Tigers Take Sweet Revenge
“It feels fantastic… We’ve been waiting a year and four weeks for this.” Sam Springer’s words about summed up the attitude of the Southern Columbia players after they soundly defeated the Bloomsburg Panthers 55-14 Friday night. Before the game the Panther cheerleaders held a banner for the team to run through as they came on the field. It read Bloom 19 – 0 over SCA, commemorating their victory last season. The Tigers needed no reminders. A picture of the scoreboard has been reminding them of the loss all this time on the wall of the weightroom. They carried it along with them as they ran onto the field.
If a reckoning is what they needed, the Tigers quickly went to work achieving it. After kicking-off to the Panthers, the Southern defense went to work forcing an incomplete pass, then a fumble on the second play of the series. With the ball on Bloomsburg’s 16 yard-line, the rushing trio of Springer, Steve Roth, and Austin Carpenter joined forces to pound the ball straight at the defense. Four plays later, Roth took it in from the four to open the scoring. B.J. Snyder added the PAT as he went seven for seven on the night.
Bloomsburg’s offense faired no better after receiving the ensuing kick-off at their 33 yard-line. Freshman QB, Blake Rankin was dropped for a loss on three consecutive plays, including a sack by Tony Drain and Ken Schetroma. Finally, a holding call forced them to do a quick-kick on 3rd and 27 from their own 16.
The panther defense then tried to throw the Tiger offense off their game by erratic shifts and attempts to draw the linemen off-sides. It worked – well, kind of… They did manage to draw three motion penalties on five plays, but runs of 22 and 20 yards by Springer and 11 yards by Carpenter more than made up for it. Finally, Jeremy Campbell hooked-up with Joe Admire on a 30-yard touchdown pass. SCA was up 14-0 at 5:30 in the first quarter.
It took Rankin only 20 seconds though, to get his team back in the game. On the first play of the next series, he connected with Charles Franklin on a 78-yard touchdown pass. It was time for Southern to slow things down and regain control. They did just that with a 12-play, 85-yard, meat-grinder style drive highlighted by an 18-yard Carpenter run and Roth’s 23-yard sprint and 3-yard touchdown rumble at 11:13 in the second quarter.
The Tigers’ punishing defense then knocked Bloom backwards, forcing a punt after three plays and negative three yards. This gave the offense the opportunity to put up some more points. Campbell hit Springer on a 19-yarder over the middle to break into Panther territory at the 41. Carpenter added ten more on an inside reverse before Roth broke loose for the 30-yard score.
Before the half Bloom managed their only real drive of the game with a little help from some timely yellow flags. The drive looked to be ending with a punt after three plays again when an illegal substitution was call against Southern on the play, giving Bloom another chance with a first down. After being sacked by Aaron Yoder, Rankin regrouped and hit Seth McLaughlin for 10 yards to get to the Southern 45. Then a poor interference call gave them the ball at the 35, but more importantly took the defender completely off his game. Rankin capitalized on it by going to McLaughlin two more time for 31 yards and the 10-yard score. The teams went to the locker rooms with the sore at 28-14.
Southern entered the second half with even more determination, putting on clinics on both sides of the ball. It was Carpenter’s turn to shine on the first series as he rushed twice for 19 and 20 yards. Campbell added 13 to set up Springer’s score from the eight.
The Black Death Defense struck hard as the Southern continued its pounding of Bloomsburg’s offense. In the Panthers’ four possessions of the second half they were allowed only five net yards. They punted twice after three plays and gave the ball over on downs after five plays, then four plays.
Conversely, Southern racked-up 215 yards on their four offensive series of the second half. Most were smash-mouth, time-consuming drives, with the exception of a three-play drive capped by Springer as he turned on the afterburners for a 59 yard touchdown mid-way through the third. The substitutes added the final score when Dan Garvine punched it in from the one with 3:12 remaining in the game.
Bloomsburg(4-2) did show some potential to be dangerous with their passing game as Rankin went 4/12 for 144 yards and two TDs. Franklin had one catch for the 78 yard TD, and McLaughlin had three for 10, 31, and the 10 yard TD. They travel to Montgomery next week to take on the Red Raiders (1-4).
Southern(6-0) cannot revel too long in their victory. They travel to AAA Selinsgrove next Friday to tackle the Seals(5-1) who have not lost a game at home in their last 26 contests. They finished the night with 455 yards rushing and 46 yard passing for a total of 501 yards and 8 touchdowns.
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