Garcia’s Historic Night Highlights Win
Written by: Dave Fegley on Saturday, September 7th, 2019
Southern Shellacks Selinsgrove
By: Dave Fegley (9-7-19)
Southern Columbia’s Gaige Garcia took a second quarter handoff four yards around the edge for a touchdown. It wasn’t the most impressive touchdown of the senior’s career, but it was certainly the most memorable one. With 2:34 left in the opening quarter Garcia stood in the end zone as Pennsylvania’s new all-time leader in touchdowns scored. “It’s a dream come true. Standing out there seeing the fans cheering for me gave me the chills. I’ve worked hard my entire career but I would have never thought that I would have the opportunity to do this,” said Garcia after his team’s 76-0 thumping at Selinsgrove. The 76 points tied the Southern school record for the most points scored in a game.
Garcia’s 130th trip to the end zone passed former South Williamsport standout Dominic Bragalone for Pennsylvania’s record for career total touchdowns and total points scored. “The thing that is most impressive about this record is the fact that he is only playing for about a half in most of these games just like tonight so he certainly didn’t get any of these touchdowns with us trying to run up the score or anything,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. Although it was Garcia’s night to brag alone as the new Keystone King, he was far from the only Tiger standout at Harold L. Bolig Stadium on Friday night.
With the potential of 13 more games left to play in his high school career, who knows how high of a mark he will set the record at. His fellow senior teammate Julian Fleming knows how hard he has worked for this. “Hats off to him. He has worked extremely hard since his freshman year. To come off the ankle injury he suffered late in our freshman year and come back as he has the last three years is really remarkable. He’s unstoppable and just a beast. His name’s going to be at the top of that record book for a very long time,” said Fleming who is coming up on breaking some state records of his own.
The win for Southern Columbia tied the state record for consecutive regular season wins at 74. Ironically enough, the beginning of this historic run began with a 2011 victory on the same Selinsgrove turf. This latest win for the Tigers was as dominant as any during the run. SCA handed Selinsgrove its largest margin of defeat in the program’s 93-year history, and the Tigers defense posted their third consecutive shutout to start the season. “The sky is the limit for this team. We have multiple Division 1 guys, multiple state titles, multiple district titles, multiple shutouts, multiple this, and multiple that. We go out and try to prove it each week,” Gaige Garcia said.
In total, Southern’s defense held Selinsgrove to negative-33 yards of total offense and just one first down. The tenacious Tiger defense forced four turnovers, including two for touchdowns, and held the Seals to more plays for negative yardage than they had positive yardage in the game. “Defensively there isn’t much more that we can improve on if we continue to play at the level we have through three games. The defense has played super,” said Roth. “Our strength coming into the season was shutting down the opponent’s running game but the rest of the unit has stepped up as well. The pass rush is so good and the backend has really excelled so far.”
The onslaught started with a one yard touchdown run by Gavin Garcia on the Tigers opening drive. Gaige Garcia scored on the next possession from three yards out making the score 14-0 early on. After another defensive stop, Gavin Garcia broke off a 25-yard run putting the ball at the Seals’ 4-yard line. On the very next play, the elder Garcia scored his record breaking touchdown making the score 21-0. “I have to give credit to all of the guys that have blocked for me over the years because I couldn’t have done this without them,” said the Michigan-bound bruiser.
Southern’s defense continued to dominate for the remainder of the first quarter. Jake Davis intercepted two passes over the final three minutes of the opening quarter. After the first pick, the Tigers weren’t able to capitalize when Preston Zachman was intercepted by Teague Hoover. On the second interception which was with less than 10 seconds demising in the first quarter, the Tigers took advantage as Zachman threw an eight yard touchdown pass to Fleming putting Southern in front 28-0 early in the second quarter.
The Seals had their best opportunity to score off of a Tiger fumble when they setup for a 32-yard field goal attempt. Cal Haladay wouldn’t allow that to happen though as the senior linebacker busted through the line of scrimmage to block the kick. “I was determined to not give up the shutout. That’s what our defense is playing for right now. We don’t want to give up any points,” Haladay said. To put an exclamation point on the play, Fleming picked up the blocked kick and returned it 83 yards to make the score 35-0. “I honestly didn’t even see the rest of the play at first because I was pumped that I was able to block it. Then I saw Julian just running down the field with the ball,” said Haladay. To cap off the first half, Ty Roadarmel added a 12-yard touchdown run making the score 42-0 at the break.
Southern’s starters played just one series in the second half and Roadarmel scored on a 30-yard run extending the lead. Freshman running back Wes Barnes scored his first career touchdown late in the quarter extending the lead to 56-0 after three. “Our backups have done a great job of coming in and picking up right where the starters left off,” Roth said. “Most of these guys would start on a lot of other teams but right now with the talent that we are blessed with it is impossible to get everyone on the field at the same time.”
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Selinsgrove’s punter dropped the snap in the end zone and it was recovered by Braden Heim for a touchdown. Barnes would add a rushing score on the Tigers next drive with a 20-yard plunge, and Heim finished off the scoring with a 48-yard run of his own making it a 76-0 final. “It’s awesome to see these other guys get a chance to shine and make plays because they are putting in the same amount of effort during the week when we are practicing,” said Gaige Garcia.
Selinsgrove will try and put this nightmare of a thumping behind them as they make the short trip across the river to take on Shikellamy next Friday in their annual rivalry. The Tigers on the other hand will travel to Kemp Memorial Stadium to take on the Shamokin Indians, coached by former SCA standout Henry Hynoski, in what the Tigers are hoping will end in another state record. “We are motivated to break the state record for consecutive regular season wins and to do it with another shutout,” Fleming said. “They always come out motivated for us and between Coach Roth and Coach Hynoski it will be fun.”
SCA: 21-21-14-20 = 76
SEL: 0-0-0-0 = 0
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (3-0)
Gaige Garcia 11-84, 2 TDs; Gavin Garcia 7-101, TD; Ty Roadarmel 4-41, 2 TDs; Wes Barnes 5-49, 2 TDs; Braden Heim 4-67, TD; Preston Zachman 2-14; Trevor Yorks 1-13; Matt Masala 3-12
Preston Zachman 9-12-1, 96 yds, TD
Julian Fleming 8-95, TD; Gaige Garcia 1-1
First Downs: 19
Jack Hawn 9-(-1); Nate Schon 6-0; Dean Hollenbach 5-(-5); Nate Hackenberger 4-1; Christian Kantz 2-4; Danny Shoch 2-(-16); Ryan Aument 1-(-1); Wyatt Metzger 1-(-8)
Danny Shoch 2-12-2, (-7) yards
Nate Schon 1-(-9); Brett Foor 1-2.
First Downs: 1
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