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South Williamsport rushes for over 400 yards in 58-18 win over Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech

Written by: on Saturday, September 9th, 2023. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


ALMEDIA – When one thinks about running games and the ground-and-pound offense in District 4, names such as Southern Columbia and Mount Carmel no doubt come to mind.

For the better part of the last decade, though, South Williamsport has been every bit as good as those two coal region teams when it comes to running the football, and the Mounties appear to have another strong team in the trenches and on the ground once again in 2023.

South Williamsport put up 418 rushing yards and scored five first quarter touchdowns en route to a 58-18 win over Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech on Saturday afternoon, improving the Mounties to 3-0 on the young season.

“It’s a credit to the kids because in order to run the ball like that, you really have to put in the work,” said South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth. “They start in the weight room in January to build their bodies up, get stronger, get that core strength, and they really work hard at practice. We still push sleds and work on interior run practices, blocking schemes against multiple fronts, so a lot of work goes into it, but the kids have stepped up.

“If we keep working hard, some good things can happen. We’ve been blessed with some good teams and some great players over the years and this group has that potential.”

In addition to the more than 400 yards on the ground, the Mounties also had a very efficient passing game on the afternoon for good measure, as its two quarterbacks combined to complete 8-of-9 passes for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Defensively the Mounties held CMVT to just 76 rushing yards, with most of those coming in the second half after South Williamsport had already built up a four-possession lead.

“We’re a team that has to be able to run the ball. If we go back and have to throw 30 times a game and let Caden take shots playing from behind, we’re in trouble and he’s not going to last the season,” said CMVT coach Mark Varner. “We have to figure out our running game against good teams like this. South is a very good, very physical team, so we have to come out and stay with our blocks and make sure we’re doing what we have to do to run the ball so we can throw off of that and teams can’t just pin back our ears and come after Caden.”

Down to its third-string running back already due to some illness, the Rams lost Charlie Sigo as well on the first play of the second half as he was slammed to the ground on a tackle. Though South Williamsport was flagged on the play, it forced Varner to go to his starting tight end and defensive end, Gabe Sauder to the offensive backfield.

Sauder went on to finish the game leading the Rams in rushing yards with 53, and he also had a 55-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But anytime at any level that the starting tight end or defensive end has to play running back, it’s generally not a great situation.

“I want to thank those guys for playing hard in a position they had zero practice for,” said Varner. “Gabe had that big run and basically had never taken a handoff in practice. We had some sickness go through the team this week, so we knew we were going to come in short-handed and then our third-string tailback gets thrown down and he’s out.”

South Williamsport’s first drive was an omen of what was to come on the afternoon, as the Mounties received the opening kickoff and proceeded to take just four plays to score its first touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run by Ryan Casella.

Just :18 later, Casella found the end zone again as he scooped up and returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown on CMVT’s first play of its ensuing drive.

The Rams were stopped on downs near midfield on their next drive, and the Mounties needed just a single play to take a three-score lead as Radley Knapp hit Dylan Scheller for a 46-yard touchdown reception.

Later in the quarter, Knapp hit Tanner Smith for a 20-yard touchdown pass, and Kaiser Kistner capped the scoring in the first quarter with a 60-yard touchdown run to cap a two-play, 84-yard drive.

Evan Barry capped a 10-play drive, South’s longest of the game in terms of plays, with a one-yard touchdown run to put the Mounties up 39-0 midway through the second quarter.

CMVT was able to find the end zone late in the second quarter to avoid the mercy rule being invoked at the beginning of the second half, as Caden Long punched it in from a yard out with :38 left in the half. That touchdown run was set up by a pair of completions for 39 yards each to Aston Koser and Logan Bracey.

That connection from Long to Bracey was a bright spot for the Rams, as Bracey later caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Long in the third quarter and finished the game with five catches for 132 yards. Long finished with 217 passing yards on 9-of-20 throwing.

But the game was put into the mercy rule just a few minutes into the second half when South’s Amir Kemrer got loose for a 49-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the game.

Later in the third quarter, Jack Fortin added a 56-yard touchdown run on one of just two carries on the day and Barry added his second rushing touchdown from 21 yards out in the fourth quarter to cap South’s longest drive of the night in terms of yards, a nine-play, 71-yard drive.

“They’ve been a very good team for a long time,” said Varner. “They put 72 on us last year, so we definitely did better than that, but they’re a very aggressive team and we have to do a better job when he have an aggressive team like that to do some things that nullify their aggressiveness with some counters and screens and that type of thing. It’s difficult when you have guys go down, though, and you’re putting guys in that position who are young or maybe don’t know exactly what to do since they don’t get the reps.”

“I’m proud of the guys. It was a total team effort today. The guys that started the game got things rolling and we got a chance to play a lot of young guys. Everyone played their roles,” said Eiswerth.

South Williamsport 58, Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 18
South Williamsport (3-0) 33 6 13 6 – 58
Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech (0-3) 0 6 6 6 – 18

First quarter
10:52 – (SW) Ryan Casella 7-yard run (kick failed), 4-52, 1:08
10:34 – (SW) Ryan Casella 45-yard fumble return (Fortin kick)
8:45 – (SW) Dylan Scheller 46-yard pass from Radley Knapp (kick failed), 1-46, :08
3:21 – (SW) Tanner Smith 20-yard pass from Radley Knapp (Fortin kick), 4-59, 1:29
1:07 – (SW) Kaiser Kistner 60-yard run (Fortin kick), 2-84, :43

Second quarter
5:54 – (SW) Evan Barry 1-yard run (kick failed), 10-61, 4:26
:38 – (VT) Caden Long 1-yard run (pass failed), 7-89, 2:45

Third quarter
9:02 – (SW) Amir Kemrer 49-yard run (kick failed), 1-49, :08
6:59 – (VT) Logan Bracey 12-yard pass from Caden Long (pass failed), 2-50, 2:03
5:35 – (SW) Jack Fortin 56-yard run (Fortin kick), 2-57, 1:24

Fourth quarter
3:56 – (SW) Evan Barry 21-yard run (run failed), 9-71, 6:43
3:19 – (VT) Gabe Sauder 55-yard run (fun failed), 1-45, :37



First downs 22 12
Rushes-net yards 31-418 24-76
Passing yardage 111 217
Passing 8-9-2-0 9-20-1-2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 3-30 4-20


RUSHING: South Williamsport: Jayden Hamm (7-41), Evan Barry (5-49-2), Kaiser Kistner (3-88-1), Jack Fortin (2-55-1), Isaiah Snyder (2-54), Garrett Cooley (2-28), Ryan Casella (2-23-1), TEAM (2-(-3)), Radley Knapp (2-11), Amir Kemrer (1-49-1), Landyn Gephart (1-21), Ryan Bower (1-2), Chance Quincy (1-0); CMVT: Mason Haught (7-30), Caden Long (6-(-14)-1), Ashton Smith (5-5), Gabe Sauder (3-53-1), Charlie Sego (2-4), Tyson Brown (1-(-2))

PASSING: South Williamsport: Radley Knapp (4-5-81-2-0), Bobby Regan (4-4-30-0-0); CMVT: Caden Long (9-20-217-1-2)

RECEIVING: South Williamsport: Dylan Scheller (2-54-1), Luke Stoetzel (2-21), Caleb Johnson (2-9), Tanner Smith (1-20-1), Caleb Neidig (1-7); CMVT: Logan Bracey (5-132-1), Axton Koser (2-62), Ashton Smith (1-5), Tyson Brown (1-4)

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