Tigers play role reversal from last year, shut out the Wolverines
Much change has come for the Ellwood City Wolverines in preparation for the 2018 season including those seniors who graduated, young guys filling roster spots, a new coach, new uniforms, new classification, new conference, and new fans. However, the struggle of playing valley teams and 3A football continued to hinder the Wolverines as they took the 41-0 shut out loss from the Beaver Falls Tigers last night.
With all these changes being made including an actual game during Week Zero, the Wolverines faced the same talent against the Tigers they have had for the past two years in the 3A Beaver Valley Conference. Even though the Tigers are in 3A classification, the 2A Midwestern Conference foe hasn't changed much as the Tigers are also now three years removed from the MAC conference.
But all these changes including the scheduled game that "does not matter" towards playoff implications, the game must be played. After last year's 28-0 shutout win for the Wolverines that included three interceptions with one that was returned for a touchdown, the Tigers flipped the card and pulled off their own shutout 41-0, including one of their own interception for touchdown play along the way.
Although the game did not go as planned for the Wolverines, there are a few takeaways from the game, good and bad, that they can use when they return back to 2A football action next week at home against the Serra Catholic Eagles - special teams play and defense.
New Head Coach Rob Magnifico emphasized special teams play during our preseason interview stating that last year was a okay, but not good enough. Special teams can easily play a role in the result of a game and in the final score, just as it did last evening. The Wolverines held the starters for the Tigers in check for most of the first half, only give up 150 yards at halftime, but more importantly 13 points against them until the last few seconds of the half. With 37 seconds left in the second quarter, the Wolverines were forced to punt to the speedy combination of Dayln Brickner and Amen Cottrill, leaving hope for the Tigers to possibly score before halftime. That hope turned into reality as Dayln Brickner followed his blockers as they filled the gaps for him to return the punt to the house, 69 yards and a quick six up on the board before halftime.
After the Brickner return, the Tigers went into the locker room with a 19-0 lead at halftime and did not look back in the second half, where the Tigers put up 22 more points to finish off the night winning the game 41-0. On a good note, both teams were able to see what depth they had as a mutual agreement between Coach Magnifico and Coach Nick Nardone had both teams subbing out starters for second and third string athletes as Week Zero only constitutes as an exhibition game for the season.
The big takeaway for the Wolverines from the game was defense - forcing turnovers, forcing mistakes, and keeping the Tigers offensive speed and agility to a minimum during the game. The Wolverines forced three turnovers, all via the fumble where each time the Wolverines were able to fall on the ball and secure the turnover. Also, the Wolverines held the Tigers to only 238 yards on the evening - although some will say that 238 yards is a decent yardage for a 48 minute game, having 41 points on the board should produce more yardage. But in the end, the Wolverines will utilize tape and film to fix certain issues, improve on offense and special teams, as they return to battle next week.
You can view the rest of the game results here: GAME STATS @ BEAVER FALLS
You can also check the game replay on our website or our Youtube Channel: WEEK ZERO @ BEAVER FALLS
Be sure to check in next week for our preview of Week One against Serra Catholic (Home). Give us a like, a follow, and subscribe to all our media pages today! #ECGOBLUE