CURWENSVILLE — An unseasonably warm Friday night welcomed a major crowd on both sides of the field at Coach Andy Evanko Stadium. With the alumni band on the field, and homecoming festivities bringing forth a lot of pride in the community, the Curwensville Golden Tide strutted onto the field ready for a showdown against the visiting Glendale Vikings. After seeing Jordan Turner don the tiara after being revealed as the 2021 Curwensville Homecoming Queen, what ensued was a rollercoaster of emotion and anxiety.
A back-and-forth contest between both squads went right down to the wire in 48 minutes of game time. Despite falling behind early, Curwensville had just enough left in reserve to make key plays when needed, propelling them to a 32-29 triumph in a thriller at the river.
It wasn’t all bells and whistles to start the game off. Curwensville’s first drive faltered deep in their own territory, and the ensuing punt attempt would get blocked by the Viking defense. The ball went through the back of the end zone, saving a touchdown, but it did result in an opening-score safety for the visitors. Glendale could not capitalize on the following drive after the free kick, but they got another opportunity on the next drive.
After getting deep into the opposing territory, Dan McGarry looked to his right for a pass deep down the right sideline. However, the ball wasn’t put in the right spot for his receiver, but it did land in the right spot for Glendale’s Suds Dubler, who picked off the pass to give the Vikings possession.
Despite starting at their own four following the turnover, Glendale pushed the entire length of the field as Dubler finished the drive on a 24-yard sprint for the first touchdown of the night. The two-point conversion failed, and it made the score 8-0 with about eight minutes remaining in the half.
McGarry did not let the pick define his night, as he brushed it off with the next drive, connecting on a 15-yard strike to Jake Mullins for the Tide’s first score. A missed two-point conversion left them down by two, but Glendale was still fighting hard, as they would answer back with a scoring drive of their own, as the other Dubler boy, Zeke, snuck in for a two-yard touchdown plunge to increase the lead. The extra point made it 15-6, but left two minutes on the clock and Curwensville still having a timeout at their disposal.
Turns out, they didn’t need that time out because Glendale had a pair of miscues on the drive. A roughing the punter penalty on fourth down kept the drive going, then a five-yard offside penalty pushed the ball to the 15-yard line. With little time remaining, Curwensville coaches opted to take the points, sending Mullins out for the 32-yard field goal, which split the uprights by a big distance, cutting the lead to 15-9 heading into halftime.
With momentum on their side, Curwensville created its own luck on the first possession of Glendale in the third quarter. On 1st and 10 at the Tide 20, Suds Dubler had the ball punched out of his grasp and immediately the Tide fell on the loose ball.
The turnover was just the beginning, as five plays later it was McGarry that read the zone to perfection, finding Ty Terry over the middle, and Terry’s legs did the rest, as he rumbled 70 yards for the touchdown. Mullins’ point after gave Curwensville a 16-15 lead, invigorating the crowd.
McGarry’s 70-yard pass would be the longest on the night, as he finished with 283 yards through the air and four scores.
Hoping to get back in the game, Glendale slowed things down on the next drive, a 10-play marathon that saw only one pass, and take off nearly six minutes on the clock. Zeke Dubler capped the drive with a 7-yard pounding to the goal line. The failed two-point try kept a five-point deficit, 21-16, for Curwensville to work with entering the final quarter.
And what a final quarter it ended up being.
The Tide took the next possession starting with 1:46 to go in the third, and methodically worked down the field to the red zone, putting the Vikings on their heels. McGarry then connected with Mullins from 10 yards out, who then added the point after to give Curwensville a 23-21 advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Curwensville’s defense stood tall on the next drive, forcing its first punt of the night. But the Glendale defense was back to it on the next drive.
One of the few poor decisions from McGarry came on a 2nd and 21 following a holding penalty on the Curwensville offensive front. His quick pass only went one yard, and it went into the hands of Logan Cree. Problem was Cree had on a white jersey, and set up the Vikings with premium field position for a score.
The Vikings made them pay when Suds Dubler punched the ball into the end zone to give Glendale back the lead. He also added the two-point conversion to make it 29-23 with just under five minutes remaining.
Curwensville coaches, players, fans and the cheer squad stayed focused, and confident, knowing they still had three timeouts to use.
That worked to perfection as McGarry first connected with Terry for a major 33-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff. The two would then connect from five yards out on a diving grab in the front corner of the end zone. The crowd was roaring with excitement as the Tide lined up for the extra point. But, Glendale broke through the line and blocked the ball right back into the Tide’s faces, leaving the score knotted at 29-all.
Glendale was ready to make a game-sealing drive after Mullins forced another touchback on the kickoff. Using their legs, both Dubler brothers along with quarterback Ethan Cavalet rushed down to the Tide 16, and were faced with 4th and 3. Looking to end the night, Cavalet lined up for the 33-yard field goal on the right hash.
Curwensville’s stands were loud, and the snap for Glendale, was louder, but not in the way they wanted. The ball instead of heading to the holder went past Cavalet, who tried to run for a first down but never made it back to the line of scrimmage. The turnover on downs lit a fire in Curwensville, but with only 29 seconds to work with, it was a matter of either trying to get into field goal range, or playing it safe and take their chances in overtime.
The first play of what ultimately was the final drive told many stories in mere seconds.
McGarry took the snap and looked to his right, then tossed the ball what seemed short. Somehow, Terry was able to get both hands under the ball as it was nearing the ground, almost as if he was picking it up off the grass, and suddenly he was sprinting up the field. The 41-yard gain took seconds off the clock, but while the chains were being move to the new line of scrimmage at the Glendale 34, the whistles blew. It soon became clear as to why, as some yellow laundry was sitting on the ground right where the chains were being placed.
The Glendale sideline went off after seeing Terry’s run. They were adamant that the ball was an incomplete pass, saying it was picked up from the ground. Officials said otherwise, with the one making the call less than three yards away. Still, the coaching staff went nuts on officials, and in the end it was moot.
Already having a sideline warning in the first half, officials threw a flag for the sideline infraction, and suddenly the 15-yard penalty put Curwensville in the red zone. McGarry connected then to Andrew Freyer, putting the ball right within striking distance of the end zone. With eight seconds remaining, out came Mullins to attempt the field goal.
The snap was right on, the hold went to the correct spot, and Mullins’ right foot did the rest, putting the ball through the uprights with five seconds still remaining in the game.
Glendale’s final hope was to either get on the field for a last-gasp from the offense, or make something happen on the kickoff. Mullins knew this, and squibbed the kick up the field, and once touched, the clock ran to zeroes. Glendale tried to lateral for multiple times, some right on the cusp of being a forward pass, but in the end the Tide swarmed enough to get the final tackle, and taking home an enormous conference win.
Tide coach Jimmy Thompson was ecstatic for the kids after the game, saying, “We have a lot of three or four year players that years ago, probably wouldn’t be able to come back from getting down early, and might not with these close games. But, these kids did a lot of work in the offseason, and have gotten better to the point where they come in expecting to win those close games.”
Glendale came in after an unexpected off week last Friday, earning a forfeit win over Everett when the Warriors had to cancel due to Covid-19 protocols. Thompson knew the Vikings were coming in fresh, but also understands what they endured.
“It’s actually tougher because we’ve endured it last year. You get prepared for game day and then suddenly you’re not able to play, so they were ramped up for tonight and it showed,” Thompson said. “The Dublers ran over us tonight, but we made the plays when it mattered. A very big win for this team.”
Curwensville (3-1) hits the midway point of the season next week as they start a four-week road trip beginning with the Northern Bedford Panthers.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Glendale 2 13 6 8 – 29
Curwensville 0 9 7 16 – 32
VIKINGS: Safety, 9:17
VIKINGS: 24-yard run by S. Dubler (Pass failed), 8:44
GOLDEN TIDE: 15-yard pass from McGarry to Mullins (Pass failed), 6:04
VIKINGS: 2-yard run by Z. Dubler (Cavalet kick), 2:03
GOLDEN TIDE: 32-yard field goal by Mullins, 0:01
GOLDEN TIDE: 70-yard pass from McGarry to Terry (Mullins kick), 7:02
VIKINGS: 7-yard run by Z. Dubler (Pass fail), 1:46
GOLDEN TIDE: 10-yard pass from McGarry to Mullins (Mullins kick), 10:10
VIKINGS: 3-yard run by S. Dubler (S. Dubler run), 4:50
GOLDEN TIDE: 2-yard pass from McGarry to Terry (Mullins kick blocked), 2:45
GOLDEN TIDE: 21-yard field goal by Mullins, 0:05
- First Downs: 19/18
- Rush Yards: 358/95
- Pass Yards: 52/283
- Total Yards: 410/378
- Penalties-Yards: 11-66/5-60
- Turnovers: 1/2
- Time of Possession: 28:42/19:18
Glendale: Z. Dubler-22 carries, 148 yards, 2 TD; S. Dubler-20 carries, 204 yards, 2 TD; Cavalet-5 carries, (-1) yards; Wright-1 carry, 7 yards.
Curwensville: Butler-15 carries, 82 yards; McGarry-8 carries, 27 yards.
Glendale: Cavalet-5 for 8, 52 yards.
Curwensville: McGarry-13 for 18, 283 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT.
Glendale: Z. Dubler-3 catches, 49 yards; Misiura-1 catch, 3 yards; Cree-1 catch, 0 yards.
Curwensville: Terry-8 catches, 173 yards, 2 TD; Mullins-9 catches, 28 yards, TD; Butler-5 catches, 54 yards; Freyer-2 catches, 28 yards.