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Southern Holds on to Defeat Mount Carmel

Written by: on Saturday, October 30th, 2010. Follow Shawn Weller on Twitter.


CATAWISSA: Over the past fifteen seasons the match-up between the Red Tornadoes of Mount Carmel Area and the Tigers of Southern Columbia Area has become a classic rivalry. Both teams came into this latest contest with seven wins in the series and a 6-2 record on the season. One of these perennial powers was poised to tip the scales in their favor. In the last ten years Southern has held the advantage, and Friday night they were able to hang on for a 17-14 victory in a defensive struggle.

Strong defensive stands forced each team to punt the ball away twice to open the game, despite Mount Carmel taking possession in Southern territory both times. Late in the first quarter the Tigers were able to put together the first significant drive of the night primarily on the arm of quarterback Jake Townsend. He connected with Kieth Day for a first down near mid-field, then the pair hooked up again on a 3rd & 15 play which gained 27 yards down to the Mount Carmel 32. Two plays later a Jake Morton 30-yard touchdown screen pass was called back on a penalty. On the following snap however, Townsend found Cody Rosenberger on a 39-yard toss to the 1-yardline. Morton punched it in from there to put the Tigers up 7-0 with 37 seconds left in the opening quarter.

A few series later the Tiger defense forced a 4th & 20 after a group sack for a loss of 13 yards. On the ensuing punt a holding call against the Tornadoes gave Southern the ball at the MCA 41. It only took one play for Tyrell Thomas to find a seam a burst for a 41-yard touchdown as it looked like the Tigers were taking control of the game at 14-0 with 8:33 left in the first half.

To make matters worse for Mount Carmel, Eddie Stewart, their starting quarterback, was knocked out of the game with a knee injury on the next to the last play of the half. What many in the stands didn’t know at that time was that Southern had also lost a key player when Rosenberger was sidelined with a broken collarbone. The loss is the Tigers’ third starter to be knocked out for the season with an injury in what is arguably one of the most grueling schedules in the state.

If things looked bleak for the Red Tornadoes, nobody told sophomore replacement QB, Rob Varano. He calmly led his team onto the field to begin the second half, and , on the second play from scrimmage, Meyrick Lamb, turned the corner on a left sweep and raced for a 65-yard touchdown.

With a 14-7 score at 11:06 in the third, Southern knew they had to put up more points. A great kick return by Alex Fidler to the MCA 40 set the Tigers up with great field-position. After a 15-yard run by Thomas set up a 1st & goal at the seven, MCA’s defense stiffened. A false-start penalty and a sack forced a field-goal attempt. Despite a high snap and kicking into a stiff wind, Colton Yeick’s 30-yard kick found its mark and proved to be the difference in the game.

Strong running by Lamb and level-headed play by Varano enabled Mount Carmel to tack on another touchdown at 8:02 in the 4th, but it would not be enough as the Tiger defense held strong and the offense ran out the clock to pull out the win.

MOUNT CARMEL (6-3) looks to improve their standing in the District IV-AA playoffs next week as they host the Shamokin Indians (5-4) in the Coal Bucket Game.

SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (7-2) will see if they can take top seed in the District IV-A playoffs when they host last year’s AAA State Champion Selinsgrove Seals (6-3) who have won their last six in a row after a shaky 0-3 start to the season. District 11’s Pine Grove (7-2) could be of some help to the Tigers if they can up-end the Line Mountain Eagles (8-1) whose only loss was to Southern in the season opener to the tune of 49-20.

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3 Responses to “Southern Holds on to Defeat Mount Carmel”

  1. Jim Schrader says:


    Your review and analysis of the ‘point’ system is quite accurate and informative. For those who are unaware of how the ‘wins’ and ‘bonus’ points are applied I am sure it is helpful. However, as I pointed out the point system in this case, i.e. determining home field advantage between Southern and Line Mountain, has a flaw in as much as Southern has played not only AA and AAA teams, but teams with State rankings and playoff potential in their respective classifications. The two loses Southern experienced were to Danville and Lewisburg…two teams that have the potential of playing in Hershey. Even so, because of the ‘difficulty’ of the schedule and the relative success of those teams Southern played it has made up for its two losses to Line Mountain’s one (which was to Southern). So, while the points determine which teams get into the playoffs, when it comes to seeding/home field advantage, consideration should be given to ‘head to head’ competition if the point spread between the two teams is within a statistically significant differential…which was my point.

  2. Johnathan says:


    That’s where the bonus points come into play. At the conclusion of the regular season, bonus points are added. A team receive 10 points for every win that the team they beat has on their schedule before and after the first team defeats them. While the “win points” are related to the classification of the school and that of the opponent, the “bonus points” are not. The bonus points are not related to team classifications.

    So in short, if the opponents of SCA have more wins than the opponents of Line Mountain, SCA will score more bonus points.

  3. Jim Schrader says:

    Every system of determining rankings has its flaws. While, the point system used to determine playoff standings has for the most part shown to be accepted by most, as evidenced by the little amount of ‘tweaking’ done to it over the years, this current situation could reveal a serious weakness. Southern indeed has one of the toughest schedules in the State, relative to its school size. Furthermore, they defeated Line Mountain in ‘head to head’ competition…yet it is very possible that Line Mountain could receive top ranking going into district playoffs.

    It seems to me that if two teams are vying for top seeding in the playoffs consideration should be given to the winner if the two met during the regular season and they are within a statistically significant point spread differential.

    With regards to injuries, to lose a key player on a high school team can be significant…to lose three players can be downright devastating. Credit must be given to Coach Roth and his staff, the system, as well as the preparation and dedication of the players to have accomplished so much this year. Southern has faced adversity in the past and rose above it and pulled together to achieve greatness. The character of the team, which is a direct reflection of values instilled by coaches, school, community, and families has already demonstrated their championship caliber.

    It would be shameful to have such dedication, determination, teamwork, a challenging schedule, and success on the field be negated by a point system that does not recognize head to head competition.

    Once before Southern was the victim of a flawed system that was far worse…it allowed South Williamsport into the state playoffs and left SCA out in the cold. That situation led to changes in the way teams are selected for playoffs. Perhaps, once again, Southern will be involved in a situation that will be the impetus for improving upon the current system.

    Regardless, knowing of Coach Roth and his leadership, he will rise above it and instill the same attitude in those around him.

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