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Southern Columbia routs Jersey Shore, 56-14

Written by: on Saturday, October 5th, 2019. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


JERSEY SHORE – When teams win in as dominant a fashion as Southern Columbia has been doing this year, it can sometimes become nitpicky for observers to look for things that the team does wrong or for potential shortcomings.

There were a couple of such nitpicky things that one could have gotten out of Southern’s 56-14 win over Jersey Shore on Friday. But even though the Tigers’ coaching staff will likely use those things to help the team further improve as it heads into what should be a couple of relatively tougher games over the next few weeks and beyond, Southern’s win on Friday proved that it is just head and shoulders above the rest of the teams on its schedule this year, at least to this point.

“This is one of the better teams we’ve played and we came out and played well on both sides of the ball,” said Roth. “We would have liked to have played maybe a little bit better pass defense but they’re a pretty good team. On one hand, you look at it like we can still give our guys something to work toward and look at that we can do better, but at the same time realistically, you’re not going to make every play 100 percent because you’re playing a good team.”

Taking on the defending District 4 Class 4A champions who seem headed for the top seed in the class 4A playoffs again this year, Southern scored on its first four and five of its first six possessions to take a 35-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.

However, for the first time this year, Southern’s first team defense gave up a score and it came in the first half, also a first on the season. The play, a 19-yard screen pass from Tanner Lorson to Anthony Shaffer, cut Southern’s lead to 49-6 with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter. Even though Southern’s impressive defensive streak came to an end, the nature of the play that broke the streak was largely because Jersey Shore had to abandon the run early, not just due to the score but due to Southern’s stout run defense.

Southern held Jersey Shore to an astounding -57 rushing yards in the game. Of the Bulldogs’ 15 total rushing plays, all but one of which came in the first half, 13 went for losses, and just one went for positive yardage.

“They were like a sea of black and gold coming after us (in the running game),” said Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish. “They don’t wait for someone to try to block them. They just react and go tackle the ball carrier and beat many blocks and they’ve got 11 guys flying at all the proper angles.

“Hats off to them. They’re well-coached in every aspect of football. We wish them the best. They bring a lot of extra attention to our district and the Heartland Conference, but we’ll learn from this experience and we can only get better from it.”

“You’re up 49-0 at the time, and I think it was just a little bit of a letdown. You can go in and say you have to play at your highest level each play regardless of the score but let’s face it. These are high school kids and look how many weeks in a row we’ve had huge scores and for a little bit of complacency to happen on a couple of plays, it’s understandable,” said Roth. “Now, I’m not going to give them a free pass on it but realistically, that’s what you’re dealing with.”

The lack of success in the running game led Jersey Shore to throw the ball early and often. Lorson threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28-of-42 passing. Over half of that – 155 – came in the first half against Southern’s first team.

“Their quarterback is probably as accurate and as mobile as anybody we’ll see all year. He can move around, he throws well on the run and he put a ton of balls on the money tonight,” said Roth.

While Jersey Shore had a bit of success at times offensively, the Bulldogs were unable to do anything to slow down the Tigers’ juggernaut of an offense. Southern only had to run a total of 12 plays on their first five scoring drives combined.

Gaige Garcia returned the opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a penalty. While having such a score taken off the board would demoralize some teams, Southern proceeded to need just four plays to find the end zone when quarterback Preston Zachman took a keeper down the left side for a 52-yard touchdown run.

Zachman then hit Fleming for a 21-yard scoring reception on Southern’s next drive, which they started at the Jersey Shore 21 thanks for a fumbled snap on a punt by the Bulldogs. Gavin Garcia then burst loose up the middle and then down the right sideline for a 43-yard scoring run on the second play of Southern’s next drive.

Older brother Gaige then burst loose himself for a 78-yard touchdown run on the second play of Southern’s next drive to make it 28-0. Zachman then found a mismatch in pass coverage on the Tigers’ next drive as he found Gaige Garcia on a smaller defender and turned that into a 48-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the drive to make it 35-0.

Back-to-back one-play scoring drives extended the lead to 49-0 early in the second quarter as Ty Roadarmel went up the middle largely untouched for a 46-yard run, and then Zachman found Fleming again on just a simple route with about a eight-yard throw, which Fleming turned into a 58-yard touchdown reception.

Jersey Shore then scored its touchdown but missed the extra point, and Southern answered right back with its longest drive of the night in terms of plays, as this one went seven plays, all runs, and ended with Gavin Garcia’s second touchdown of the night, this one from six yards.

Of Southern’s eight total scoring drives, three were single plays, two took just two plays, one took three plays and another four, the longest of which took just 1:39. Southern’s final touchdown of the game capped a seven-play, 65-yard drive that took 3:08 and made it 56-6 with 1:20 left in the first half.

It was another very efficient night for Southern’s offense, as the Tigers amassed 575 yards of offense, including 401 rushing, on just 45 plays (12.8 per play). Gaige Garcia finished with 125 and a rushing touchdown to go along with his 48-yard touchdown reception, while Gavin Garcia notched 96 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Zachman threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns, 126 of which went to Fleming, including two of the scores.

“Overall, it was a real good effort on both sides of the ball,” said Roth. “We made a lot of plays – Julian, Gavin, Gaige, Ty – we had that balance.

The Bulldogs did tack on an additional touchdown against Southern’s second team defense early in the fourth quarter when Lorson hit Shaffer again, this time in traffic and in the end zone for a three-yard reception. Lorson also found Stanton Westlin in the corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion.

While there are never any moral victories like becoming the first team to score on Southern’s first team defense and in the first half this year – in Week 7 nonetheless – Gravish does hope his team will take something positive from this game.

“Their speed on both sides of the ball can only help us and we can learn from it since we’re still playing a lot of young guys on both sides of the ball,” said Gravish. “I thought some of our young wide receivers caught some quick slant plays against some of their 1’s that were in tough windows. Tanner zipped a couple in there with tight coverage so I think that can only help us going against other DBs the rest of the season.”

Roth and the Tigers will now look ahead to next week, where they’re still not sure who they’ll be playing yet – Shikellamy or Wyoming Area – but Roth indicated after Friday’s game that he expects it to be Wyoming Area following the scheduled meeting of Heartland Conference officials on Monday.

“Us and Wyoming Area are preparing for one another,” said Roth. “We’re going about it like it is going to be approved. I get the impression that because the league’s executive committee called for the meeting on Monday, that’s almost like they’re putting their stamp on it because if they didn’t want to approve (the change), they could have canned it now and not called the meeting. I’m assuming it’s going to go forward, but if it would happen to get shot down on Monday, then we’ll go to Plan B and play Shikellamy.”

Southern Columbia 56, Jersey Shore 14
Southern Columbia (7-0)   35  21  0   0 – 56
Jersey Shore (4-3)              0   6   0   8 – 14

First quarter
10:21 – (SC) Preston Zachman 52-yard run (Ethan Haupt kick), 4-81, 1:39
9:15 – (SC) Julian Fleming 21-yard pass from Preston Zachman (Haupt kick), 1-21, :06
7:13 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 43-yard run (Haupt kick), 2-47, :44
5:01 – (SC) Gaige Garcia 78-yard run (Haupt kick), 2-86, :20
:43 – (SC) Gaige Garcia 48-yard pass from Preston Zachman (Haupt kick), 3-72, 1:28

Second quarter
9:20 – (SC) Ty Roadarmel 46-yard run (Haupt kick), 1-46, :09
7:07 – (SC) Julian Fleming 58-yard pass from Preston Zachman (Haupt kick), 1-58, :11
4:28 – (JS) Anthony Shaffer 19-yard pass from Tanner Lorson (kick failed), 7-81, 2:39
1:20 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 6-yard run (Haupt kick), 7-65, 3:08

Fourth quarter
10:56 – (JS) Anthony Shaffer 3-yard pass from Tanner Lorson (Stanton Weslin pass from Lorson), 9-73, 5:08

                                                      SC                     JS     
First downs                                   19                      15
Rushes-net yards                     34-401               15-(-57)
Passing yardage                          174                    287
Passing                                    6-11-3-1            28-42-2-2
Fumbles-lost                                 2-1                    1-0
Penalties-yards                            6-50                  3-11

RUSHING: Southern Columbia: Braden Heim (7-13), Gaige Garcia (6-125-1); Gavin Garcia (6-96-2), Matt Masala (4-29), Wes Barnes (4-33), Ty Roadarmel (3-54-1), Trevor Yorks (3-(-1)), Preston Zachman (1-52-1); Jersey Shore: Josh Malicky (6-(-19)), Tanner Lorson (6-(-21)), Owen Anderson (2-(-17)), Dawson Sechrist (1-0)
PASSING: Southern Columbia: Preston Zachman (6-11-174-3-1); Jersey Shore: Tanner Lorson (28-42-287-2-2)
RECEIVING: Southern Columbia: Julian Fleming (5-126-2), Gaige Garcia (1-48-1); Jersey Shore: Anthony Shaffer (8-70-2), Cayden Hess (8-66), Stanton Westlin (4-96), Owen Anderson (3-18), Josh Malicky (2-16), Dawson Sechrist (1-10), Kooper Peacock (1-10), Brett Guthrie (1-1)

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