Southern Columbia Dominates Mount Carmel Area in 43-0 win
FRANKLIN TWP. – While it can be an inexact science to predict what the future holds, Southern Columbia put together a performance that resembled a team who is once again capable of playing into the second week of December. On Friday night, the Tigers were simply brilliant in a 43-0 victory over Mount Carmel. The defense pitched a shutout, forced three turnovers, and watched Isaac Carter wreak havoc all over the place. Offensively, things moved along quite nicely as well. Southern scored on its first five possessions, while Louden Murphy ran for 87 yards and three touchdowns to lead a balanced rushing attack. Troy (12-0) awaits Southern next week in the District 4 Class 2A championship game.
“I was very confident that our defense would play well,” Southern coach Jim Roth said. “Did I think we would get a shutout, no. You can’t expect that after the way Mount Carmel has played the whole second half of the season, and the way they played against us in the first game. I knew our defense was going to respond, and they played at a much higher level than we did in the first game, there was no question.”
Mount Carmel (9-3) saw its season ended by Southern for the sixth time in seven years. The Red Tornadoes had scored 40 points in seven consecutive games. They were averaging 465 yards of total offense coming in. None of it mattered to a defense that got revenge for a 42-30 loss just four weeks ago. Carter had four sacks and recovered a fumble. Murphy and Nate Gallagher each had an interception. Southern (11-1) held Mount Carmel to just 42 yards in the first half on 27 plays.
“I think they’re a really good football team,” Mount Carmel coach John Darrah said. “When you make mistakes like that and you kind of lose momentum, it’s definitely really tough to get the stops, and make some of the plays you need. I think just from the start, we came out, kind of did some uncharacteristic things, and couldn’t recover.”
Garcia scored on a 31-yard run just five plays in to open the scoring. Carter then recovered a fumble on Mount Carmel’s second offensive play. It didn’t take long to cash in the turnover, as Murphy got his big night going with a 7-yard run to the end zone. On the ensuing Mount Carmel possession, Murphy intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to set up another short field. After Garcia crossed the goal line from a yard out for his second touchdown, it was 22-0 with 3:39 left in the opening quarter, and it felt like an early knockout punch had been delivered. Southern converted all three takeaways into points.
“We moved the ball,” Roth said. “It’s always good when you can walk away from a game without any punting statistics at all. The turnovers certainly helped kind of getting the snowball effect, but I was also very happy with the way the offense played, and I can’t say enough about all three backs until Garrett got hurt. Both (Carter) Madden and Murphy ran really well. There were times where there wasn’t a whole lot there, and they made something out of it.”
In the early part of the second quarter, Garcia, who rushed for 61 yards on eight carries, left with a lower-body injury, and did not return. Madden helped pick up the slack by finishing an 11-play drive with a short 1-yard touchdown run. Following another Mount Carmel series that was abruptly ended when Carter blew up a reverse for a 12-yard loss on fourth down, Murphy hit pay dirt thanks to an 8-yard run with 4:52 left before halftime.
“We knew what we had to do,” Murphy said. “I like being patient and waiting for stuff to open up. Sometimes it gets me killed, but other times when plays don’t look the greatest, I can make things happen. When I wasn’t getting the ball, Joey Williams had to step in and fill a big hole for Garrett Garcia. He did what he had to do. Carter had a great game. He ran and got tough yards.”
Roth returned to the sidelines following his two-game suspension after some questionable officiating at Wyoming Area. His defense certainly rose to the occasion. In addition to denying the Red Tornadoes their 900th win in program history, the Tigers held Cole Spears to just 31 yards on 5-of-16 passing. It was quite a dramatic turn of events from the first meeting that saw Mount Carmel score four times in the first quarter.
“Isaac wasn’t here the first time we played them this season, but his presence was felt this game,” Murphy said. “He was a nightmare for the Mount Carmel offense. Other than that, everybody else just had a great game overall.”
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