COUDERSPORT - "You've got a cardiac arrest coming soon."
Sheffield head coach Dave Fitch's first words after the Wolverines' 21-20 back-and-forth victory over AML North rival Coudersport Friday.
You can't blame him; it's the second straight week the Wolverines have won a division game in which they were picked to lose - by some.
"I love these guys," said Fitch. "This team is becoming a brotherhood, and it's pretty special. They wanted to have a big game next week.When was the last time, at Sheffield, that the Homecoming game meant anything, other than a good day?"
Trailing the Falcons 20-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Fitch took the halftime advice from his interior linemen and starting pounding the ball up the middle with Jereek Jackson and Dustin Holden. The 14-play, 6:26 drive was capped off when a nine-yard Adam Higby pass connected with Jackson for the go-ahead score, giving the Wolverines the one point edge.
"We come out in the second half, and we pretty much marched right downfield, running basic dive up the middle stuff," Fitch said. "Between Dustin and Jereek, and Kipper (Brandon Kipp) and Noah (Heeter) blocking in the backfield."
Holden led Sheffield with 110 yards rushing while Jackson finished the game with 107 total yards and three touchdowns.
Sheffield's Ricky Prosen was able to pick off Coudersport quarterback Ethan Hite with just over two minutes left in the game. However, the Falcons defense held strong and Sheffield was forced to turn the ball over on downs with 1:53 left on the clock.
A pass interference penalty put Coudersport in prime position to regain the lead with 30 seconds left to play. The Falcons had the ball at the 11-yard line, on second down, when Ethan Hite was hit in the backfield and coughed up the ball, which was recovered by Sheffield's Heeter, sealing the Wolverine victory.
"Defensively, we had a couple great big stands, but none bigger than that last one," said Fitch.
Sheffield dominated the Falcons in turnovers, intercepting Hite three times and forcing four fumbles, three of which were recovered by the Wolverines.
Sheffield improves to an AML North-best 2-0 (3-2 overall). Otto-Eldred will travel to Wolverine Mountain next week for Sheffield's Homecoming, after their first win of the season, 12-0, over Port Allegany on Friday.
"A win next week would put us in the driver's seat for the AML North title," said Fitch. "These guys are believing... They're buying."
C-Ethan Hite 3 run, :23 (Conversion failed)
S-Jereek Jackson 86 run, 7:57 (Jimmy Vile kick)
C-Coy Hoffman 14 run, 1:25 (Camryn Langworthy pass from Hite)
S-Jackson 8 run, 1:46 (Vile kick)
C-Hoffman 10 pass from Hite, 9:29 (Conversion failed)
S-Jackson 9 pass from Adam Higby, 3:03 (Vile kick)
RUSHING-Sheffield, Dustin Holden 15-110, Jackson 15-71 2TD, Higby 6-26, Noah Heeter 1-4; Coudersport, Zac Elenchin 12-32, Hoffman 10-26, Hite 6-25 TD, Brock Wilson 2-(-)1.
PASSING-Sheffield, Higby 8-16-60 2INT TD; Coudersport, Hite 11-20-164 3INT TD.
RECEIVING-Sheffield, Jackson 2-36 TD, Vile 2-17, Heeter 1-5, Brandon Kipp 1-2, Tommy Reeves 2-0; Hoffman 10-134, Waterman 1-30.