CURWENSVILLE, Pa. – Zach Tibbens ran for 277 yards and five touchdowns to lead Curwensville to a 56-32 win over Sheffield in the quarterfinals of the District 9 Class A playoffs Friday night in Curwensville.
Behind Tibbens, who had 25 carries, the Golden Tide (9-1) advanced to the District 9 Class A semifinals for the first time since winning the District 9 title in 2010.
Curwensville bolted to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on a Kyle Billings 36-yard fumble return for a touchdown, a 1-yard Kyle Johns run and a 41-yard Tibbens scamper only to see Sheffield (5-6) answer with the first two scores of the second quarter to get back within a touchdown, 21-14, 3:06 into the quarter.
Noah Heeter caught a 48-yard touchdown from Adam Higby for the Wolverines first score, and then Jareke Jackson, who had 181 yards rushing on 23 carries, scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 12-yard run.
But a pair of Tibbens touchdown runs (35 and 28 yards) and an 11-yard Alex Olson run put Curwensville ahead 42-14 at halftime, and the Golden Tide got the Mercy Rule rolling when Tibbens scored on runs of three and six yards two-and-a-half minutes apart midway through the third quarter.
With backups in for the Tide, Jackson scored on runs of nine and 52 yards and Heeter scored on an offensive fumble recovery from 46 yards out on the final play of the game to make the score closer.
Turnovers played a role against Sheffield, as the Wolverines turned the pigskin over five times – four fumbles lost and an interception.
Curwensville will face third-seeded Redbank Valley, a 31-26 winner over Ridgway, in the semifinals next week at a site, day and time to be determined.
NOTES – The 88 combined points set a District 9 Class A record for the most combined points in a Class A playoff game in the district’s history surpassing the 87 combined points put up by Port Allegany and Elk County Catholic in a four-overtime 47-40 Port win in the 2010 quarterfinals. Overall, it ranks as the third-highest scoring District 9 playoff game of all time behind Karns City and Moniteau combining for 92 points in the 2002 Class AA semifinals (Karns City 69, Moniteau 23) and Karns City and Brockway combining for 90 points in the 2007 Class AA semifinals (Karns City 62, Brockway 28) … Also, the 56 points by Curwensville are the second most in D9 Class A playoff history behind the 57 scored by Cameron County in a 57-22 win over Keystone in the 2008 Class A quarterfinals. Karns City’s 69 points and 62 points in the games listed above are the highest marks in District 9 history with Curwensville’s total coming in fourth overall … Tibbens’ 277 yards rushing are the most rushing yards in a District 9 Class A playoff game since Curwensville’s Alex Holland had 296 in a 28-27 quarterfinal loss to Coudersport in 2011 … Neither team punted in the game.
CURWENSVILLE 56, SHEFFIELD 32
Score by Quarters
Sheffield 0 14 0 18 -32
Curwensville 21 21 14 0 – 56
C – Kyle Billings 36 fumble return, (Jason Thorp kick), 11:41
C – Kyle Johns 1 run, (run failed), 8:06
C – Zack Tibbens 41 run, (Alex Olson run). 3:00
S – Noah Heeter 48 pass from Adam Higby, (Jimmy Vile kick), 11:05
S – Jareke Jackson 12 run, (Vile kick), 8:54
C – Tibbens 35 run, (Thorp kick), 7:04
C – Tibbens 28 run, (Thorp kick) 3:45
C – Olson 11 run, (Thorp kick), 1:45
C – Tibbens 3 run, (Thorp kick), 8:59
C – Tibbens 6 run, (Thorp kick), 6:28
S – Jackson 9 run, (run failed), 11:20
S – Jackson 52 run, (run failed), 4:07
S – Heeter 46 offensive fumble return, (no attempt), 0:00
First Downs 15 19
Rushes-Yards 36-266 47-343
Passing Yards 103 37
Comp-Att-Int 5-15-1 4-7-0
Total Yards 369 380
Fumbles-Lost 6-4 2-1
Punts-Avg 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-47 4-31
Rushing – Sheffield: Jareke Jackson 23-181, Noah Heeter 0-46, Dustin Holden 7-37, Brandon Kipp 3-7, Adam Higby 3-(-5). Curwensville: Zack Tibbens 25-277, Alex Olson 5-45, Kyle Johns 3-2, Hunter Johnson 5-16, Trey McKenzie 3-9, Ben Junod 1-0, Jordan Peters 5-(-6).
Passing – Sheffield: Adam Higby 5-for-15, 103 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. Curwensville: Kyle Johns 3-for-5, 30 yards. Jakob Terry 1-for-2, 7 yards.
Receiving – Sheffield: Noah Heeter 1-48, Nic Confer 2-48, Brandon Kipp 2-7. Curwensville: Travis Lansberry 2-17, Austin Jacobson 1-13, Logan Passmore 1-7.
Interceptions –Curwensville: Austin Jacobson.