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Written by: Dave Fegley on Sunday, November 11th, 2018
By: Dave Fegley (11-11-18)
The only thing that caught Julian Fleming off guard in Saturday night’s District IV 2A semi-final dominant win over Troy was when I broke the news to him that he was the new District IV all-time leading receiver in yards and touchdowns. “Well yeah that is a surprise. I didn’t know that until you just told me so that’s definitely an honor especially with how many great players have been in the district over the years,” said a shocked Fleming. “I don’t keep track of stats because I’m more worried about winning but it caught me off guard,” the junior said after passing John Klingerman of Bloomsburg.
Klingerman, who finished his high school playing days in 2012, ended his career with 3,595 yards and 47 touchdowns. The scariest part is that Fleming could potentially still have 20 more games in his high school career to obliterate the records. “Obviously Julian is as talented as they come. He can do it all and is a quarterback’s dream. Once the ball is in his hands he can take it the distance on any play,” said head coach Jim Roth. With a seven catch night going for 106 yards and two touchdowns, the junior now has 3,653 yards and 49 touchdowns receiving.
In the Mercy Rule victory against the Trojans, Fleming also had two interceptions, and he returned both of them for touchdowns. “I just try to make the right play every time I have an opportunity to make one,” said Fleming who was wearing red Ohio State gloves in the game. “Don’t assume anything. You may see some other colors from other schools in the future. I figured I have them and they’re new so why not wear them.” Fleming now has four interceptions on the season and has returned three of them for scores.
In a game that the Tigers put up 69 points, the Trojans just couldn’t seem to wrap-up and make any stops. Fleming started the onslaught with a 29-yard reception from Stone Hollenbach to give SCA an early 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Troy was stopped on fourth down when they gambled from their own 31-yard line on their opening possession. A tackle for loss by Tiger linebacker Max Tillett was the end to the drive. “We just go out there and fly around towards the ball. We trust in each other and that makes it more relaxing,” Tillett said. Gaige Garcia, who rushed for over 100 yards again, caught an 18-yard pass with one hand to extend the lead to 13-0. Gaige added a two-yard touchdown run later in the quarter after his younger brother Gavin picked up 41 rushing yards on the previous play.
Heading to the second quarter up 20-0, the Tigers defense continued their season dominance of stopping the run. “We made it an emphasis to play our gaps. We knew that if we did we could keep them around the line of scrimmage and make the stops,” defensive tackle Cole Schankweiler said. After a Tillett sack ended Troy’s next drive, Fleming caught a nine-yard touchdown pass. After another three-and-out, Troy’s defense came up with their only first half stop when Ridge Spencer intercepted Hollenbach giving them good field position. No harm was done because Southern’s defense forced another three-and-out and three plays later Ty Roadarmel dashed 42 yards to make the score 34-0.
With 1:56 left in the half, Gaige Garcia scored his hat trick on a 63-yard run. Just 16 second later, Fleming returned an interception 32 yards to give the Tigers a commanding 48-0 halftime lead with the Troy coaching staff just watching in awe. “I am proud of the way our guys played this season. We just ran in to a very rare football team that many schools across the country never have a chance to play like Southern Columbia,” said Troy head coach Jim Smith. “They are classy about it because they could score 100 points if they wanted to basically every week and that’s not an exaggeration. In my eight years they are by far the best team I’ve coached against and it’s not even close.”
The Tigers starters, who haven’t played in to the fourth quarter of any game this season due to their weekly dominance, got an extra series to start the second half for some extra reps. Fleming made it a short experience when he intercepted Dominic Ayers for the second time. This time he returned it 36 yards for a score just three plays in to the second half. “It is a lot of fun getting a chance to return an interception. Maybe not in this game, but there could be a moment where later on in the season a pick six could be a big momentum boost for our team. When you can score other ways than offense it can be huge,” said Fleming.
In the final quarter, each team found the end zone twice. The Trojans finally got on the board with 9:34 remaining on a two-yard run by senior Bailey Cohick. Tristan Heim scored on the following series from four yards out to put SCA up 62-8. Then on the ensuing kickoff senior Tyler Williams returned it 89 yards for the final touchdown of the Trojans’ season. Jayden McCormick scores the final touchdown of the game on a five yard plunge, and an Ethan Dunkelberger PAT made the final score 69-16.
Southern Columbia will host Mount Carmel Area next week, a 34-14 winner over North Penn-Mansfield earlier in the day, in the District IV Class 2A championship game. The Tigers defense, as if it wasn’t good enough, will be back to normal next week when Nate Crowl is expected to return at outside linebacker. “It will make our defense even better because Cal Haladay and myself will be able to play together in the middle and we still have speed on the outside at linebacker. We will be back to our usual lineup,” said Tillett. Crowl has missed the last three weeks with an ankle injury.
The Tigers beat the Red Tornadoes earlier in the season 41-7 but it was a tough battle in the opening half. “We are going to keep doing what we have done. We will try to stop their run and force Mount Carmel in to passing the ball and making them uncomfortable,” Schankweiler said. SCA also ended MCA’s season last year en route to an eighth state championship when they beat the Tornadoes in the district final. Southern’s coaching staff knows that starting next week the competition will be a lot tougher. “This is the point in the season where you must play your best football. We obviously know a lot about Mount Carmel and they are going to come to our place with a lot of motivation,” Roth said.
SCA: 20-28-7-14 = 69
TROY: 0-0-0-16 = 16
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (12-0)
Gaige Garcia 8-112, 2 TD’s; Gavin Garcia 4-76; Ty Roadarmel 2-52, TD; Braden Heim 7-44, TD; Jayden McCormick 4-36, TD; Brandon Gedman 5-15; Stone Hollenbach 1-0
Stone Hollenbach 8-11-1, 124 yds, 3 TD’s
Julian Fleming 7-106, 2 TD’s; 1-18, TD
First Downs: 20
Bailey Cohick 15-52, TD: Tyler Williams 9-23; Dominic Ayres 9-3; Damien Landon 1-1
Dominic Ayres 6-14-3, 37 yds
Seldon Rogers 4-24; Bailey Cohick 1-7; Nick Colton 1-5
First Downs: 7
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