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Southern Columbia rolls over Hughesville 56-7

Written by: on Saturday, October 10th, 2020. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


HUGHESVILLE – When you’re averaging over 20 yards a carry and have scored touchdowns on a third of your carries for the season, it’s pretty tough to improve on those numbers as a football season moves along.

Yet, that was exactly what Gavin Garcia did Friday night with his performance at Hughesville as he ran for 186 yards and scored three touchdowns on only four carries as Southern Columbia raced out to a 50-0 halftime lead and easily topped Hughesville 56-7. The Tigers, who led 36-0 after the first quarter, have now won 52 straight overall and 85 straight regular season games.

“Gavin was very good the last two years and he worked his butt off in the offseason and he’s elevated his game,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. “He’s stronger and that’s helped him become more explosive as a runner. As good as he’s looked the last two years, he just looks better this year. His quickness and direction change make him so difficult to tackle. You can talk all you want about outright speed, but his ability to accelerate and change direction and then have the strength on top of it make him so difficult to tackle.

“We’ve got a nice complement (in the backfield) with Barnes, who’s explosive, strong and quick and Wisloski is the same, so we’ve really got a good backfield in terms of balance. Down the road, when we get teams that key on Gavin, it’ll be difficult for them to handle the other two as well.”

In fact, Garcia scored more touchdowns (3) than he was tackled (1). The same could be said for Braeden Wisloski, who scored two touchdowns on two touches. Southern scored touchdowns on four of their first six, five of their eight and six of their first 11 offensive plays. They even managed to score when they didn’t have the ball when Hughesville snapped the ball out of its own end zone for a safety.

Hughesville went three-and-out after receiving the opening kickoff, and after a nice 47-yard punt put Southern back at its own 29 to start its first possession, Garcia busted loose around the right corner and went 71 yards for his first touchdown on the Tigers’ first play.

After another Hughesville punt, Southern needed just three plays to score again when Wes Barnes got loose down the left sideline for a 45-yard score. Barnes came up just shy of his second straight 100-yard game, finishing with 96 yards on six carries.

Following the safety, the Tigers took over at the Spartan 37 following the free kick, and then on its first play from scrimmage, Jake Davis caught a receiver screen just a few yards past the line of scrimmage turned it into a 37-yard touchdown reception, reversing field toward the end of the run to keep the play alive and find the end zone.

On Southern’s next drive, Garcia got loose again for a 53-yard touchdown, again on the first play of the drive, and then on Southern’s next drive, Wisloski burst down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown. He then scored again on Southern’s next drive when he hauled in a 21-yard pass from Liam Klebon to make it 43-0 early in the second quarter. Klebon completed all three of his passes for 63 yards and the two touchdowns, an equally as efficient of a night as Garcia.

Hughesville was able to pick up a pair of first downs – its first of the game – on its next drive, but it turned it over on downs at the Southern 46 with 3:46 left in the second quarter. All it took was one play once again by Garcia, this one a 54-yard touchdown scamper, to make it 50-0.

“Southern is so disciplined, they don’t turn the ball over, they don’t commit penalties, they’re fundamentally sound and they play hard and fast all the time,” said Hughesville coach Adam Gehr. “We won’t see another team like that the rest of the season. They don’t make mistakes, they’re fast and physical and they’re just plain better.”

While Garcia and the Southern offense were once again turning in an efficient and outstanding evening, the Tiger defense once again did its part to contribute to the victory. Southern’s first team defense held the Spartans to just 15 yards of offense in the first half and just three first downs.

“We knew the guys coming up on defense were going to be solid players. We knew our defensive line was going to be solid,” said Roth. “A lot of these guys weren’t starters last year but they played so much between the varsity time they got in and the JV games they played, they ended up playing more last year than the starters. They worked hard in the offseason so they’ve been able to step it up physically because of their work and it was just a matter of them getting their chance.”

Matt Masala added a touchdown run for the Tigers in the fourth quarter, a 16-yard run late in the game.

That came after Hughesville got onto the scoreboard on Devin Swank’s 10-yard touchdown run with 4:09 left in the fourth quarter. The Spartans were able to move the ball in the second half against Southern’s second team defense. They put together a 15-play drive on their first second half possession that stalled at the Southern 10 on fourth down, but not before they moved the ball 60 yards. Swank’s touchdown finished an 86-yard drive that featured a 38-yard pass from Joey Swink to Hunter Herr.

“One thing we harped about all week was effort and they didn’t quit tonight,” said Gehr. “We had a great week of practice and it may not have shown on the scoreboard but to our team it did. Southern’s a good team and we won’t see a team like that the rest of the season. Our kids were ready to go tonight and that’s one thing I was proud about.”

The loss caps a three-week gauntlet of games for Hughesville, which faced Loyalsock, Mount Carmel and Southern in consecutive weeks. Though they lost each game convincingly, Gehr believes his squad will be better for it as they face a less daunting schedule for the final three weeks of the regular season.

“I told them these next three weeks, if you give us that same effort, we’re going to be fine,” said Gehr. “Playing teams like we have these last three weeks makes our kids tougher as it should and as long as they keep giving effort, that’s what I’m more concerned about as anything so if they do that, I’m going to be pleased.”

Southern Columbia 56, Hughesville 7
Southern Columbia (5-0) 36 14 0 6 – 56
Hughesville (1-4) 0 0 0 7 – 7

First quarter
10:18 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 71-yard run (kick failed), 1-71, :13
7:33 – (SC) Wes Barnes 45-yard run (Carter kick), 3-65, :58
6:00 – (SC) Safety
5:40 – (SC) Jake Davis 37-yard pass from Liam Klebon (Carter kick), 1-37, :20
3:47 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 53-yard run (Carter kick), 1-53, :11
1:14 – (SC) Braeden Wisloski 60-yard run (Carter kick), 2-60, :55

Second quarter
9:50 – (SC) Braeden Wisloski 21-yard pass from Liam Klebon (Carter kick), 3-37, 1:27
3:37 – (SC) Gavin Garcia 54-yard run (Carter kick), 1-54, :09

Fourth quarter
4:09 – (H) Devin Swank 10-yard run (Heiney kick), 7-86, 3:24
:29 – (SC) Matt Masala 16-yard run (run failed), 5-37, 3:40

First downs 14 11
Rushes-net yards 26-425 48-134
Passing yardage 63 79
Passing 3-3-2-0 5-12-0-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-15 2-20

RUSHING: Southern Columbia: Wes Barnes (6-96-1), Trevor Yorks (5-27), Connor Gallagher (5-22), Gavin Garcia (4-186-3), Matt Masala (4-19-1), Braeden Wisloski (1-60-1), Liam Klebon (1-15); Hughesville: Colton Yocum (22-73), Mikey Dylina (9-28), Devin Swank (9-18-1), Joey Swink (5-22), Brenden Knight (1-4), Angelo Ferrigno (1-4), TEAM (1-(-15))
PASSING: Southern Columbia: Liam Klebon (3-3-63-2-0) ; Hughesville: Joey Swink (5-12-79-0-1)
RECEIVING: Southern Columbia: Jake Davis (2-42-1), Braeden Wisloski (1-21-1); Hughesville: Hunter Herr (2-63), Devin Swank (2-11), Justin Fowler (1-5)

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