Function of Beauty

Tigers Too Tough For Panthers.

By: Dave Fegley | SCA Tiger Football | September 2, 2017

Tigers Too Tough For Panthers.

Every high school football fan in District IV knew what Southern Columbia had coming back on offense this season. A running back in Gaige Garcia that broke the PIAA freshman rushing record last season, the top ranked receiver recruit in the country in sophomore Julian Fleming, the school’s single-season passing yardage record holder in junior quarterback Stone Hollenbach, and an offensive line that returns every starter from last year’s state championship game representative out of the east.

The defense may have felt that they weren’t getting the recognition that they deserved, and they have proved to be just as good, if not better, than the offense through two dominating weeks. “Our starting defense hasn’t given up a point now through two weeks. Last week against Shamokin, the backups gave up a late touchdown, and sometimes that can be a mismatch if the other team keeps their starters in,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. “This week Bloomsburg did a nice job of putting together some early drives, but our defense found ways to keep them out of the end zone.”

Garcia started out the scoring for the Tigers with a 30-yard touchdown run with 8:29 left in the first quarter. The defense then forced a 3-and-out that was spearheaded by two consecutive tackles behind the line of scrimmage by sophomore Cal Haladay. “I think we did a nice job of all hustling to the ball tonight. Our defense played well in all areas,” said Haladay who was all over the field in the first half. Fleming returned a punt on that series 66 yards to the three. Jeff Cox scored two plays later to make the score 14-0.

The third score of the opening quarter came on a 47-yard connection from Hollenbach to Fleming which was setup by a Blake Day interception. “All indications seemed to be pointing before the season that our secondary would be our weakest link. We are playing with the underdog mentality and trying to prove the doubters wrong,” said Day who is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss last season. Elijah Hoffman, who was perfect on PAT attempts, made the score 21-0.

In the second quarter, Hollenbach scored on a one yard sneak and then he found Fleming for a 12-yard touchdown pass. “We have a lot of different players that can contribute for us, and we have had success by being able to mix up with the run and pass to keep the opposing defensive units guessing,” said Roth. Fleming finished the opening half with four catches for 100 yards. The Tigers went to the locker room leading 35-0 with another Mercy Rule in place.

Southern’s starting offense was given one final series to start the second half before putting in the reserves. Garcia took advantage of the opportunity by scoring two plays into the drive on a 53-yard run. “Obviously our goal is to handle the opponent, but it does get frustrating at times only getting to play for half of the game. The more competitive games are more fun to play in because you prepare all week and want to compete,” said Garcia who finished with 131 yards on just 10 carries.

Tristan Heim scored the final touchdown of the game on a five yard run in the fourth quarter capping off the 49-0 onslaught. The win was the 53rd straight regular season victory for the Tigers. The Panthers will try to pick up their first win next week as they host Warrior Run. Southern will take on their top rival in Mount Carmel Area.

The Tigers and Red Tornadoes will both head into next week’s game with 2-0 records. To make the game even more appealing, it will be SCA’s first home game of the season and the first time playing on the newly remodeled Jim Roth Field. “I can’t wait for it. It’s always fun to play against your biggest rival. This year will be even better because it will be the first sporting event ever on the new turf,” said Garcia.