Evanko gets 100th win as Tide top Raiders|
Saturday, September 08, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - It's no secret that the Curwensville football team's bread-and-butter on offense under head coach Andy Evanko is and always has been its smashmouth running game.
And while the Golden Tide did rack up 352 yards on the ground Friday night against Cameron County, it was Curwensville's aerial attack that shined in a high-scoring first half on the way to a 46-20 win - the 100th for Evanko in his 13th year at the helm.
Curwensville quarterback Hunter McCracken completed five of his eight pass attempts for 114 yards and three touchdowns and scored a 3-yard touchdown on the ground to lead the Tide charge.
Receiver Jordan Russell was on the business end of all five completions, including touchdown grabs of 22, 65 and 16 yards - all in the first half.
"We've been working on that (passing game) a little bit," Evanko said. "When you have a four-year quarterback like Hunter, you just have to use him. And Jordan is an exceptional athlete. Our wide receivers can catch the football.
"They were giving us a few things and our philosophy is what they're giving us, we're taking. We're going to have to be very diversified."
"We normally have that running game going, but we can run the passing game, too," Russell said. "It's a threat with all three receivers, (Tyler) Johns, (Nate) Kurtz and me. We pulled it out tonight and it worked pretty well.
In addition to McCracken's 114 yards passing in the first half, Tide running backs Zach Tibbens and Josh Greslick each rushed the ball 10 times, and each gained 102 yards.
"That's what we want to do," Evanko said. "We want to move the ball around and make everyone guess where it's going."
Greslick ended the contest with 161 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while Tibbens picked up 142 yards and two scores on 16 runs.
And all that helped Evanko reach his milestone 100th win against just 37 losses.
"What it does show is that we've had some great football players here in the last 10-15 years, and there have been some great assistant coaches who have spent an awful lot of time with all those great players," he said.
"We have a very good administration here and a school board that really supports us. And then something that is really outstanding is the community. You come in tonight and the stands are packed. It's just a fantastic place. Everybody comes out for Golden Tide football."
It didn't take the Tide long to jump on top as Nathan Wriglesworth pounced on a loose football at the Red Raider 22-yard line on Cameron County's first play of the game, and Russell outjumped a defender on the very next play to haul in his first touchdown pass just 19 seconds in.
"That was huge to get a turnover like that right away and within 20 seconds we're on the board," Evanko said. "That's big. That's just big. Get a big turnover and jump out on top ... that's exactly what you want to do."
Curwensville scored again with 3:43 left in the first as back-to-back 20-yard runs from Tibbens capped a 3-play 40-yard drive that was set up by a Jake B. Stiles interception.
After a three-and-out for the Red Raiders, Curwensville took over on its own 34-yard line following a 30-yard punt.
Two plays later, McCracken hit a streaking Russell down the sideline in front of the Cameron County bench in stride for a picture-perfect 65-yard catch-and-run. Russell had at least four steps on the defender and was wide-open on the play.
After Curwensville's third missed conversion of the night, it held an 18-0 advantage.
"I made the first move and then I turned the burners on," Russell said. "But you have to give all the credit to Hunter. He's got the hard part. Throwing the ball downfield to me is the only way I get touchdowns."
"Russell always gets an awesome break on the ball," McCracken said. "It's pretty much throw it up and let him go get it. I pretty much know about where he's going to be. And I had plenty of time. The pass-blocking was good tonight."
Cameron County got on the board with 8:56 left in the second quarter after Curwensville muffed a punt, giving the visitors prime field position at the Tide 17.
Raider quarterback Tucker Britton found Devin Mason in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass and Cameron County's 2-point conversion failed.
The Tide wasted little time getting the points back, needing just two plays to go 57 yards.
Greslick's 50-yard burst came just 57 seconds after Cameron County's score and gave the Tide a 24-6 advantage.
Another mistake on special teams by the Tide gave Cameron County a short field again. This time a high snap on a punt resulted in the Raiders taking over on the Curwensville 20.
Britton scored on an 18-yard run three plays later to pull the Raiders back to a 24-12 deficit.
"The snap over the head, the dropped punt ... no matter what, if you play a great game and score a lot of points, you still come out with something to work on," Evanko said. "So there are definitely things we have to improve on."
Undaunted, the Tide started their next series at the 22-yard line and marched 78 yards in nine plays.
McCracken hit Russell for a 16-yard score with 41 seconds left on the clock, and Brad Coudriet ran in the 2-point conversion to give Curwensville a 32-12 lead at the break.
"Hunter's a heck of a quarterback," Evanko said. "He throws a great ball. All night long, he was right on the money with everything he threw. He's playing huge for us. When you can throw for big yardage and score some touchdowns, that's really nice. That really helps the running game."
And it was the running game that took center stage in the second half.
Curwensville got the ball first and easily moved the length of the field in seven plays - all runs.
Greslick picked up 38 of the 73 yards in the drive on one play, and Tibbens finished things off with a 16-yard score. Tibbens also ran in the 2-point conversion to make the score, 40-12.
The Tide's next possession was another long drive, covering 45 yards in 10 running plays. The last was a 3-yard plunge from McCracken seven seconds into the fourth quarter, giving Curwensville a very comfortable, 46-12 advantage.
The first two Curwensville drives in the second half covered 118 yards - all on the ground - and ran nearly 11 minutes off the clock.
"That's who we are, and that's what we wanted to do," Evanko said. "We wanted to get the clock moving and we wanted to put points on the board. That's us. That's who we are."
Cameron County finished off the scoring with 5:49 left in the game, getting a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eric Spehalski to Hunter Prosper.
After the game, Evanko was presented with a plaque commemorating his 100th win and took photos with his team near midfield. A large group of former Tide players joined the current team and Evanko on the field to help celebrate the milestone.
"There was a lot of pride for us to be out there with coach Evanko," Russell said. "It was really special for us as a senior class."
"It's great," McCracken said. "I've been playing for four years now and it's kind of neat that we were on the team when he got his 100th win."
Curwensville, which improved to 2-0, is back in action Friday, playing host to Smethport.
EXTRA POINTS: Curwensville amassed 466 yards of total offense, while limiting Cameron County to just 125. The Golden Tide also picked up 20 first downs to the Red Raiders seven ... Alex Olson rushed for 48 yards on five carries, all in the second half ... Both teams lost two fumbles.
Cameron County 20
Score By Quarters
Cameron County 0 12 0 8-20
Curwensville 18 14 8 6-46
CU-Russell 22 pass from H. McCracken, (conversion failed), 11:41.
CU-Tibbens 20 run, (pass failed), 3:43.
CU-Russell 65 pass from H. McCracken, (kick failed), 1:04.
CC-Mason 6 pass from Britton, (pass failed), 8:56.
CU-Greslick 50 run, (kick blocked), 7:59.
CC-Britton 18 run, (conversion failed), 4:07.
CU-Russell 16 pass from H. McCracken, (B. Coudriet run), 0:41.
CU-Tibbens 16 run, (Tibbens run), 7:58.
CU-H. McCracken 3 run, (run failed), 11:53.
CC-Prosper 13 pass from Spehalski, (Spehalski run), 5:49.
Total First Downs 7 20
Rushes-Yards 32-102 50-352
Comp-Att-Int 3-11-1 5-9-0
Passing Yards 23 114
Total Plays-Yards 43-125 59-466
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-2
Punts-Avg 5-31.4 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-24 3-25
Cameron County-Britton 8-49, Setzer 7-16, Olivett 6-15, Cokely 1-8, Garrigan 3-7, Spehalski 3-6, Horning 1-2, Woloshun 2-1, Lathrop 1-(-2).
Curwensville-Greslick 16-161, Tibbens 16-142, Olson 5-48, Lansberry 1-13, Billings 7-7, B. Coudriet 3-6, H. McCracken 1-3, Team 1-(-28).
Cameron County-Spehalski 1-of-2, 13 yds., 1 TD; Britton 2-of-9, 10 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int.
Curwensville-H. McCracken 5-of-8, 114 yds., 3 TD; Billings 0-of-1.
Cameron County-Prosper 1-13, Mason 1-6, Armstrong 1-4.