Riv-Ell Cup ends in dramatic fashion, Panthers prevail over the Wolverines


Football is a four quarter sport and has been such for many years.  The Wolverines and Panthers found out last night during the 31st rendition of the "Riv-Ell Cup" rivalry match-up between the Riverside Panthers 5-2 (5-1) and the Ellwood City Wolverines 0-7 (0-6) that sometimes four quarters is not enough to determine the victor.

The 31st match-up between Riverside and Ellwood City came down to two crucial drives, but these drives did not actually occur during regulation time - the game between the Panthers and Wolverines had to be determined in the first overtime.

The first quarter of the 31st Riv-Ell Cup started with minimal offense - both teams were having issues holding onto the ball as the entire day and evening involved some type of rain, wind, or mix of both.  Both teams were held to under 25 yards of offense in the first quarter as no score was tallied.

The second quarter had one good drive by the Wolverines where the Wolverines was able to cap off a 7 play, 41 yard drive where Richard Pitrelli ran up the middle for a 7 yard touchdown giving EC a 6-0 lead.  The PAT attempt was done by Jonathan Jefferson where with the football field being torn up as well as muddy from the rain, Jefferson's attempt was kicked short, keeping the score 6-0 going into halftime. [6-0 EC]

After holding the Panthers to 23 plays for 26 yards in the first half, the Wolverines continued the domination of the Panthers up till the 3 minute mark of the fourth quarter.  Both teams were able to move the ball, but hadn't added any points to the scoreboard.

The fourth quarter came down to the 3 minute mark where the Panthers were finally able to break through the Wolverines defense, and was finally across the 50 yard-line for only the second time of the night.  The drive came down to a crucial 3rd and 15 play where a Ben Hughes pass intended for Kyle Marweg fell incomplete.  However, the refs threw a controversial flag where the Wolverines were penalized for roughing the passer.  This gave the Panthers another attempt where they were able to cap off the drive with a 6 yard pass by Ben Hughes to Austin Dambach at the 1:57 mark.  The extra point attempt could have ended the game in regulation, but the attempt was partially blocked at the line of scrimmage, giving hope to the Wolverines - the score with 1:57 left was 6-6. [6-6]

The Wolverines were able to move the ball under the 2 minute warning; however, the drive stalled late and the Wolverines just sat on the ball to take the game into overtime.  This set up for a crucial overtime where both teams were given the chance to score on four plays from the 10 yard line.

EC took their chance first and was successful when Andrew O'Brien was able to scamper 6 yards for the endzone on the second play of OT, giving EC the lead 12-6.  The PAT attempt by Jonathan Jefferson was good and Ellwood led Riverside 13-6 after the "top half" of the OT.

Riverside then took their chance at the end zone.  Just like the entire four quarters that were dominated by Ellwood, the game seemed over when a pass by Ben Hughes was picked off by Donavin Chambers to end the game.  However, once again, the refs threw another controversial flag in the end zone where the Wolverines were penalized for pass interference, giving the Panthers another chance to score.

Sure enough if you give a team more than one chance to score, they usually are successful - so were the Panthers tonight.  A pass by Ben Hughes was caught by Austin Dambach in the end zone after the Panthers ran a wide receiver pick play in the end zone giving us the score 13-12 EC pending the PAT attempt.

The Panthers and their head coach decided to take the game into their own hands based upon the result throughout the first 4 and a half quarters and decided to go for two.  After both teams took a timeout, the Panthers pass by Ben Hughes was completed to Dambach once again in similar fashion like the original touchdown score.  This gave the Panthers the final victory 14-13 in the 31st meeting of the Riv-Ell Cup in the first overtime. [14-13 Riverside Final]

The Wolverines on the evening stats wise seemed like the better team just like last week, winning every category on offense (held Panthers to 99 yards of offense) except for turnovers (4-2).  The Wolverines 0-8 (0-6) were led by Richard Pitrelli who had 18 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown.  On defense, Toby Kelly came back this week in great preparation as he tallied 14 total tackles (8 solo) and 2 tackles for loss.  This now brings the series record to 17-14 in favor of the Panthers, now 6-2 (5-1) on the season.

Next up for the Wolverines is the final week of the regular season where the Wolverines will be fighting for the first win against the Quakers of Quaker Valley 4-4 (2-4) who came off a big victory this week over Seton-La Salle.  The game will be played at Helling Stadium at 7PM this upcoming Friday - be sure to catch the last game of the year on our W-Zone page!