EC Football - Season in Review
With the 2018 football season in the WPIAL down to its last week of championships and switching to the PIAA state championships, we here at ecwolverines.com took some time to look back at the 2018 season. We bring you the 2018 EC football season in review.
The 2018 season began with a switch of the guards as Coach Hand passed the rock over to long-time Assistant Coach Magnifico. Coach Magnifico is not new to the coaching role as he has been a huge coaching figure in the Wolverines football program for some time. Even with the switch at the helm, the change from 3A to 2A had very little time to take place as the 2A classification was predicted as one of the most open classes in the WPIAL. Looking forward to the season, the Wolverines started off playing familiar foe Beaver Falls Tigers and Coach Nardone in Week Zero, new to the Wolverines football schedule this year. Below is the 2018 schedule and results of games.
Week 0: @ Beaver Falls (9-3) - [41-0 L]*
Week 1: vs. Serra Catholic (6-5) - [24-14 L]*
Week 2: @ New Brighton (5-6) - [30-13 L]*
Week 3: @ Neshannock (4-6) - [14-6 L]
Week 4: vs. Freedom (11-2) - [35-13 L]*
Week 5: @ Western Beaver (3-7) - [27-21 OTW]
Week 6: @ Shenango (1-9) - [42-14 W]
Week 7: vs. Riverside (6-4) - [21-7 L]*
Week 8: @ Mohawk (9-3) - [14-0 L]*
Week 9: vs. Brentwood (4-6) - [34-26 3OTW]
* Made playoffs in 2018
Breaking down the numbers, the Wolverines finished with a 3-7 (2-5) record best for 6th place in the 2A Midwestern Conference. Their opponents, six of which made playoffs in the WPIAL, finished with a combined 58-48 record or about a 55% win rate.
The Wolverines started the season against the Beaver Falls Tigers in a new schedule for the Wolverines including a Week Zero matchup. The Wolverines gave up a punt return right before halftime and were down 19-0 at half. Both teams agreed to rest their starters as the Wolverines could not stop the Tigers offense, losing 41-0. The Tigers would go on and lose to the Aliquippa Quips in the WPIAL semifinals in 3A.
Week One featured a new opponent for the Wolverines as they took on Serra Catholic. Both scores in the game came from the defense as the Wolverines offense were held in check, losing 24-14. Serra Catholic would go on and lose in the first round of the 2A WPIAL playoffs.
Week Three featured one of the tougher opponents in 2A for the Wolverines in the past as that tradition continued. The New Brighton Lions passed for almost 300 yards as the passing attack downed the Wolverines 30-13. New Brighton would go on to lose in the first round of the WPIAL 2A playoffs.
Week Four featured a homecoming game full of rain and lightning delays as once again the Wolverines secondary was crushed for 5 passing touchdowns, losing 35-13 on the evening. The Freedom Bulldogs would go on to share the MAC conference title, eventually losing in the semifinals of the WPIAL 2A playoffs.
Week Five spotted another new opponent for the Wolverines as they took on Western Beaver. The Wolverines dominated the entire game, but gave up two late scores as the Beavers forced overtime. The Wolverines took an early touchdown lead in the first overtime and were able to hold the Beavers on four downs to win their first game on the season and their first conference game in crazy fashion.
Week Six had the Wolverines taking on the other new foe from 1A ball last year in the Shenango Wildcats. The evening was all in favor of the Wolverines as they took the opening kickoff over 40 some yards into the Wildcats side of the field and would not be stopped on the first drive. All phases of the game were dominated by the Wolverines as they cruised to their second season and conference win 42-14.
Week Seven involved the cross-town rivalry as the next installment of the Riv-Ell Cup was on. The Wolverines defense held the Panthers to only 100 yards of offense in the first half, trailing just 7-0. The Wolverines could not get anything going after halftime, as they would end up losing to the Panthers 21-7. The Panthers would go on to lose in the first round of the WPIAL 2A playoffs.
Week Eight featured the other MAC conference title team in the Mohawk Warriors. Even though the Warriors dominated the Wolverines in time of possession and yardage, the Wolverines kept the game close until the fourth quarter. The Wolverines would end up losing to the Warriors 14-0. Mohawk would go on to lose in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL 2A playoffs.
Week Nine featured the Seniors’ last game in a Wolverine uniform as Senior night spotted a matchup against new foe Brentwood Spartans. Brentwood came into the game with the better record, but on paper, not the better team. The Wolverines put up some crazy numbers on the evening on both sides of the ball, but were not able to close out the game…in regulation. A late score by the Spartans forced overtime as the score read 14-14. First and Second overtime came and went, as both teams scored and missed extra point attempts, bringing the score to 26-26. The third overtime showed the maturity of the Wolverines secondary during the season as after the Wolverines offense scored a touchdown to make the score 34—26, the Wolverines defense deflected not one, but three passes. To finish off the game, Senior LB Rick Pitrelli picked off the fourth down pass to end the season with a huge victory.
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Below are some numbers from the 2018 season along with top performers from the season.
Averaged 27:21 TOP
Scored 156 Points (15.6 PPG)
122 first downs (versus 119 by opponents)
78 penalties for 635 Yards (7.8 for 63.5 per game)
24 turnovers (versus 25 by opponents)
397 rushes for 1568 yards (17 TDs)
60-131 passing for 656 yards (2 TDs)
2224 total yards (222.4 yards per game)
48 Tackles for loss (13 sacks)
Passing: Ryan Gibbons
58-121 passing for 630 yards (2 TDs)
Rushing: Donavin Chambers
184 carries for 799 yards (4 TDs)
Rushing: Rick Pitrelli
119 carries for 498 yards (8 TDs)
Receiving: Rick Pitrelli
18 receptions for 229 yards (1 TD)
Defense: Coulton Cunningham
98 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 Sack, 2 FR
In a year that only featured 3 wins, the wolverines kept several games close to end, losing 4 games by 14 points or less. The Wolverines featured three players that received MaxPreps awards, involving Donavin Chambers, Rick PItrelli, and Coulton Cunningham (all seniors). The Wolverines send off 14 seniors on December 9th at the Sons of Italy as they will take part in one of their last events, the 2018 Football Banquet.
Next year brings the exact same schedule and foes, with the only difference is the flipping of home and away games, barring a Week Zero matchup as well. The Wolverines will open up officially the 2019 season Week 1 game with a trip to Serra Catholic and will end the season with a long trip to Brentwood in Week 9.