DUBOIS — Defensively, the Coudersport Falcons played as they had all year.
Pennsylvania’s second-best scoring defense forced two turnovers, pressured the opposing quarterback and allowed just three plays over 20 yards.
Offensively, however, the Falcons were a shell of their usual selves.
Averaging over 45 points per game entering Friday night, Coudersport was held to just four first downs and ran only a handful of plays across the 50-yard-line en route to a 28-0 loss to District 10’s Farrell in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals at Mansell Stadium in DuBois.
It’s the second consecutive season Coudersport (11-1) has been knocked out of the state playoffs by Farrell (12-2), though it’s a marked improvement from last year’s 48-6 defeat.
“It’s hard,” Coudersport coach Tom Storey said. “They have some bigger guys, bigger athletes, and we are still building our program. We still have a lot of things we have to do through the off seasons. They are a dang good team and it makes for a rough night.”
Despite the final score it was anyone’s game for much of the contest.
After Farrell picked up a couple first downs on its opening drive, Coudersport knocked the ball out of the hands of Steeler running back Jaden Harrison. Despite good field position, the Falcons went 3-and-out and gave the ball right back to Farrell. It was a sign of things to come for a Coudy offense that had just 29 yards and failed to pick up a first down through the game’s first 24 minutes.
After exchanging punts over the next few possessions, Farrell broke the scoreless tie on a 10-yard Harrison run 67 seconds into the second quarter. Following another failed Coudy offensive possession, Farrell went on a five-minute-plus drive that culminated in a two-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Raymond Raver, Jr.
Though they were trailing 14-0 at the halftime, it was a standout defensive performance from a depleted Falcon defense.
“It kind of hurts when you start losing your guys,” Storey said of missing several starters due to injury. “It kind of puts us on the back foot real quick. We’re thin in that sense, but that’s what a small school is. You only have about 14,15 guys that can play the game — the varsity game — and when you only have that many and you start dropping two or three, you’re getting kind of thin.”
Coudersport was again without leading rusher and top tackler Travis Gleason. His absence began to show in the second half.
Farrell ran the ball down the Falcons’ throat on its first possession out of the half. Anthony Stallworth ripped off runs of 10, 13 and 19 yards and then capped the drive on a two-yard run. Stallworth finished with 21 carries for 157 yards in the game.
“It’s kind of the players we have out there and where they are playing,” Storey said of the struggles to stop the run. “It’s nothing we haven’t seen and it’s more of an Elk County offense in the sense of that sprinter back back there.
“They’ve got some big boys up front that can do some pushing around. Unfortunately they pushed us around more than we’re used to.”
After a big return on the ensuing kickoff by Jacob Pitcher, Coudy quarterback Hayden Keck broke free for Coudy’s longest play of the game on a 32-yard run that brought his team to the Farrell 3-yard line. After two failed run plays, the Falcons attempted a handoff out of the Wildcat formation that was fumbled and recovered by Farrell. It was the closest Coudersport would get to the endzone.
Keck’s 32-yard run was one of the few times the junior passer had room — or time — to move the ball down the field. He went 1-for-8 passing the ball and was sacked five times. Still, he was by far Coudersport’s biggest offensive threat with 103 rushing yards, including 80 in the second half.
“We were trying to get the ball to him running the option,” Storey said of the offensive gameplan. “Trying to get him to run it and they were just dominating the front line. Tried to loosen it up a bit throwing some passes and we’re getting sacked. Again, they have a good team.”
Five other Coudy running backs combined to pick up just 35 yards on 17 carries.
Farrell’s final touchdown was a 74-yard pass from Raver to Harrison with 9:29 to play.
The Steelers, which won the state championship a season ago, were uncharacteristically sloppy. Farrell was whistled for 10 penalties, put the ball on the ground five times (two fumbles lost) and struggled to put Coudy away.
But they did more than enough to win the game, something Storey hopes to see his team do at the state level in the not-too-distant future.
“That’s the program we want to build,” the third-year coach said. “Discussions we’ve had as coaches with the administration and the school is being able to get to this level. Getting out of districts, if that’s our goal, eh. I really want to be at this stage and playing with these guys. “These guys have been here many times, they are used to it, and they’ve got that attitude. We need to find that in our guys. As coaches, it’s trying to drag that out of our guys.”
Farrell 0 14 6 8—28
Coudy 0 0 0 0—0
First Downs: F: 17, C: 4; Rushes/Yards Rushing: F: 45-226, C: 30-138; Yards Passing: F: 110, C: 0; Comp-Att-Int: F: 4-9-0, C: 1-8-0; Penalties: F: 10-65, C: 3-35; Fumbles-Lost: F: 5-2, C: 3-3; Total Yards: F: 299, C: 105; Offensive Plays: F: 59, C: 45
Passing: F: Raymond Raver, Jr. 4-9-110-1-0; C: Hayden Keck 1-8-0-0
Rushing: F: Anthony Stallworth 21-157-1, Jaden Harrison 14-46-1, Raver 8-15, Thomas 1-5, Jackson 1-3; C: Keck 13-103, Brandt Kightlinger 5-12, Dylan Kelly 4-15, Pitcher 2-3, VanWhy 1-0, Wilson 5-5
Receiving: F: Harrison 1-74-1, Stallworth 2-29, Hilton 1-7; C: Wilson 1-0
F: Harrison, 10-yard run (Brian Hilton PAT), 10:53
F: Raver, 2-yard run (Hilton PAT), 1:59
F: Stallworth, 2-yard rn (Hilton missed PAT), 9:01
F: Harrison, 74-yard pass from Raver (2-pt pass), 9:29