Senior Strength

Golden Cougars’ Vets Have Team Off To Nice Start Heading Into Tonight’s Game Vs. Hillbillies

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer’s Robbie Penhollow has been lights-out in the first three games. P-J file photo

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer head football coach Joel Sopak knew that he had a special group of seniors this year. But special or not, it would have been hard for anyone to imagine just how strong the group has looked through the first three games of the season as the Golden Cougars have jumped out to a 2-1 start after dropping their opener to Randolph/Frewsburg.

“We have great senior leadership. We want to see where we can go,” Sopak said on Thursday evening while finishing up his preparation for tonight’s 7 p.m. non-league meeting with Class B Fredonia/Brocton (3-0) in Brocton.

Look no further than last week’s 50-21 victory over Allegany-Limestone.

No stranger to astonishing performances in this still-truncated season, Robbie Penhollow posted another one.

The night ended with 191 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 21 carries, 107 yards on six receptions, nine solo tackles, six assists, an interception and two successful two-point conversion runs.

His cohort and fellow senior captain, Connor Crabtree, followed suit to the tune of seven completions for 147 yards in addition to 120 yards on the ground with three scores.

“With Crabtree and Penhollow we have a two-headed monster,” said Sopak. “It’s tough for teams to defend, but we also want to be diversified.”

As good as the tandem has been through the early going, Sopak knows that anytime numbers like that start to turn up week after week, opposing coaches are going to take notice.

That will certainly be the case tonight with Greg Sherlock and the Hillbillies, who will be a stout test for the Class C Golden Cougars.

“We think they are going to be very similar to (Randolph/Frewsburg),” said Sopak. “They have a great tailback who I think had 240 yards and three scores last week. We think that they are going to pound the ball and we have to be ready for that. We are preparing our kids to be more physical.”

The back in question will be Joell Colon, who gouged the Eden defense for 243 yards and a trio of touchdowns in a Week 3 drubbing.

“They are big and physical and they have 19 seniors. We only have 26 on our squad,” said Sopak.

For Cassadaga Valley, this week of preparation has provided some unwelcome adversity in the form of illness and injury.

The Golden Cougars will be without senior Adam Colon, who has been a key piece of both the offensive and defensive lines.

“He’s had some difficulties with his knees and won’t be able to participate,” said Sopak. “We’ve been working on just improving week in and week out and trying to be more physical. Our offensive line has worked together well and they promote each other. They don’t get a lot of credit, but they’ve done a phenomenal job.”

Inclement weather is expected to enter the area late this evening, pushing some teams to move up their game times, but the Golden Cougars remained on schedule to begin at 7 p.m. at press time.