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Curwensville wins defensive battle with Ridgway/Johnsonburg on 77 yard blocked field goal return by Nick Stewart

Written by: on Saturday, October 7th, 2017

 

The Golden Tide and Elker captains meet before the battle


On any given night, two teams will square off and most likely one team will have 350 yards of offense. Last night in Curwensville, a defensive battle erupted and both teams combined for 350 yards of offense. This game also featured four Elker turnovers, one Curwensville turnover which was a muffed kick recovered by the kicking team resulting in a 40 yard field goal by Aaron Hinton,  a safety, a blocked punt and only 2 offensive drives in the first half that were longer than 30 yards. Both drives were in the first half, both ending in touchdowns. All in ADDITION to the blocked field goal return. It was the 77 yard blocked field that put the Tide ahead 14-11 but a key interception with just under 2 minutes left in the game from Josh Terry sealed the win.

 

“We witnessed a slugfest here” said Ridgway/Johnsonburg Head Coach Mark Heindl. “We said before the game that the team that made the least mistakes would win the game. Credit to Curwensville they took advantage of every one of our mistakes.”

The game itself even started slow, with neither team able to move the ball. Then, with 2:55 to go in the first period, punter Avery Franciso watched the snap go right over his head and into the endzone, he had no choice but to land on the ball preventing an Elker touchdown. With the safety the score was 2-0. Curwensville got the ball back after holding Ridway to a 3 and out series and went on it’s only long drive of the night, with key throws from QB Bryce Timko to receiver Josh Terry, who as it turns out would be the game saver for the tide late in the fourth quarter.

 

“We play team football” said Nick Stewart, who would eventually end that drive with a 4 yard TD run. “If I can’t get going then it’s nice that we have Bryce and some other guys to step up and tonight they did.”  Nobody would move the ball until late in the 2nd quarter when the Elkers went on their longest drive of the night, a 10 play, 89 yard drive that ended with a ten yard scoring pass to Neil MacDonald. Elker quarterback Johnny Mitchell was masterful on this drive, hitting four different receivers including Josh Thorwart who rumbled 59 yards to put them in scoring position. The touchdowns came with just 28 seconds left on the board, not much but would become key after a personal foul was called on the Tide after the failed 2 point attempt. Ridgeway had 15 yards added to their kick-off position. A high floater went through the hands of Noah Von Gunden and Bryce Barklay pounced on the ball for the Elkers at the 8. A long holding penalty dropped the ball back to the 23 where Hinton kicked his way into this weeks Top Performers list to be released tomorrow.

 

That series of events gave the Elkers an 11-7 lead going into the locker room for the halftime break. The first series in the third quarter seemed to have the Ridgway offense in gear, but that gear broke when, after a 50 yard run from MacDonald, the Tide defense put up a wall forcing a field goal attempt. Tide defender Cole Bressler broke through the line, and the rest was done by Stewart:

 

“We are who we are and Nick’s carried us through a lot of big games” said Head Coach Andy Evankos right hand man Chris Folmar. “Bryce knows if we can’t throw the ball, they can shut us down. They did that twice last year. The kids really worked hard in the summer on passing and timing and it shows.” Stewart also had 26 carries for 85 yards scoring the other Tide touchdown.  Ridgway running back MacDonald had 119 total yards in the game.

It doesn’t get easier for either team next week as the Elker travel to powerhouse Kane while Curwensville has Elk County.

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