Golden Tide Football
CURWENSVILLE - Curwensville continued to show why it is the prohibitive favorite to win the District 9 Class A title with a 42-0 whitewashing of Clarion in the semifinals Friday night at Curwensville.
The Golden Tide will now play two-time defending District 9 champion Clarion-Limestone, a 21-14 winner over Coudersport, in the title game at 7 p.m. Friday at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium.
Curwensville (10-0) gained 503 yards of total offense including 441 on the ground against what was one of the top defenses in District 9 coming into the game. Clarion came into the contest allowing just 178.9 yards per game including just 115.6 per game on the ground. Not only that, when the Bobcats game against Class AAA champion Clearfield is taken out Clarion was allowing only 148 yards per game including 79.3 per game on the ground against Class A and Class AA opponents.
But Nate Sipes blew those yardage numbers out of the water with just one run, a 98-yard touchdown run following an interception, early in the second quarter. The long run, which is not a District 9 record, helped Nate Sipes run for 239 yards and three touchdowns on just 24 carries. Playing a complete game, Nate Sipes added one catch for 18 yards and intercepted a pass on defense.
Nate's younger brother Nick added 10 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. It marked the eighth straight week, and the eighth time this season, that the Sipes boys have each run for over 100 yards. It was Nate's fifth 200-yard game this season, and he now has 1,925 yards and 28 touchdowns on 203 carries. He needs just 75 yards to become the first District 9 runner since Dave Richards (2,506) in 2002 to go over 2,000 yards in a season. With 1,355 yards and 13 touchdowns, Nick Sipes gives the Golden Tide two running backs over 1,000 yards this season. It is not known if a team in District 9 history has ever had two running backs over 1,000 yards in the same season.
While Curwensville's offense was making noise, the defense was shutting down a Clarion offense that came into the game averaging 25.7 points per game and 302.6 yards per game including 232.7 on the ground. Clarion managed only 178 yards in the game including just 137 on the ground on 30 carries. The Bobcats also turned the ball over five times (3 interceptions, two lost fumbles).
Curwensville led just 7-0 at the end of the first quarter but scored 14 points in the second quarter to go up 21-0 at halftime. The Golden Tide then put the game away with a 21-point third quarter.
Nate Sipes got the scoring started with 4:31 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard Nate Sipes' run.
Nate Sipes' 98-yard scoring run following a Shawn Sopic interception of a Sean Wolf pass gave Curwensville a 14-0 lead 2:50 into the second quarter.
Curwensville then struck a major blow to Clarion's comeback hopes when Sopic hit Bart McGary with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left in the half. Remarkably, it was only the third touchdown pass this season for the Golden Tide, the highest scoring team in the state, and the first since Week Seven.
Things went from bad to worse for Clarion when Manny Carpin fumbled the opening second-half kickoff giving the Golden Tide great field position at the Clarion 38.
Nick Sipes then made it 28-0 with a 38-yard touchdown run 18 seconds into the half.
A little over three minutes later it was 35-0 thanks to a 2-yard Nate Sipes run with 8:24 to go in the third quarter.
The Golden Tides sixth and final touchdown also doubled their touchdown passes on the season when Dean Swatsworth caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Sopic with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
Sopic was 6-for-7 passing for 62 yards and two touchdowns. The seven passes tied for the second most thrown by Curwensville this season and the six completions and 62 yards were both season highs.
Chris McSwain led Clarion with 14 carries for 56 yards, while Elliot Fabri added six carries for 37 yards. Wolf was 0-for-8 passing with three interceptions. Adam Dolby was 3-for-4 passing for 41 yards.
NOTES - Curwensville is averaging 49.2 points per game this season and the Golden Tide have scored 40 or more points in seven games including twice going over 70 points .. The shutout was the fourth this season for Curwensville which has allowed seven or fewer points in eight games while allowing a District 9 low 6.4 points per game … Clarion was shutout for the first time since a 35-0 loss to Keystone Oct. 25, 2002 … Clarion has now played Curwensville twice, both in the District 9 playoffs, and has been outscored 65-0 including 23-0 in the 2000 District 9 Championship game … Curwensville is making its third appearance in the District 9 Class A title game … The Golden Tide lost the 2001 championship tilt to Coudersport.
CURWENSVILLE 42, CLARION 0
SCORE BY QUARTER
Clarion - 0 0 0 0 - 0
Curwensville 7 14 21 0 - 42
CW - Nate Sipes 2 run (Nick Sipes kick), 4:31
CW - Nate Sipes 98 run (Nick Sipes kick), 9:10
CW - Bart McGary 10 pass from Shawn Sopic (Nick Sipes kick), :16
CW - Nick Sipes 38 run (Nick Sipes kick), 11:42
CW - Nate Sipes 2 run (Nick Sipes kick), 8:24
CW - Dean Swatsworth 8 pass from Sopic (Nick Sipes kick), 2:54
First Downs 10 24
Rushes-Yards 30-137 45-441
Passing Yards 41 62
Passing: Comp-Att-Int 3-12-3 6-7-0
Total Yards 178 503
Punts-Avg. 2-23 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 4-2
Penalties-Yards 4-25 6-66
Rushing - Clarion: Chris McSwain 14-56, Sean Wolf 2-10, Elliot Fabri 6-37, Adam Dolby 1-(-5), Manny Carpin 4-12, Brad Rapp 2-20, Cody Dolby 1-7. Curwensville: Nate Sipes 24-239, Nick Sipes 10-127, Shawn Sopic 5-35, Dean Swatsworth 1-28, Adam Pennington 3-10, Brandon Hess 1-3,
Evan Olson 1-(-1).
Passing - Clarion: Sean Wolf 0-for-8, 0 yards, 3 interceptions. Adam Dolby 3-for-4, 41 yards. Curwensville: Shawn Sopic 6-for-7, 62 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Receiving - Clarion: Manny Carpin 1-28, Kody Wolff 2-13. Curwensville: Dean Swatsworth 3-21, Bart McGary 2-23, Nate Sipes 1-18.
Interceptions - Curwensville: Shawn Sopic, Bart McGary, Nate Sipes.
pictures by Randy Hutton