Wolverines cannot cap off drives, Eagles passing game prevails
Serra Catholic came into play with a roster size of only 26 players, but that is all they needed as each player had one goal in mind: when on the field, go full out. Friday night showed just that as several key players stepped up to the challenge of traveling over an hour and a half from McKeesport to Ellwood City to take on the Wolverines.
The Eagles, who wore white and red-trimmed jerseys, started the game off on the right foot holding the Wolverines to only one first down on the opening drive of the game while in return were able to finish off their opening drive with a 55 yard passing touchdown by quarterback Patrick Brennan to star wide-out and go-to-guy Matt Ulishney. The extra point by Nik Fedora was good and the Eagles were up 7-0 only 3 minutes into the game.
The Wolverines did manage to keep the Eagles in check the rest of the first quarter as time wind down to the start of quarter 2, reading 7-0 Serra Catholic.
The second quarter was more of the first quarter as both teams had the ball 3 times on offense and could not bolster any offensive points. However, the Wolverines defense stepped up again in quarter 2 as a bad snap by the Eagles led to the running back fumbling the ball. Linebacker Rick Pitrelli picked up the rock and took the ball back 30 yards to pay dirt to bring the Wolverines within a point with 5:44 to play before halftime. Kicker Colin Smith attempted the PAT and was successful, tying our game at 7-7. The last 5 minutes saw both teams have an opportunity to add to the scoreboard but a pair of fumbles by both teams led to the teams just running out the clock to end the first half in a tie.
The third quarter on the night had several wacky plays and results, but most favored the Eagles. The first score in quarter 3 came from the Eagles as Patrick Brennan scrambled around the line of scrimmage before breaking down the Wolverines defensive coverage, throwing a 28 yard touchdown pass to wide open Ryan Andrekanic in the endzone. The PAT was good by Fedora as the Eagles led 14-7.
Just 2 minutes later the Eagles added another score, but this time from one of those wacky plays mentioned - the Eagles defense held the Wolverines to a three and out and forced a punt. Rick Pitrelli received the low snap on the punt and unfortunately punted the ball right into the back of his own player. The ball rolled back 9 yards to the 15 as the Eagles defender Khalil Smith picked up the ball and returned the ball for the touchdown. PAT by Fedora was good and all of the sudden the Eagles led 21-7 with just 2 minutes left in quarter 3.
While the Eagles now had a 14 point lead, the Wolverines defense continued to battle to try and give their offense a chance in the game. Although the Wolverines offense could not find a way to finish off drives, the turnover-hopeful defense found another way to add to the scoreboard. Just before the end of the third quarter, the Wolverines picked up another fumble by the Eagles, this time linebacker Coulton Cunningham picked up the ball and returned the ball 36 yards into the endzone. This was another wacky play as there was a question of whether or not Cunningham was across the endzone as one of Eagles players (Ulishney) came back to the play and actually stripped the ball. However, the refs came to a conclusion that Cunningham crossed the plane of the endzone before losing the ball as the Wolverines went into the fourth quarter trailing 21-14 as the PAT was good again by Smith.
The fourth quarter was one of back-and-forth play as both teams combined for 5 drives that resulted in no touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Gibbons and company tried on three drives to tie the game, but the Eagles defense made enough plays at the right time to limit the Wolverines to just 28 yards in the fourth quarter. The lone points scored in the fourth quarter was by the Eagles kicker Fedora who kicked a 35 yard field goal for the last points on the night, making the final score 24-14.
The Wolverines 0-2 (0-0) will now look to Week 2 in the WPIAL as they take on New Brighton 0-2 (0-0) at the Lions den. We will have coverage of next week's game on our website and our media pages. Be sure to check in on our website www.ecwolverines.com around 6:50 for the live video and stat stream. Below are statistics from the Week 1 game.