The pre-game show begins at 6:45 pm with kick-off set for 7 pm.
SENIORS: *Duane Brady, *Curtis Caldwell, *Scott Condon, *Michael Lezzer, *Jayce Witherite
JUNIORS: *Thad Butler, Alan Farley, *Andrew Freyer, Trenton Hipps, *Collin Jacobson, Brennan Moore,
Matt McCracken, *Jake Mullins, *Shawn Orcutt, *Mitchell Sutika, *Ty Terry
SOPHOMORES: *Josh Bloom, Damion Brady, *Nik Fegert, Chase Irwin, *Danny McGarry, Carson Spencer, Cooper Spencer
FRESHMEN: Jarrett Anderson, Dom Carfley, Trenton Clyde, Trenton Guiher, Dylan Henry, Braden Holland,
Grady Hoyt, Keegan O’Shenic, Alex Shaffer, Ethan Siegel, Parker Swatswoth, Blaine Witherite
SEPTEMBER: 11 at Redbank Valley, 18 SHEFFIELD, 25 at Union/AC Valley
OCTOBER: 2 KEYSTONE, 9 at Brockway, 16 REDBANK VALLEY, 24 at Sheffield (Sat at 1:30 pm), 30 UNION/AC VALLEY
NOVEMBER: 6 at Keystone
Home games in CAPS. All games start at 7 pm unless otherwise noted.