The White Whale…
Written by: Billy Splain on Friday, October 3rd, 2014
A cool breeze blows as dark clouds billow and the rain begins to fall upon the turf at Mansell. The dancing drizzle soaks a green sea, a prelude to revenge. One year ago Oil City was in command of the game 42-21 with only seconds remaining in the third quarter. Most of the fans had begun to leave the stadium when Bryson Paulinellie snatched a 25 yard dart from Gabe French in stride and bolted down the sideline on the Beaver’s first possession of the second half. Up to that point the Oilers running game had demoralized the Beavers all night burning all but 55 seconds of the third quarter, controlling the clock and the scoreboard in the process.
The touchdown pulled the Beavers back to within two scores giving the team hope. On the ensuing possession Oil City would put the ball into the air and find Beaver corner Trevor Schwiderske who would return the pick for six and bring the game to within a touchdown. On the next Oiler drive defense would hold and give the ball back to DuBois and they would take full advantage. French moved the chains with four quick completions then handed the ball off to power running back Devin Clark to finish the drive. Despite the comeback the extra point would be no good leaving the Beavers a point short. With the ball in Oil City’s hands and a one point lead, Coach Varischetti made a gutsy call. Two first downs would have allowed OC to burn the remaining time. Following a first down to mid field, Coach Varischetti allowed the Oilers to run 50 yards for another touchdown, a call that would put the Beaver Express back on the field. The best defense would be a good offense. Up by seven, Oil City decided to go for two and the win. The conversion would fail and Coach V’s Beaver Express plan was still alive. With the game now 48-41 some of the fans had begun to file back into the stadium and other stayed in the parking lot listening to the radio in disbelief. Following a few quick completions to Kriner and Paulinellie the ball sat near mid field with only seconds remaining. Now in hurry up mode Branson Luther quickly snap the ball, French took a deep drop and aired the ball out into the bright lights of Mansell Stadium. The fans held their collective breath as the ball fell on the outstretched fingertips of Andrew Stanton inside the five yard line, fell to the turf and rolled into the end-zone. It was that close.
The seniors like Captain Ahab remember the sting of the loss and a forecast of rain adds sauce for the goose. Oil City at 4-1 may be favored in Friday’s contest but like the white whale they will be the hunted as DuBois has its eye on revenge. With the loss of Paulinellie for the season the DuBois offense has had to rally and transform into a very balanced attack. All purpose back Devin Clark is once again healthy, Cole Kriner, Kevin Foley, and Dante Dawson have been joined by tight end Nick Labrasca to keep the express moving. With this group it is no wonder the number one ranked passer in Pennsylvania is Gabe French. Number 10 is great at using all of his weapons and spreading the ball around.
Despite the offensive firepower of Friday’s contest this battle will be won by defense and special teams. A year ago DuBois struggled on special teams turning the ball over multiple times. This season Oil City has already demonstrated a lot of trickery in the kicking game and this week should be no exception. Similar to the Beavers the Oiler line is big and experienced. Behind the bigs they run the ball with great efficiency and throw as needed. DuBois continues to improve defensively particularly at the point of attack. The match ups at the line of scrimmage will be Key to a Beaver victory with the Petersons, Zillhaver and Meighen working hard to keep French’s crew on the field.
A cloaked Swami emerges from the darkness knowing that Beavers love the rain. From perdition’s flame the men in black will strive relentlessly and avenge their defeat. DuBois is a veteran squad who’s confidence grows with a flexible playbook and a renewed defensive intensity. Angry are the Beavers and white is their whale. DuBois 44- Oil City 31
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