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60-50-40, Tigers Win In Garcia’s Return

Tagged under: District 4, Gameday Hub, News

| August 28, 2023

SCA impresses in shutout over Berwick

Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth has mapped out his plan for years. Improve each week, and when the playoffs hit, start peaking.

With the way the Tigers played in their season opener against Berwick, it’s hard to say where they have any signficant improvement needed. SCA dominated the Bulldogs in a 50-0 shutout.

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of Southern’s football program. The exact 50 points scored looked appealing on the scoreboard. It also was the start of Roth’s 40th season which includes a state record 13 PIAA titles, including six in a row entering 2023 in Class 2A.

It seems that every season, there can’t be much more that the juggernaut of a program can show that hasn’t already happened in Tiger Territory. However, each year the Tigers seem to do something that is eye opening both on the field and in the statistical category.

Obviously, the 60-50-40 is an easy mathematical look to the Base Ten Number System, but the things that happen on the field provide more of an awe factor.

“When you look at it that way, it is kind of crazy with how those perfectly even numbers line up,” said Roth.

In last year’s storybook season, it was plagued by injuries until Southern put it all together behind the experience of their successful staff.

In Wes Barnes’ return from injury, the senior fullback scored on a 58-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play of the game at home in their playoff opener against Line Mountain in 2022.

On Friday, senior Garrett Garcia provided some dé·jà vu on the first offensive play against the Bulldogs. After tearing his ACL last year on the opening kickoff of the season opener, Garcia rushed for a 30-yard first down in his added role of being the starting fullback.

It was the exact same play call as Barnes’ carry from last year, going down the visitor sideline, and getting Southern’s fans cheering before they could even sit down.

On the seventh play of the drive, Garcia capped it off with a one-yard score. Looking into the future, that number seven is what the Tigers are shooting for this season as they are eyeing a seventh straight PIAA Class 2A championship to extend their record streak which would also be a record 14th overall if things go the way they hope.

“After coming back from a significant injury like he suffered, you never quite know how someone will react in their first game back. For Garrett, I was very pleased with how he ran the football. We knew he was strong, but he kicked it into gear with his speed as well which I don’t know how many people were expecting to see that burst,” said Roth.

On the Tigers second drive, Garcia scored from 16 yards out, extending the lead to 14-0. That carry put Garcia over the 100-yard mark in the first quarter. For as impressive as his older brothers Gaige and Gavin were during their days wearing the black and gold uniforms, Garrett may have passed the century mark quicker, with 5:17 left in the quarter, than his brothers ever had.

“I’m sure they will both call me and congratulate me on my first performance coming back from injury. They will be happy for me since this is the first chance that I have had to contribute on offense in addition to playing linebacker,” Garcia said with a smile.

Following a Blake Wise to Louden Murphy 27-yard touchdown pass, the Tigers forced a three-and-out. After a short punt, Southern needed just three plays for Carter Madden to score from two yards out to make the score 28-0 with 6:09 left in the half.

On the following possession, Isaac Carter hit Berwick’s Ethan Lear while he was releasing a pass towards the Bulldogs sideline.

The ball bounced on the turf, and Murphy ran the other way for a 67-yard touchdown. Following a botched snap on the hold for the PAT, Murphy ran it in to make the score 36-0 at the break.

“When I picked the ball up, it had to be about four inches from going out of bounds. With watching film and knowing the scouting report, I knew the play immediately. From my safety position I ran to the area and Isaac (Carter) made the hit. When I saw the ball on the ground, I didn’t hear a whistle, so I just started running and heard everyone cheering from our side,” said Murphy.

Southern’s defense surrendered just two first downs in the first two quarters and allowed more than five yards just three times to that point.

“Our goal is to stop the other team as quickly as we can. We want to get our offense back on the field as quickly as possible,” Garcia said.

Madden, who missed basically the entire offseason after breaking his ankle early on in the Summer, was happy to get back on the field. His second rushing touchdown with 2:10 left in the third quarter put the Tigers in front 43-0 as the long drive was the only offensive series the starting unit saw in the second half.

“Getting back on the field playing, it feels awesome. Watching the boys practice all Summer, it had me itching to get back on the field. I just wanted to do whatever I could to get healthy,” Madden said. “I am just glad I got to play one side of the ball tonight and I am looking forward to getting back and being able to play on defense as well this season like last year.”

The younger Tigers did their part in preserving the shutout and sophomore Brayden Andrews added a 47-yard touchdown run in the final quarter.

“It was an overall team effort. We saw a lot of positives on defense, offense, and special teams. The offensive line did a solid job blocking which is what we were hoping for since we are starting a lot of new guys,” said Roth.

In week two, the Tigers will host a Shamokin Area squad coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss against Lewisburg.

“We just have to keep the intensity up each game and go all out each play. If we have all 11 players on the field giving everything that they have, I think we are going to be a hard team to beat this season,” Carter said.

Southern Columbia 50, Berwick 0


First Downs: 6 — 17

Rushes-yds: 32-125 — 30-326

Passing yds: 13 — 67

Total yds: 138 — 393

Passing (C-A-I): 3-6-1 — 4-8-0

Penalties: 2-20 — 3-25

Fumbles-lost: 4-3 — 1-1

Berwick (0-1): 0-0-0-0 — 0

Southern (1-0): 12-22-7-7 — 50


1st Quarter

S — Garrett Garcia 1 run (Isaac Carter kick), 9:00

S — Garcia 16 run (Carter kick), 5:17

2nd Quarter

S — Louden Murphy 27 pass from Blake Wise (Carter kick), 9:24

S — Carter Madden 2 run (Murphy two-point), 6:09

S — Murphy 67 fumble return (Carter kick), 2:51

3rd Quarter

S — Madden 3 run (Carter kick), 2:10

4th Quarter

S — Brayden Andrews 47 run (Carter kick), 9:16


RUSHING — Southern: Garrett Garcia 11-128, 2 TD’s; Carter Madden 10-54, 2 TD’s; Louden Murphy 8-56; Brayden Andrews 2-53, TD; Caden Hopper 3-16; Joey Williams 3-8; Brady Arnold 1-6; Gavin Brown 2-4; Jack Beirmaas 1-1. Berwick: Tyler Winter 16-82; Ethan Lear 8-36; Gavin Galutia 3-8; Jake Lisnock 2-7; Jimmy DeAndrea 1-2; Team 2-(-10).

PASSING — Southern: Blake Wise 4-8-0, 67 yds, TD. Berwick: Ethan Lear 3-5-1, 13 yds; Jake Lisnock 0-1-0.

RECEIVING — Southern: Louden Murphy 1-27, TD; Jake Hoy 1-23; Garrett Garcia 1-15; Carter Madden 1-2. Berwick: Ty’Meere Wilkerson 2-15; Billy Hanson 1-(-2).

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