Southern Columbia outruns Jersey Shore, 31-3
Steve Roth and Sam Springer combined for over 230 yards rushing with three touchdowns, and the Tigers simply outplayed the Bulldogs in a 31-3 victory at Thompson Street Stadium.
Southern (3-0) didn’t need to make a comeback like the Class A team did against Montoursville one week ago. It came down to the big plays for the Tigers, which couldn’t get out of its own territory in the first quarter.
Three separate drives led to points and a quick, 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
“They were playing real physical and were flying around and were well prepared for the game,” Tiger head coach Jim Roth said. “They were doing a good job against our offense and on our plays. I have to give them credit for holding us down. On our side of the ball, I credit our guys for working through it. We spent time on the sideline talking to them about making adjustments and so forth. Eventually, we made some big plays and got more consistent with the offense and put points on the board. It was a nice win.”
Springer hit paydirt first for Southern on a 49-yard reversal play that was executed perfectly. After holding the Bulldogs (1-2) to their own 36-yard line, the Tigers went 74 yards on two plays as signal-caller Jeremy Campbell threw a bullet up the middle to Matt Miller for the 65-yard score. Campbell ended the night 7-of-14 with 149 yards and one TD.
Up 14-0, Southern tacked on another tally with 6:09 remaining in the first half. Steve Roth got the call this time, and the senior darted up the middle from 49-yards out for paydirt.
Down 21-3 at the half, Steve Eck’s team was a bit shell-shocked. The Bulldogs’ run game was nearly nonexistent as the experienced defensive line of Southern held the orange and black to only 72 yards on the ground. In the air, junior QB Taylor English was held to just 50 yards.
“Three big plays. That seems to be our problem all year is those plays,” Eck said. “We play tough, then we let them run right down the middle of the field. We had three guys missing over there on the sidelines, and they end up running over there for the touchdown. Our kids are playing hard. Right now, things aren’t clicking and we are giving up the big plays.
“Offensively, the game plan didn’t work and that’s my fault. We tried to throw the ball down the field, and that’s not our game. We’re going to scrap that garbage and go back to running the ball and throwing the ball short. We’ll get out there on Monday and get after it.”
Shore’s best chance of the game to hit the end zone was late in the second quarter when three pass interference plays put the Bulldogs into Southern’s red zone with a little less than minute to play. On first-and-goal, English was sacked, and Shore was held to a mere field goal before halftime.
“Our schedule is such that there aren’t going to be too many breathers,” Jim Roth said. “We kind of challenged the players to play a good, physical football game. I think they did that for the most part. Defensively, it was a great sign to see a team play as well as they did against a team that throws the ball like (Jersey Shore) did. Teams left on our schedule are going to throw the ball like that and have had success doing that. For the defense to play like they did like that against a team that has had a lot of success the past two games throwing the ball, it was a great sign.”
In the second half, it was mostly Southern gaining ground.
A 14-play, 80-yard drive by the Tigers ended with a 15-yard Springer touchdown run in the third quarter, giving Southern a 28-3 lead with one stanza to play. Bryan Snyder, Jr. added a 22-yard field goal in the fourth to cap the scoring for the Tigers.
“They run, run, run and throw,” Eck said. “We were playing man and did a great job covering, and then for one play he forgot and let them run right by into the backfield. That kid can throw the ball, and they run so much that they can catch you by surprise. We knew we could do that, but we just thought we could stop them.
“They run that offense very well, and they take it to you. I think they did wear us down some. There’s no doubt about that. We just have to come back. At 1-2, the season is certainly salvageable at this point.”
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