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Mount Carmel shut out by Tigers

Written by: on Sunday, September 1st, 2019. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


CATAWISSA – Coming off a dominating performance against a two-time defending state champion on national television last Sunday, Southern Columbia, a two-time defending state champion in its own right, picked up right where it left off in South Carolina in its home opener on Saturday night.

The Tigers, who last lost a regular season game in 2011, dominated the one team that had even remotely tested them the last two years as they recorded their second straight shutout with a 48-0 win over Mount Carmel.

Southern, whose last regular season loss was to Mount Carmel in the second-to-last game of the 2011 season when most of the current players were in elementary school, racked up 387 yards of offense, including 311 on the ground. It’s defense, meanwhile, seldom gave Mount Carmel any space in which to work, as the Red Tornadoes were held to just 29 yards rushing and only 153 overall, as well as just five first downs – including just two in the first half – while sacking Mount Carmel quarterback Tom Reisinger four times.

“Our front was very good against the run and pass. We have enough speed with the front four that we can get pressure without blitzing and then when we do blitz, our linebackers are quick,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. “Our first two games we’re gone up against teams with veteran quarterbacks that have thrown the ball effectively and we just took them right out of the game.

“When we talk pass defense, we say we need to cover people but it’s probably more important to get pressure on the quarterback because that goes a long way to helping the secondary in coverage.”

Offensively, it was once again a balanced attack by the Tigers just as in Week 1. Gaige Garcia led the ground attack with 94 yards on 10 carries and a pair of touchdowns, while his younger brother Gavin, scored four touchdowns on five touches and finished with 86 yards. Julian Fleming hauled in four catches for 57 yards, including a 28-yard reception on Southern’s first play from scrimmage.

“I thought they threw the ball a little bit more than we expected, but I thought we would defend the run better than what we did,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah.

Fleming’s initial catch eventually led to Southern’s first score of the night on a two-yard run by Gaige Garcia. Mount Carmel went three-and-out again on its next drive, and Fleming then proceeded to return the punt 50 yards all the way to the Mount Carmel 4-yard line, from which Gavin Garcia punched it in one play later to put Southern up 14-0 less that midway through the first quarter.

Mount Carmel then forced back-to-back three-and-outs for the Tigers, but also went three-and-out on its ensuing possessions while struggling with field position. Southern then took a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter on Gavin Garcia’s second touchdown, this one from seven yards out with 11:28 left in the second quarter.

From that point, Southern would score on three of its next four possessions to take a 41-0 lead early in the third quarter. Gavin Garcia ripped off two long touchdown runs from 38 and 35 yards, and then Gaige Garcia added a 30-yard touchdown with 9:33 left in the third. Southern got a 58-yard interception return by Nick Zeigler to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“I think our offense executed a little bit better than we did last week,” said Roth. “The passing game looked a little bit better and I think that will continue to improve as Preston gets a little bit more comfortable with having that role as the starter and playing two ways as well.”

But the big story was again the Southern defense, which is yet to allow a point through the first two weeks of the season against two outstanding, championship-caliber teams. Of Mount Carmel’s 51 plays, only seven were run on Southern’s side of the field. Only three plays were run beyond the Southern 40.

“We just didn’t execute that well, especially early on. We had some protection breakdowns, which you can’t do against a really good team,” said Darrah. “They have a lot of speed and good players on defense so there’s not many holes. Especially early on, we just had a couple of busts in either communication or lack of execution and things like that put us behind the eight ball, so we need to clean that stuff up (moving forward).”

Southern Columbia 48, Mount Carmel 0
Mount Carmel (1-1)             0    0   0   0  –  0
Southern Columbia (2-0)   14  20   7   7 – 48

First quarter
9:21 – (SC) Gaige Garcia 2-yard run (Ethan Haupt kick), 5-49, 1:36
7:42 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 4-yard run (Haupt kick), 1-5, :04

Second quarter
11:28 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 7-yard run (kick failed), 5-42, :47
4:40 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 38-yard run (Haupt kick), 2-53, :16
1:01 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 35-yard run (Haupt kick), 3-61, :32

Third quarter
9:33 – (SC) Gaige Garcia 30-yard run (Haupt kick), 6-60, 2:27

Fourth quarter
8:45 – (SC) Nick Zeigler 58-yard interception return (Haupt kick)

MC                     SC
First downs                                 5                        21
Rushes-net yards                   24-29                  38-311
Passing yardage                      124                      76
Passing                                14-27-0-1             6-10-0-1
Fumbles-lost                            1-0                       2-0
Penalties-yards                       6-50                     7-65

RUSHING: Mount Carmel: Shane Weidner (11-15), Joey Bendas (6-43), Tom Reisinger (4-(-20)), Julien Stellar (1-1), Michael Reed (1-1), TEAM (1-(-11)); Southern Columbia: Gaige Garcia (10-94-2), Braden Heim (6-30), Wes Barnes (6-11), Gavin Garcia (5-86-4), Preston Zachman (4-46), Ty Roadarmel (3-19), Matt Masala (2-9), Julian Fleming (1-15), Brandon Gedman (1-1)
PASSING: Mount Carmel: Tom Reisinger (12-23-93-0-0), Julien Stellar (2-4-31-0-1); Southern Columbia: Preston Zachman (6-10-76-0-1)
RECEIVING: Mount Carmel: Noah Berkoski (4-75), Jack Chapman (3-9), Michael Balichick (2-27), Shane Weidner (2-4), Garrett Varano (1-6), Logan Wills (1-4), Dylan Pupo (1-(-1)); Southern Columbia: Julian Fleming (4-57), Liam Klebon (1-13), Gaige Garcia (1-6)

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