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40 Teams in 40 Days – Day 37 – Southern Columbia (4) – Small School Team # 2

Written by: on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014. Follow Dave Fegley on Twitter.

 

southern_columbia2Written by:  Dave Fegley (@dfegs9) on Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The Tigers have moved up to Class AA this year for the first time in school history. The Tigers still have the advantage against virtually any team they face with Jim Roth on the sidelines for his 31st season as the head coach of the Tigers. As a matter of fact, he will have the most impressive resume no matter who his team faces this year because Southern Columbia has won more district titles and state championships than any other school during his tenure. Roth did say however that the district playoffs will certainly be more challenging this year. With the move to AA, the field expands from four to eight teams.

 

Offensive Preview:

Luke Rarig returns for his senior year as a do-everything type player that led to him earning all-state honors as a junior. “He provides us with the threat of a deep pass and helps with the offensive balance,” said Roth. Rarig caught 37 passes for over 700 yards last season and eight touchdowns to lead the team in all categories. When he wasn’t catching passes, he also opened up the running game because teams would double cover him which took another man out of the box. Rarig also has a leaping ability that allows him to come down with pretty much any pass in his vicinity regardless of how good the coverage is.

Junior quarterback Nick Becker will return as the starter after having a solid season a year ago. Becker passed for 1,699 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was also pretty accurate by completing nearly 60% of his passes. He will try to drop his interception count this upcoming season after getting picked off eight times as a sophomore. Roth noted that Becker has attended some summer camps and has worked hard in lifting and speed training. With his size, strength, and ability to get in the open field, the Tiger quarterback can also help the team by running more this season.

The Tigers lost their top rusher from last season due to graduation. Adam Feudale led the charge last year with 1,552 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. The only returning starter in the backfield will be junior Blake Marks, but he won’t return until mid-season after suffering an injury in a seven-on-seven passing scrimmage this summer. Marks showed that he was a versatile player last season by rushing for 577 yards and nine touchdowns and also catching five additional TD passes. Roth isn’t overly concerned, however because he feels the team has other talented backs to fill the role. “Matt Jeremiah, Brad Noll, Hunter Thomas, and Billy Marzeski all have some experience and should enable us to have a strong running game,” Roth said. All four have looked impressive during the scrimmages Southern has had the past two weeks.

“Our main concern was having to replace three offensive linemen, but they should be a solid group after seeing the way they performed in the first scrimmage against Shikellamy” said Roth. The two returning starters have a ton of experience on the line. Senior Trent Donlan is a four year starter and junior Josh Yoder will start for the third year in a row.

 

Defense Preview:

The Tigers secondary should be their strong point on the defensive side of the ball, and their star may have found himself a nickname given by some local radio voices. If it’s “Revis Island” in the NFL for the Patriots shutdown corner, the name “Rarig Island” could work well in District IV. Rarig will be the leader on defense as well at his cornerback position. “We can lock Luke on the other team’s top receiver,” Roth said. Rarig led the team with five interceptions and eleven pass break-ups a season ago. The other corner will be Mike Klebon who also started last season and had two interceptions of his own in his first varsity season after showing tremendous growth throughout the year. The safety will be junior Steve Toczylousky who has a nice size frame and the body type to be physical in stopping both the pass and run.

The Tigers defensive question mark would have to be in their line-backing group just based on the fact that they lost a lot of talent a season ago. “The biggest concern on defense will be replacing three of the four linebackers,” stated Roth. Blake Marks and Brad Noll each shared time at the one outside linebacker position last year. One of the inside linebackers that graduated, Cody Pavlick, was a two-time all state selection for the Tigers.

Donlan will be one of the Tigers two-way players as he will return to start at defensive tackle and has the potential to have a tremendous year at the position. Chase Tillett will also return at defensive end after a nice sophomore campaign. “A challenge is trying to fill the positions on defense without having too many two-way players,” Roth said. Gabe Delbo and Yoder will look to add depth on the defensive line even though they are both offensive players.

 

Special Teams Preview:

One thing that the Tigers have done over the past decade has been having a soccer player do the kicking for the team. This year looks like the trend will continue with another soccer player handling the duties. “Tyler Keiser will be doing some of the kicking to limit some of Rarig’s plays on special teams,” Roth said. Rarig will however most likely be the punter at least until Marks returns from injury. Rarig, Marzeski, Thomas, and Cam Young will be the return men for the Tigers this season.

 

Head Coach: Jim Roth (31st season)

2013 Record: 12-1 (5-0 conference): Heartland Conference & District IV Champions

2014 Schedule

 

Key Losses: 

FB Adam Feudale

OL Josh Tripp

LB Cody Pavlick

LB Robert Delbo

 

Offensive Players Returning: (6)

QB Nick Becker

WR Luke Rarig

RB Blake Marks

OL Trent Donlan

OL Josh Yoder

TE Gabe Delbo

 

Defensive Players Returning: (6)

DL Trent Donlan

DL Chase Tillett

LB Blake Marks/Brad Noll (rotated)

CB Luke Rarig

CB Mike Klebon

 

Key Newcomers:

FB Matt Jeremiah

RB Hunter Thomas

RB Billy Marzeski

S Steve Toczylousky

 

Projected Starters:

Offense:

QB Nick Becker

FB Matt Jeremiah

RB Blake Marks

RB Brad Noll

RB Hunter Thomas

RB Billy Marzeski

WR Luke Rarig

TE Gabe Delbo

OL Trent Donlan

OL Josh Yoder

OL Grayson Belles

OL Jason Vought

OL Aaron Kroh

OL Charles Wertman

Defense:

DL Trent Donlan

DL Chase Tillett

DL Gabe Delbo

DL Josh Yoder

LB Billy Barnes

LB Brad Noll

LB Blake Marks

LB Matt Bell

LB Billy Marzeski

LB Ross Crowl

CB Luke Rarig

CB Mike Klebon

S Steve Toczylousky

 

Key Stat: Last season the Tigers two inside linebackers, Cody Pavlick and Robert Delbo, combined for 254 tackles. The two Tigers that return from last year’s team with the most tackles are Noll and Rarig. The two combined for 94 tackles.

 

2014 Outlook:  The regular season will be more challenging for the Tigers this season to help prepare them for the district playoff bracket. The first half of the regular season should be less difficult than the second half which will play in the Tigers favor with Marks out for a few weeks. A question mark will be who will step up on the outside to help Rarig in the receiving game. Becker has had another offseason to work on timing with the new group of receivers which should lead to some exciting plays downfield. The breakout performer this season could come out of the backfield as all of the running backs have showed the ability in the preseason to elude tacklers and turn on the motor in the open field. The pass defense should be solid from the first snap, and with time, the rush defense should progress to top notch form as a typically talented defense does at Southern. The key is developing the confidence of the newcomers up front especially after watching them struggle stopping Montoursville’s running game in the second scrimmage. The toughest game for the Tigers in the regular season could be in week 10 when they host Selinsgrove. Another potential test could be at rival Mount Carmel in week six.

 

Prediction: Southern Columbia will defeat a team they don’t play in the regular season, Loyalsock, to win their first ever District IV AA Championship. It’s hard to judge how the team will fair after that as they have never played in the AA state playoff field. They could potentially meet up with a very athletic and talented West Catholic squad in the eastern side of the state playoffs. If the team stays healthy, the Tigers should have another successful season that they hope doesn’t end until around Christmas time.

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Leave a Reply

One Response to “40 Teams in 40 Days – Day 37 – Southern Columbia (4) – Small School Team # 2”

  1. Jack Snyder says:

    Good infomation for upcoming season. Lets hope that Blake is ok. He is a class kid. Rarig may be the best athlete to play at SCA. Must be a tough kid to to come back so quickly from his his injury.Is Barnes the wrestler? Go Tigers!



Dave