2017 Class 2A Coach of the Year, Jim Roth, Southern Columbia
Early on in the 2017 regular season, Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth became the youngest coach in Pennsylvania high school football history to win 400 games. Three months later, he became the first coach in Pennsylvania high school football history to win eight state championships. His Tigers went a perfect 16-0, winning 13 games in Mercy Rule fashion, and with all that success he has been selected as the 2017 EasternPAFootball.Com’s Coach of the Year. “As a staff, we felt that the players gave great effort all season long and they played as a team. Different players stepped up throughout the year and everyone was determined during the playoff run,” Roth said.
This is the third straight year that Roth has been chosen for the award. The Tigers won the 2015 state championship, were the state runner-up last season, and capped off an undefeated 2017 season. Southern Columbia didn’t trail at any point this season during the second half of any game. “I think losing in the state final last year really got the players motivated to come back and change the result this year which they were able to do,” said Roth. In the state final, Southern Columbia beat Wilmington 48-0 which was the largest margin of victory in Class 2A State Championship game history.
The Tigers scored 815 points this season which turns out to be the third most points scored ever in the history of PA high school football. The 51 points per game came with the starters sitting for the entire second half in over half of the games that the Tigers played this season. “We had really good balance this season with our running game and passing game. It makes it easier when a team can’t cheat to take away what your strengths are,” said Roth. SCA’s defense broke a school record for rushing yards allowed per game. The Tigers allowed only 57.1 rushing yards per game.
Roth will enter next season with a career record of 412-63-2, trailing the late George Curry for the most wins in state history by 43. Roth has the best winning percentage in state history of anyone who has coached for more than 20 years. Also, the Tigers head into 2018 riding a 61-game regular-season winning streak and, if the success of their strong now-sophomore class continues, SCA could break the state record of 78 in less than two years. “It was a great run by our seniors. They get to graduate as champions,” said the 34-year head coach.
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