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Southern Columbia wins 62-20 over North Penn-Mansfield

Written by: on Sunday, November 5th, 2023. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


CATAWISSA – A staple of Southern Columbia’s dominance over the years, particularly in its current streak of six consecutive state AA championships, is that it seldom lets an overmatched opponent hang around for very long.

On Saturday night, as the Tigers began the quest for an unprecedented seventh straight state championship, that trend continued.

The Tigers scored a touchdown on two of their first four offensive plays of the game and also added a pair of defensive scores in the first half en route to building a 56-0 halftime lead, and the six-time defending state champions began their quest for seventh straight with a 62-20 romp over North Penn Mansfield in the first round of the District 4 AA playoffs.

The win marked the 36th consecutive postseason victory dating back to the 2017 season. Southern’s last loss in the postseason came in December 2016 in the AA state final against Steel Valley. The win advances the Tigers to next week’s semifinal showdown with Mount Carmel, where the teams will meet for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Each of the teams’ previous playoff meetings came in the district finals, however. With both teams having lost games during the regular season and Troy having finished unbeaten to claim the top seed, this year’s meeting will take place a week and a round sooner than the previous five.

“I’m happy that we got everyone in, everyone had a chance to play, and we came out healthy, which was our number one goal,” said Southern Columbia assistant coach Andy Mills, who filled in for head coach Jim Roth, who served the second game of a two-game suspension for his ejection from Southern’s Week 9 game against Wyoming Area. “We have some things we need to work on, improving our pass defense, so we’ll take it from here and we need a good week of practice.

The very workmanlike performance from the Tigers featured 491 yards of offense, including 373 on the ground. No single player went over 100 yards rushing, however. Southern was led by Louden Murphy’s 83 yards on just five carries with two touchdowns, and Garrett Garcia’s 72 yards on only four carries, also with two scores.

As they have been several times in the past, quick scores were the name of the game for the Tigers’ offense, as all six of Southern’s first-half offensive touchdowns came on drives that lasted no more than three plays.

Garcia capped a three-play drive on Southern’s opening possession with a 20-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 8-0 just over a minute into the game.

After the Panthers turned it over on downs at the Southern 25 on their subsequent possession, Blake Wise hit Kyle Christman in stride for a 75-yard touchdown reception to make it 15-0. Christman finished with 146 all-purpose yards, hauling in 109 through the air and adding an interception return for a score later in the first half.

After the Tigers lost a fumble at the goal line on their next possession, they got right back at it with a short, two-play drive that was set up by Dominic Fetterolf’s 25-yard fumble return to the Panther 12, and Murphy punched in his first touchdown with an eight-yard run on the final play of the first quarter.

Fetterolf then was again in the right place at the right time on North Penn Mansfield’s subsequent possession, as a tipped pass found its way into his hands, and this time, he returned it all the way to the end zone for a 56-yard interception return.

That was the first of five touchdowns in the second quarter for the Tigers. Garcia added his second with a 33-yard run, Christman added his second with a 37-yard interception return, and Murphy also added his second with a 36-yard run in which he started right and then completely reversed field. Jack Biermaas added the last Southern touchdown of the half, a 24-yard run just before the half as the Tigers emptied their bench prior to halftime.

The Tigers’ defense, meanwhile, held North Penn Mansfield to just four rushing yards in the first half, although the Panthers had just seven rushing attempts in the opening half, instead electing to throw the ball 32 times in the first half, completing just nine of those.

“We had some new starters in at the beginning of the game defensively, and then we brought in our usual starters in the second quarter, so we didn’t stunt as much and sat back in a zone and let things come to us,” said Mills. “We created some turnovers and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback so hopefully that will continue into next week.”

Against Southern’s second team, the Panthers scored three touchdowns in the second half, while the Tigers added one more of their own as well.


Southern Columbia 62, North Penn Mansfield 20

North Penn Mansfield (4-7)    0   0  8 12 – 20

Southern Columbia (10-1)     22 34 6  0 – 62


First quarter

10:38 – (SC) Garrett Garcia 20-yard run (Madden run), 3-60, 1:22

8:44 – (SC) Kyle Christman 75-yard pass from Blake Wise (pass failed), 1-75, :13

:00 – (SC) Louden Murphy 8-yard run (Garcia run), 2-12, :34


Second quarter

10:33 – (SC) Dominic Fetterolf 56-yard interception return (Carter kick)

7:33 – (SC) Garrett Garcia 33-yard run (Carter kick), 3-52, 1:25

6:38 – (SC) Kyle Christman 37-yard interception return (Carter kick)

4:33 – (SC) Louden Murphy 36-yard run (Carter kick), 2-57, :49

1:24 – (SC) Jack Biermaas 24-yard run (run failed), 3-46, 1:30


Third quarter

9:16 – (NPM) Cooper Shaw 18-yard pass from Karson Dominick (Shaw pass from Dominick), 5-80, 2:44

3:46 – (SC) Brayden Andrews16-yard run (run failed), 8-58, 5:30


Fourth quarter

11:54 – (NPM) Cooper Shaw 2-yard run (pass failed), 7-35, 3:52

10:26 – (NPM) Karson Dominick 45-yard pass from Cooper Shaw (pass failed), 2-50, :47

                                                    NPM                       SC
First downs                                    15                            19

Rushes-net yards                        18-59                      38-373

Passing yardage                           227                          118

Passing                                     14-38-2-2                  4-4-1-0

Fumbles-lost                                 2-1                            2-2

Penalties-yards                            2-10                          9-85

RUSHING: North Penn Mansfield: George Perry (9-21), Cooper Shaw (7-35-1), Luke Kreger (2-3); Southern Columbia: Joey Williams (9-54), Louden Murphy (5-83-2), Carter Madden (5-59), Garrett Garcia (4-72-2), Brayden Andrews (4-42-1), Gavin Brown (4-18), Ayden Hockenbroch (3-6), Jack Biermaas (2-32-1), Blake Wise (1-5), Parker Pesarchick (1-2)

PASSING: North Penn Mansfield: Karson Dominick (13-36-182-1-2), Cooper Shaw (1-2-45-1-0); Southern Columbia: Blake Wise (4-4-118-1-0)

RECEIVING: North Penn Mansfield: Cooper Shaw (7-58-1), Luke Kreger (4-117), Gabe Bellows (2-7), Karson Dominick (1-45-1); Southern Columbia: Kyle Christman (3-109-1), Jake Hoy (1-9)

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