McCracken and Russell hook up for two TDs in Tide's victory over Kane|
Saturday, September 29, 2012
By Chris Wechtenhiser For The Progress
CURWENSVILLE - Outside of a couple big plays on special teams, the Curwensville defense put the clamps on Kane's high-powered offense Friday night to help guide the Golden Tide past the Wolves, 36-20, at Riverside Stadium.
Kane, fresh off scoring 40 points and racking up nearly 400 yards last week against undefeated Brockway, found the going tough against the Golden Tide. Curwensville held the Wolves to 147 total yards (74 rushing, 73 passing), including just 57 yards on 12 plays in the first half.
However, Kane used its special teams to aid in all three of its scores to keep itself in the game.
Kane scored its first touchdown, a 35-yard run by Sean Jordan, after a 16-yard return by Jonah Smith on a Tide punt following a bad snap on the play. Kane later made it a one-score game just before the half on an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Sean Rolick.
Curwensville then helped the Wolves to open the second half, trying an onsides kick that didn't go 10 yards and gave Kane another short field to work with.
The Wolves scored seven plays later on a one-yard plunge by Smith to pull within two points (22-20) before the Golden Tide's Zach Tibbens salted the game way with two fourth-quarter touchdowns runs (14 and 43 yards). Tibbens led all rushers with 22 carries for 152 yards and three scores.
Kane's offense posted 79 yards on its two scoring drives, but managed just 68 yards on its other six possessions.
Curwensville's defense picked off Jordan three times in the first half, then racked up all four of its sacks in the second half.
Spencer Smeal, Jake B. Stiles, Jake Kavelak and Nathan Wriglesworth all recorded sacks. Kavelak had a second sack negated by offsetting penalties and also recovered the Wolves' lone fumble in the game late in the fourth quarter. That quartet, along with Brad Coudriet, harassed Jordan and the Kane offense all evening long.
"Our defense came up big when we needed it the most," said Curwensville head coach Andy Evanko. "We're so thrilled with the way the defense is playing.
"Last week we played very well against Johnsonburg, which isn't a bad football team. They play hard, and I think that helped us a little. Then this week, we just seemed to gain momentum and played so well.
"We give up that big long play, and that's something we need to do, stop big plays. Our kickoff team has to play a lot better, and that's something we've been working on."
Curwensville wasted little time opening the scoring, as a 38-yard return by Jordan Russell on the opening kickoff gave Curwensville a short field to work with at the Kane 46. Three runs by Josh Greslick netted 20 yards, and on the ensuing play quarterback Hunter McCracken went to the air for the first time, connecting with Russell for a 26-yard touchdown just 2:01 into the game.
The play marked the third time in five weeks the duo hooked up for a scoring strike in the first 2-plus minutes of the game. Spencer Smeal's extra point made it 7-0.
Curwensville's defense promptly got the offense the ball back when Greslick picked off Jordan on the first play of Kane's next drive.
Greslick, who had 13 carries for 64 yards, entered the game a little banged up and was used primarily on defense in the secondary to help defend the Wolves' passing attack.
McCracken jump-started the Tide's ensuing possession with a 12-yard pass to Nate Kurtz on third-and-10.
A Kane penalty and a seven-yard run by Tibbens gave Curwensville another first down before Russell capped the 12-play scoring drive with a nine-yard pass from McCracken.
Alex Olson's 2-point run made it 15-0 with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
McCracken hit on eight of 13 passes for 87 yards, two TDs while also throwing two picks.
"Hunter and Jordan Russell played big for us in the first half," said Evanko. "They started bringing two guys over to cover those guys, so then it was up to the running game."
Kane quickly found itself in business on its next drive following a 40-yard kickoff return by Rolick to midfield, then a 21-yard run by Rolick. Once again the Tide defense made a big play when Coudriet intercepted Jordan at the Tide 18.
Curwensville couldn't pick up a first down, though, and Austin Jacobson got off a nice 31-yard punt after handling a bouncing snap. Smith fielded the punt near midfield and returned it down to the Tide 33.
Smith then lost two yards on first down before Jordan scampered 35 yards to paydirt 1:15 into the second quarter. Rolick's PAT made it 15-7.
Curwensville responded with one of its signature time-consuming scoring drives, eating up 8:09 on a 16-play, 72-yard possession. The Tide overcame a holding penalty early in the drive then were aided by the Wolves jumping offsides on a fourth-and-2 play at the Curwensville 42.
Russell made two huge catches to extend the drive. His first was for 10 yards on a fourth-and-8 play at midfield, then he made an 11-yard grab on fourth-and-7 at the Wolves 37. Russell had six catches for 60 yards and the two scores.
Tibbens did the rest of the work from there, gaining the final 26 yards on four carries, the last of which was a TD run from nine yards out. Smeal's PAT gave the Tide a 22-7 lead with 2:30 left in the half.
Kane answered right back, however, as Rolick returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to paydirt. Rolick's extra point pulled Kane within eight at 22-14 despite having just over 50 yards of offense in the first half.
The teams traded interceptions in the final 26 seconds with Jacobson's pick coming with no time on the clock to end the half.
Smeal misfired on his onsides kick attempt to open the second half, and the Wolves wasted little time capitalizing with a seven-play, 44-yard scoring drive.
Smith ended the possession with a one-yard plunge. Kane went for two in an attempt to tie the game, but Wriglesworth pressured Jordan into an incompletion to maintain the Tide's two-point lead (22-20).
Kane's defense then made a huge play when Jeff Kocjancic picked off McCracken and returned the ball to the Tide 23. Kane drove down to the 6-yard line on five plays, but Smeal came up with a huge sack for a loss of 11 yards on second-and-goal. Curwensville forced an incompletion before Rolick missed a 33-yard field goal attempt.
The missed kick was the last time Kane threatened to score in the game.
"The goal-line stand down here was absolutely huge," said Evanko. "That pretty much saved the game for us. Spencer is a four-year player for us, and his sack was absolutely huge in that series of plays.
"Spencer played huge for us all night long. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves. He didn't miss an extra point, and offensively we ran behind him all night long."
Coudriet promptly ripped off a 21-yard run to jump-start the Golden Tide's next possession, which ended up being another time-consuming 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Tibbens had seven carries for 43 yards on the series.
Tibbens had a key four-yard run on fourth-and-2 after an eight-yard rumble by Coudriet, then capped the drive with a 14-yard TD run where he carried a couple defenders into the end zone. Smeal's kick gave the Tide a 29-20 advantage with 8:52 left to play.
Curwensville's defense came up with three sacks and Kavelak's fumble recovery between the Wolves' final two drives. Tibbens sandwiched a 43-yard touchdown run in between Kane's two possessions, with Smeal's fourth PAT setting the eventual final at 36-20.
Curwensville (5-0) travels to Brockway (5-0) Friday night in a key Allegheny Mountain League South Division contest.
Score By Quarters
Kane 0 14 6 0-20
Curwensville 15 7 0 14-36
C-Russell 26 pass from McCracken, (Smeal kick), 9:59.
C-Russell 9 pass from McCracken, (Olson run), 3:23.
K-Jordan 35 run, (Rolick run), 10:45.
C-Tibbens 9 run, (Smeal kick), 2:30.
K-Rolick 87 kickoff return, (Rolick kick), 2:16.
K-Smith 1 run, (pass failed), 8:17.
C-Tibbens 14 run, (Smeal kick), 8:52.
C-Tibbens 43 run, (Smeal kick), 4:31.
Total First Downs 10 21
Rushes-Yards 24-74 48-281
Comp-Att-Int 6-17-3 8-13-2
Passing Yards 73 87
Total Plays-Yards 41-147 61-368
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Punts-Avg 0-0 1-31
Penalties-Yards 5-31 6-50
Kane-Jordan 8-30, Smith 11-18, Rolick 1-21, Lingenfelter 4-5.
Curwensville-Tibbens 22-152, Greslick 13-64, B. Coudriet 5-42, Olson 6-25, Team 2-(-2).
Kane-Jordan 6-of-17, 73 yds., 3 Int.
Curwensville-McCracken 8-of-13, 87 yds., 2 TDs, 2 Ints.
Kane-Kocjancic 3-42, Rolick 2-26, Smith 1-5.
Curwensville-Russell 6-60, Kurtz 1-12, Greslick 1-15.