Nick Stewart Helps Curwensville Blast Redbank Valley
Written by: Phil Myers on Sunday, November 12th, 2017
Nick Stewart, the all-time leading rusher in District 9, ran for over 250 yards and scored 5 times to lead his Curwensville Golden Tide to a convincing 47-13 victory over the Redbank Valley Bulldogs on a crisp Saturday evening at Mansell Stadium in DuBois. “We knew we had to feed Stewart the ball because we knew it would be a big challenge tonight,” said Tide assistant coach and spokesman Chris Folmar. Stewart also surpassed the 7,000 career yardage mark, making him the first District 9 running back to achieve that lofty milestone.
The game had an auspicious beginning for the Golden Tide when Stewart took the opening kickoff 62 yards to the Bulldog 31-yard line. Six plays later, number twenty scored his first touchdown on an eight-yard run, giving Curwensville a 6-0 lead.
Early in the first stanza Redbank’s quarterback, Keaton Kahle, got hurt and did not come back. That obviously hurt the offensive mojo of the Bulldogs, but freshman Kobe Bonanno stepped in and did a yeoman’s job that head coach Ed Wasilowski was proud of. That being said, it was Curwensville’s defense that played hard and hit hard, holding the potent RBV offense to only 20 yards and one first down in the opening half.
Curwensville’s second possession ended when Brock Barrett intercepted a Bryce Timko pass. The Golden Tide turned to an age old trick play the next time they had the ball. After Stewart had gained 13 yards to the Tide 25, Timko hit Josh Terry with a short 12-yard pass. Timko then lateralled the pigskin to Stewart as he streaked by to complete the hook and ladder. Stewart did the rest by outracing Bulldog defenders the final 63 yards to score his second touchdown. Blake Passarelli tallied the 2-point conversion giving Curwensville a 14-0 lead just fourteen seconds into quarter two.
Stewart capped the first half scoring by catching a nine-yard pass from Timko for his third TD with 50 seconds remaining. That gave the Tide a 21-0 lead, after Madison Weber’s extra point, at the intermission. Stewart not only had 251 yards rushing, but amassed 385 all-purpose yards for the game. That is amazing considering he had to sit a while in the opening half due to being a little under the weather.
Redbank got back into the game by driving 62 yards in 9 plays to start the second half. Bonanno had the honor of scoring when he ran 5 yards to step into the end zone at the 8:12 mark. Clint Thurston booted the point after home, cutting Curwensville’s lead to 21-7. On Curwensville’s subsequent possession, Barrett then picked off his second Timko pass at midfield to give the red and white clad Bulldogs more life.
But that life was short-lived when Timko returned the favor and intercepted a third down Bonanno pass. Curwensville’s all-time winningest coach, Andy Evanko, then turned to his star. Stewart carried the ball on nine straight plays which covered sixty yards. His ninth tote resulted in a 15-yard jaunt to the end zone with 1:30 left in the third. Weber’s PAT pushed the Tide lead back to twenty-one points, 28-7.
The fourth quarter saw Curwensville score three more times, two by Avery Francisco on runs of 14 and 13 yards. Stewart scored his fifth TD with under two minutes remaining in the contest to set the final at 47-13. In between Francisco’s two touchdowns, Bonanno scored again for the Bulldogs, this time from seven yards out.
Notes and Quotes: Bonanno was 6 for 13 passing for 93 yards. The young Redbank QB had five passes intercepted, but Wasilowski was quick to point out in his opinion only one might have been the freshman’s fault. Timko had two of those picks, Terry had two, and Caleb Bloom had the other. Redbank finishes the year with a 6-5 mark, but the future appears bright according to Wasilowski as they only lose three players to graduation.
The black-clad gold trimmed Tide had 432 total yards to Redbank’s 193. Timko was 6 out of 12 passing for 106 yards and the two TDs. He also threw two picks. Francisco rushed for 69 yards. “We’re going to enjoy this tonight, but they (Ridgway) are a tremendous team,” Folmar said of Curwensville’s opponent in the D-9 Class A final next Friday night in DuBois. The Golden Tide now sits at 9-2 including a hard-fought 14-11 triumph over the Elkers earlier in the year. Stewart was the star of that game, not so much for his running, but he returned a blocked field goal 77 yards for the winning score.
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