FOOTBALL: Wolverines respond with big victory

ST. MARYS – Friday night’s game against Elk County Catholic did not start the way Sheffield intended it to, but the Wolverines were able to turn it around early enough to pull out a win over the Crusaders, 27-16.

“We handled adversity this week totally opposite than we did last week,” said Sheffield head coach Dave Fitch. “We gave up a safety, multiple fumbles in key situations, just like last week. The only difference is, from preaching it all week, the kids believed in themselves, believed they could do it.”

Jereek Jackson started, what would become a big night for him, with an early interception off Elk County quarterback Andy Gebauer. But Sheffield’s momentum was abruptly halted Crusaders’ Cory Huff sacked Sheffield quarterback Adam Higby for a first quarter safety. Shortly into the second, Jonathan Dippold added seven more with a one yard score to put Elk County ahead 9-0.

Higby responded quickly on the following drive, connecting with Ricky Prosen for a 24 yards, Tommy Reeves for 16, and then Prosen again for an 10 yard leaping touchdown.

After trading touchdowns, and well into the third quarter, Elk County had the lead 16-15, and that is when Jereek Jackson broke free. From their own 21 yard line, on second and ten, Jackson’s speed took over as blew past the Crusaders for a 79 yard score.

“We’ve been bringing him along,” said Fitch. “That play, we’ve scored on multiple times in scrimmage, and knew we had it in us if we blocked it right. It was perfect right down the line. And of course you can’t coach speed.”

Following a Tommy Reeves sack, Elk County was forced to punt to none other than Jackson, who would strike again with his speed for a 62 yard punt return for a touchdown. This was more than just a score to Fitch however.

“The punt return was huge,” Fitch said. “Putting us up by two touchdowns, we were able to do some things defensively and run the ball, and just kill the clock.”

From the rough start to the exciting final minutes, Fitch is optimistic as to where this team can go throughout the rest of the season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids” Fitch said. “That’s the youngness in us. It takes us a couple weeks to gel and mesh, and we are getting there. We’ve seen big improvements tonight. But we are still not where we will be four or five weeks into the season. Our weapons are big. We can run, throw short or long passes, and of course we have speed when we need it.”