Tigers Take Over Silver Bowl.
By: Dave Fegley | SCA Tiger Football | September 1, 2018
By: Dave Fegley | SCA Tiger Football | September 1, 2018
By: Dave Fegley (9-1-18)
Mount Carmel Area had to feel like they were in a pretty good position late in the second quarter on their home field. With under three minutes left in the half, they were trailing the state’s top-ranked team by a slim margin of 7-0, and Southern Columbia couldn’t get anything going on the ground. “We definitely will be emphasizing our offensive line play in the upcoming week of practice, but Mount Carmel might have the best defensive front we will see all season,” said Southern coach Jim Roth.
The Tigers, who consistently seem to break off long run after long run, only had one rush of 20+ yards in the game. That came on a touchdown by freshman Gavin Garcia when he scored from 24 yards out with 10:20 left in the second quarter for the game’s first score. “They came into the game wanting to definitely stop our run game, and they were successful in doing that. That’s why it is so important to have balance on offense and be able to both run and throw the ball when one of them is struggling,” Tigers quarterback Stone Hollenbach said.
There’s a reason though that Southern Columbia has made three consecutive PIAA State Championship game appearances. That one touchdown lead turned in the blink of an eye. The Tigers quickly pushed their lead to 20-0 thanks to two touchdown grabs by Tiger star Julian Fleming over the final 2:38 of the first half. Those late touchdowns helped make up for the Tigers surprisingly lackluster performance in the run game. “It definitely felt like an unsatisfying win. We had many more things that we could have capitalized on, but thankfully we got the passing game going,” Fleming said.
Both of the junior’s touchdown catches were set up with great starting field position due in large part to Mount Carmel mistakes in their punting department. Fleming’s first touchdown came from 16 yards out just two plays after the Red Tornadoes shanked a punt out of their own end zone. His second was a four yard catch three plays after another miscue deep in MCA territory. This time, Mount Carmel’s punter mishandled the snap and barely got the kick off before it went a mere six yards.
A 20-0 halftime lead would be more than enough for the Tigers to win their 63rd straight regular season game. Southern Columbia’s defense was in control all night. They held the Tornadoes run game in check and the pass defense showed some improvement from last week. “Our defensive wasn’t giving them much of anything which was key since our offense was struggling to move the ball consistently early on,” said Roth. Sophomore Jake Davis had his first career interception which was the only turnover in the game.
The Tigers went up 27-0 early in the third quarter on a touchdown pass of 19 yards from Hollenbach to Gaige Garcia. After the Tornadoes scored their lone touchdown of the game on a four yard run by senior John Ayres on the next series, Gaige Garcia caught a 45-yard pass and finished it off with a three yard run on the next play to make the score 34-7 with 3:32 left in the third quarter. “We have a lot of different guys that can produce, and Gaige is obviously one of the main ones. He’s known as an outstanding runner but can hurt you with his catching as well,” Fleming said.
The game’s final touchdown came with 1:17 left in the third quarter. After Fleming had a 61-yard punt return touchdown called back due to a block in the back that was away from the play, he caught a short pass from Hollenbach and took it 66 yards to the house to extend the lead to 41-7. “It was vital to get our passing game going. We have some knew starters at different spots that are still getting the feel of varsity football, so it’s important to be able to do a combination of things,” Fleming said.
Although Fleming finished his night with seven catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns, the night from a historical perspective belonged to Hollenbach. The senior quarterback broke Nick Becker’s record of 4,867 career passing yards. “It feels good to have a record at such a historical program like Southern Columbia with how successful the school has been,” said Hollenbach. Not only did he break the career record, but he actually also set the Tigers single game passing record in the process. His 296 passing yards set the new mark. “We have an exceptional number of skill guys that can produce. It’s kind of unfair in a way,” said the QB that is now 33-1 in his career as a starter.
The Tigers now have twice as many wins as the Tornadoes in this backyard rivalry. In the 24 matchups, Jim Roth’s squads are 16-8. His Tigers head home next week to host the Selinsgrove Seals. Mount Carmel will make their first road trip of the season when they travel to Lewisburg. “We just have to rebound and see what we are made of. Obviously Southern is a great team with a lot of weapons, but now that is over with. Lewisburg will be a tough road test for us,” MCA coach John Darrah said.
SCA: 0-20-21-0 = 41
MCA: 0-0-7-0 = 7
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (2-0)
Gaige Garcia 15-62, TD; Gavin Garcia 7-33, TD; Ty Roadarmel 6-7; Stone Hollenbach 3-23; Nate Crowl 2-8; Braden Heim 2-7; Brandon Gedman 1-2
Stone Hollenbach 15-22-0, 296 yds, 4 TD’s
Julian Fleming 7-113, 3 TD’s; Gaige Garcia 3-70, TD; Preston Zachman 3-70; Ty Roadarmel 1-39; Gavin Garcia 1-4
First Downs: 15
MOUNT CARMEL AREA (1-1)
John Ayres 9-40, TD; Julien Stellar 4-25; Tyler Owens 2-16; Tanner Karycki 5-10; Shane Weidner 10-11; Tom Reisinger 3-9; Dylan Pupo 2-9; Noah Berkoski 1-1
Tom Reisinger 7-17-1, 87 yards
Avery Demko 3-42; Jack Chapman 2-21; Shane Weidner 1-15; Logan Wills 1-9
First Downs: 6