SCA Stifles Lewisburg on Thursday Night
Tigers wrap up conference title
By: Dave Fegley (Twitter: @DFegs9)
One thing Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth knew for certain coming into a rare Thursday night game at Bucknell University was that Lewisburg was going to throw the ball early and often. “They threw the ball on us a lot last year, and we had a feeling that they weren’t going to be able to match up with us up front. They normally throw the ball a lot anyways, and I think they definitely thought that was their best chance against us,” Roth said. Green Dragon quarterback Trent Gower threw 17 times in the first quarter alone, 32 passes in total, and he found freshman wide receiver Dylan Farronato four times for 149 yards and two scores. The Lewisburg passing attack was effective when Gower had time to unload finishing with nearly 300 yards passing. However, that wasn’t close to being enough to make it a game against the high-powered Tigers in Southern Columbia’s 49-24 victory which gives them the Heartland Conference Division II Championship.
Lewisburg jumped out to an early 7-6 lead, but from there the Tigers outscored the Green Dragons 42-3 for the remainder of the first half. “All week we prepared for their passing attack and the way we shut down the run tonight it forced them to pass even more,” said SCA defensive back Billy Marzeski. Blake Marks rushed for three touchdowns in the opening half and the Tigers defense completely shut down Lewisburg’s ground game. “We didn’t break too many of the big plays likes we have been coming into this game, but the line did a nice job of helping us pick up three, four, or five yards each carry. That’s what won us the game by pounding it down their throats and keeping the chains moving until we reached the end zone,” Marks stated. It was the second time in as many weeks that the Tigers lethal offense scored 49 first half points.
Jared Torres was the change of pace back leading the team with a modest 66 rushing yards in helping set up the pass. “We go out each week and try to beat teams with our running game. We have a real strong group of runners and the line has been able to knock the other team’s defense off of the ball,” said Southern offensive lineman Aaron Kroh. Nick Becker had a very efficient first half for SCA by completing 10 of 11 passes for 104 yards while tying the school record for career completions on his last attempt. He threw touchdown passes to Steve Toczylousky and Hunter Thomas. Thomas also added a 78-yard kick return for a TD after Lewisburg kicked a 35 yard field goal to start the second quarter.
The momentum changer in the game was when Southern Columbia’s most experienced player, four year starting lineman Josh Yoder, went down with a leg injury. The game was paused for nearly 20 minutes as the paramedics brought out a gurney to take Yoder, who was in obvious pain, off of the field. “We won’t know his status until he goes through some tests, but hopefully it isn’t season ending. If he does receive unfortunate news then we will have to do something and make it work the best we can,” Roth said. Southern put the game into the Mercy Rule scoring on the next four possessions after the injury. The preliminary reports sound positive with rumors spreading after the game that nothing was broken, but more tests will follow in the upcoming week. “Josh is a big key on our line, and after he went down we wanted to rally behind him and pick up the win,” said Marzeski.
On defense, Austin Knepp blocked a punt and recovered it himself to set up the Tigers first score of the night. Gabe Delbo had a sack and a forced fumble that Knepp recovered in the second quarter to set up another touchdown. Chase Tillett, Nick Freeman, and Anthony Scicchitano each added sacks during the game with Marks and Andrew Haupt adding interceptions as well. “Billy Marzeski did a nice job in coverage on my interception and the pass bounced off of their guy’s chest. I was able to just kind of pick it up off of him as he fell to the turf,” said Marks. Southern’s defense limited Lewisburg to 11 rushes for negative-27 yards in total including the sacks from the blitzes that SoCo was sending in the first half.
The Green Dragons scored the only two touchdowns in the second half, but they did so with their starters playing most of the second half against the Southern reserves. Lewisburg also opted to kick onside after each score which didn’t leave the best taste in some of the Tiger player’s mouths. “Our younger kids do a good job of battling each week and competing, but it’s certainly tough when the other team keeps their starters in to make the score closer than the game actually is. By the end of the game it has our starters motivated to go out the next week and play smash mouth football,” Kroh said. Next Friday the Green Dragons will host Warrior Run and the undefeated Tigers will make the long trek to Central Mountain for a Heartland Conference crossover game.
SCA: 21-28-0-0 = 49
LBG: 7-3-0-14 = 24
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (8-0)
Blake Marks 8-31, 3 TDs; Jared Torres 7-66, TD; Hunter Thomas 5-38; Nic Fetterman 12-65; Jake Potter 3-17; Sami Abdul 7-32; Nick Becker 1-8; Dylan Kranzel 1-(-2)
Nick Becker 10-11-0, 104 yds, 2 TDs
Steve Toczylousky 2-13, TD; Cam Young 3-23, TD; Hunter Thomas 2-36, TD; Jared Torres 1-24; Blake Marks 2-8
1st DOWNS: 17
Dominick Farronato 4-0; A.J. Ramirez 2-(-2); Trent Gower 5-(-25)
Trent Gower 18-33-1, 290 yds, 2 TDs; Stone Hollenbach 2-3-1, 11 yds, TD
Matt Fedorjaka 5-56; Dylan Farronato 4-149, 2 TDs; Donte Malone 4-33; Noah Inch 3-47; James Richard 2-7, TD; Chase Prutzman 1-8; Trey Delbaugh 1-1
1st DOWNS: 11
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