Coudersport edges Curwensville
Written by: Josh Funk on Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
BROCKWAY, Pa. – Maybe beards are the “in” thing up in Coudersport. Falcons’ head coach Brendan Hathaway sports one. So does assistant Paul Simcoe, a former Falcon head coach who won over 200 games in his career.
But Saturday night, Hathaway and his Falcons got involved in a close shave with Allegheny Mountain League rival Curwensville.
Coudersport (9-2) blocked a Curwensville (9-3) punt to set up its winning touchdown with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter for a 28-21 victory from Frank Varischetti Field in Brockway.
With the win, the Falcons advance to the District 9 championship game against Clarion Area, who defeated Cameron County 18-0 in another D9 “A” semifinal. Kickoff of the championship tilt is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. in Brockway.
“We were the only 35 guys who thought that we had could get to the District 9 championship game,” Hathaway said. “I don’t care where you look…people picked against us all year. I’m proud of these guys because they believed in themselves.”
While Coudersport celebrated its second victory over the Golden Tide this season, Curwensville head coach Andy Evanko was hopping mad. His team had been flagged 10 times for 85 yards in the game, and initially, he declined to speak to reporters. But he turned around and did give a statement, anyway.
“Go in that little room, to the guys in the black and white stripes, and ask them for a comment!” Evanko screamed. “They cost us the game!” He then retreated with his team to the locker room.
Even with the penalties, Curwensville did hold a 21-14 lead on Coudersport, overcoming a 14-0 deficit to tie the game at halftime.
It took Coudersport’s flexbone offense a little while to find its traction on Varischetti Field’s synthetic turf. The Falcons fumbled on their initial possession, but Curwensville couldn’t capitalize. Then, the Falcons got to work.
Set up by a Dirk Cowburn 58-yard scamper to the Tide 21, Kevin Wolflinger darted in from three yards out for a 7-0 Coudy lead. Then, after quarterback/defensive back Tim McCusker intercepted a Sam Gardner pass, Coudy pushed its lead to 14-0 on a Cowburn 17-yard run.
McCusker picked off Gardner yet again, but the purple and white could do nothing, and Jed Greslick broke the shutout with a 51-yard scoring run, halving Coudersport’s lead to 14-7. Greslick added a one-yard score before halftime to knot things at 14-all.
Curwensville appeared to steal all the momentum when Gardner’s 37-yard touchdown run made it 21-14 and the Tide defense recovered a Coudersport fumble on its ensuing series. But Coudersport forced a punt, and the Falcons had good field position, just 45 yards away from paydirt.
Six plays later, Creighton Hayes’ 11-yard touchdown run knotted things up at 21. Hayes capped the drive with two of the final three runs. Cowburn added a 24-yard pass on the drive.
Perhaps the biggest play came when Tony Capatch blocked a Curwensville punt with 4:59 left in the game, giving the Falcons a chance to retake the lead from the Tide 29-yard line.
After Cowburn darted around left end for 22 yards, McCusker (4-of-6, 40 yards, TD) found Wolflinger from five yards out, and Coudy held a 28-21 lead.
Coudersport then forced a Tide fumble with 2:03 left in the game, and the Falcons ran out the clock to secure its berth in the title game.
Curwensville only passed for 15 yards in the game. Gardner went 3-of-7 with two picks, but did add 66 yards on 10 carries. Greslick, who entered the game with over 1,560 yards, had another big game for the Tide, racking up 139 yards and two scores on 24 carries. Alex Holland, a sophomore who ran for over 800 yards on the year, only carried the ball five times for 13 yards.
Coudersport finished with 178 rushing yards and 242 yards of total offense. Cowburn ran for 141 yards on 11 carries. Mitch Freeman added 26 yards on 11 attempts from his fullback position, and Wolflinger 12 yards on six carries. Hayes finished with 27 yards on just four carries.
Curwensville outrushed Coudersport by 45 yards and owned a 13-11 advantage in first downs.
NOTE: Coudersport and Clarion Area met in the 2005 District 9 championship game. Coudersport won the game, 31-7, and went on to the PIAA “A” Western Finals, losing to Duquesne.
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