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Thursday Night Football: Gators visit Crusaders

Elk County Catholic's Sam Kaul has rushed for 406 yards in three games. (Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick's work here)

ST. MARYS — Playing its second Thursday night game of the shortened season, the Elk County Catholic Crusaders host Port Allegany at Dutch Country Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The Crusaders are 1-2, coming off two straight losses to the IU9 Bubble Class 1A front-runners Smethport and Coudersport, losing to the Falcons, 39-20 last week. Port Allegany, meanwhile, searches for its first win. The Gators are also 0-3, losing 49-8 to Smethport last week.

Against Coudersport, the Crusaders found themselves in a 24-0 hole after the first quarter, then got it back to 32-14 by halftime. However, they couldn’t stop the Falcons who racked up 415 yards of offense led by quarterback Hayden Keck’s three touchdown runs and a TD pass.

ECC did move the ball with Sam Kaul running for 168 yards on 17 carries and two TDs, one of them a pass from quarterback Mason McAllister. Nick Crisp also ran for 86 yards on 23 carries with a second-half touchdown.

For the season, Kaul and Crisp have accounted for much of the team’s offense. Kaul has rushed for 406 yards on 35 carries while Crisp weighs in with 209 yards on 57 carries.

While the Crusaders gave up 39 points in two straight losses to the best two teams the past two weeks after opening with a 32-6 win over Cameron County, Port Allegany has struggled to stop teams as well, losing 60-6 to Coudersport while dropping a 40-30 shootout to Otto-Eldred in Week 2.

Most of the Gators’ offense has come from the passing game with sophomore Drew Evens throwing for 502 yards, completing 39 of 77 with two TDs and five interceptions. Trey Ayers (15-228, 2 TDs) and Noah Archer (13-156, 1 TD) are the top receiving targets. Blaine Moses (24-74, 2 TDs) is the team’s leading rusher.

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