Tigers Take Down Trojans
Southern opens the playoffs with a win
By: Dave Fegley (Twitter: @DFegs9)
Southern Columbia’s first offensive possession Friday night started deep in their own territory after forcing Troy to punt on the game’s opening drive. After 13 plays, the Tigers put together a 96 yard drive, capped off with a 33 yard run by Hunter Thomas, to put the Tigers up 7-0. District IV’s top ranked team didn’t look back from that point forward. “Our line got it done up front tonight. Troy came out tough, but it was just a matter of time until we started to overpower them up front,” Thomas said. The junior would finish the night with 134 rushing yards and three touchdowns on only nine carries. In the second quarter, the Tigers were able to score four times to put the game into the Mercy Rule at halftime 35-0. Jared Torres scored twice on runs of 12 and two yards, Thomas scored on a one yard plunge, and Nick Becker threw a 29 yard touchdown to fellow senior Steve Toczylousky.
Toczylousky’s touchdown reception put the senior at 13 for his career and he is closing in on assistant coach Andy Helwig’s career record of 14 touchdown grabs. “We are known as primarily a running team and having balance just makes us harder to stop,” said Toczylousky. If he is able to pull in another touchdown reception this year, putting his season total at 12, it would set the school’s individual season record by surpassing the 11 that Helwig had during the 1995 season. However, Toczylousky is more worried about this group of seniors winning a state playoff game, something this class is yet to accomplish in their careers, rather than any individual accolades. “We want to win districts, but we have much bigger goals in mind. At Southern a district title doesn’t mean as much as it does at other schools, so we are trying to get back to a state championship,” he said. On that same pass, Becker became the career passing yardage leader for SCA passing Matt Kaskie. “I had two goals coming into this year and this was one of them. More importantly though is trying to help this team win a state title. Individual stats don’t mean too much. Taking that ride to Hershey would mean a lot more because the team’s success is the main goal,” said the third year starter.
The highlight of the night came late in the second quarter at Tiger Stadium. On a play after Southern linebacker Ross Crowl intercepted Troy’s Clark Jackson, Torres arguably pulled off the best play of the season so far for Southern. He took a handoff up the middle for a 34 yard gain. He didn’t reach the goal line, but it was a play that without seeing it doesn’t do it justice. The fullback broke seven tackles and carried four Troy defenders the final six yards before being brought down setting up his second score two plays later. “He’s had a good year, and he’s a nice piece to add in the running game. With Marks and Thomas running a lot on the outside, he adds that dimension of running inside to mix it up. That run was by far his most physical run of the year and it was nice to see,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. The fullback finished the night with 101 yards behind the push of the offensive line. “It was nice to get Josh Yoder back into the lineup after he missed a couple of games. Our line has done a really nice job of opening up holes for all of our backs this season and now the starters are back and healthy” stated Torres.
Jackson got the Trojans on the board in the third quarter with an 85 yard quarterback keeper, but Thomas answer right back with a 55 yard scamper of his own to make the score 42-7 after three quarters once Tyler Keiser converted on his sixth consecutive extra point. The senior kicker, who is a soccer player, also added two touchbacks on the night which provides the Tigers with an excellent weapon to have on special teams. “Since soccer has finished my leg is feeling a lot better throughout the week. It also gives me more time to focus on my kicking in football and being more consistent on the extra points and kickoffs,” said Keiser. “As the playoffs progress, special teams become even more important and I feel we have a consistent unit. With Josh Yoder as a long snapper and Cam Young as the holder, I feel the three of us have developed a nice flow in the kicking game,” stated the kicker. Southern’s starting defense held the Trojans offense to a meager one yard passing and 41 yards rushing through the first three quarters of play.
Troy’s senior running back Ben Sherman finished his career on a positive note with two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Tiger reserves, but it wasn’t near enough as Southern would go on to win 42-22. The Trojans season comes to an end at 7-4. The Tigers advance to meet Hughesville, a 24-14 winner over Loyalsock, in the District IV AA Semi-Finals next Friday night at Tiger Stadium. Southern Columbia should be heavily favored, but Roth is impressed with the season the Spartans have put together so far this season. “I really don’t know too much about Hughesville at this point until we watch some film, but they have beaten some quality teams in the regular season. They started to come onto the scene late last season, so it’s really not too much of a surprise that they have made it to this point,” said Roth. The winner of next Friday’s game will meet the winner of Athens and Montoursville. If Southern Columbia wins, they will host the District IV AA Championship game as the top seed regardless of who wins the other matchup.
SCA: 7-28-7-0 = 42
TROY: 0-0-7-15 = 22
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (11-0)
Hunter Thomas 9-134, 3 TDs; Jared Torres 13-101, 2 TDs; Blake Marks 8-51; Nic Fetterman 6-27; Nick Becker 1-15; Jake Potter 1-11; Thomas Manley 1-14; Sami Abdul 3-(-4)
Nick Becker 6-11-0, 103 yds, TD
Steve Toczylousky 4-83, TD; Cam Young 2-10
1st DOWNS: 22
Ben Sherman, 20-92, 2 TDs; Cody Ercolino 2-8; Clark Jackson 15-134; Zach Zimmerman 1-(-4); Collin Binford 2-8; Hunter Cohick 1-(-2)
Clark Jackson, 1-3-1, 1 yd, TD
Ben Sherman, 1-1
1st DOWNS: 10
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