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PIAA Class 2A State Championship Preview: Southern Columbia vs Wilmington @Hounds4L @SoCoTigerSports

Written by: on Friday, November 27th, 2020

 

 

The Skinny (strengths, weaknesses, the stars):  

For Southern Columbia: The Tigers were doubted by many to get back to their favorite destination, but Jim Roth’s program is back in Hershey for a record 19th time. Replacing nearly all of the offensive weapons from last year’s record-breaking squad, junior Gavin Garcia has taken over the role of the number one option. The returning all-state selection is having another outstanding season.

Gavin Garcia has followed up his all-state season a year ago with even better numbers this year. The junior has 1,706 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. He is averaging more than 17 yards per carry. His backfield mates, sophomore Braeden Wisloski and Wes Barnes, have been effective combining for 1,234 and 21 touchdowns on the ground. The Tigers don’t throw the ball often, but Liam Klebon is completing 51% of his passes for 504 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jake Davis leads the team with 3 receiving touchdowns and Jake Rose has 7 receptions to lead all pass catchers. The Tigers average 50.4 points per game.

The defense for SCA has once again been impressive. The starters didn’t give up a single touchdown during the regular season or District 4 playoffs. Freshman Garrett Garcia has been stout as a run-stopper and leads the team with 89 tackles followed by fellow inside linebacker Wade Kerstetter with 58. Derek Berlitz leads the team with 7 sacks and 13 hurries. The Tigers secondary of Jake Davis, Ian Yoder, and Nick Zeigler have combined for 13 interceptions.

For Wilmington:  The Greyhounds passed their toughest test of the season by holding off a powerful Beaver Falls rushing attack to get back to the PIAA Class 2A Championship for the third time in the last four years. Wilmington, who lost to Southern in the 2017 and 2018 final, is loaded with experience. The Greyhounds return all but two starters on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the senior duo of Ethan Susen and Darren Miller have jolted the offense. Susen has rushed for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns and Miller has added 1,037 yards and 14 scores. Susen also leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns through the air (14-326-4). His backfield partner has complied 1,039 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Caelan Bender has been effective with both his arm and legs. The senior has thrown for 530 yards and seven touchdowns while throwing just one interception all year. He has all added 492 yards on the ground and 8 TD’s.

On defense, the Greyhounds have given up just 13.5 points per game. Darren Miller leads the team with 63 tackles followed by Caelan Bender with 50. Ethan Susen has 4 interceptions in the secondary for Wilimington. Weston Phanco has been a force up front as he leads the team with 4 sacks and has 46 tackles.

Southern Columbia Offense Plan:

Jim Roth’s Tigers need to establish a passing game early to keep the Greyhounds from stacking the box. Klebon hasn’t had a 100-yard passing game this season, but if the junior can get things going early, the three-time defending champs will be hard to stop. Don’t expect the Tigers to rebreak the PIAA championship point total that they set last year (76 pts) but if they keep the Hounds on their heels the athletes are there.

Southern Columbia Defensive Plan:

Southern has been disciplined all season long when it comes to the players playing their areas. In an offense like Wilmington runs, it will be vital that the outside linebackers and cornerbacks keep the edge. The interior of the defense needs to clog the gaps to help shutdown all areas of the Greyhound rushing attack.

Wilmington Offensive Plan:

If Wilmington can defeat Southern for the first time in three attempts in Hershey, they are going to need to control the clock and tempo. Southern can’t score if their offense is on the sidelines. Behind a college-size offensive line, the Greyhounds want to run the ball on the Tigers which is something that no team has had success against the Tigers with in seemingly a decade.

Wilmington Defensive Plan:

Brandon Phillian knows that his team must win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Arguably the most important matchup in this Class 2A final will be in the trenches. The Greyhounds front seven can’t allow the Tigers offensive line to open holes for the most explosive backfield in the state to get through.

Starting Lineups:

Head Coach: Jim Roth                                                                                Head Coach Brandon Phillian

Southern Columbia Wilmington
OFFENSE: OFFENSE:
# NAME POS HT WT YR # NAME POS HT WT YR
9 Liam Klebon QB 6-1 170 JR 5 Bender, Caelan QB 5’10” 180 SR
5 Gavin Garcia RB 5-9 190 JR 33 Sholler, Skyler FB 5’10” 190 JR
24 Braeden Wisloski RB 5-11 190 SO 4 Susen, Ethan HB 5’10” 170 SR
3 Wes Barnes FB 5-11 195 SO 34 Miller, Darren HB 5’11” 180 SR
10 Jake Davis WR 5-11 170 SR 17 Reed, Mason SE 6’0″ 171 SR
29 Jake Rose WR 6-1 190 JR 23 Hess, Jordan TE 5’10” 180 SR
36 Colin Sharrow TE 6-2 190 SR 77 Chimiak, Jake LT 6’2″ 310 SR
54 Carson Savitski LT 6-1 250 JR 64 Whiting, Morgan LG 6’4″ 215 SR
65 Joe Quinton LG 5-11 180 JR 74 Penwell, Brayden C 6’2″ 262 JR
51 Derek Wertman C 5-8 220 SR 76 Phanco, Weston RG 6’2″ 271 SR
52 Jaxson Purnell RG 6-1 220 SR 58 Vass-Gal, Connor RT 6’2″ 340 SR
74 Chris Treshock RT 6-1 265 SO
DEFENSE: DEFENSE:
87 Derek Berlitz DE 6-1 225 JR 76 Phanco, Weston DE 6’2″ 271 SR
1 Braden Heim DT 6-1 210 SR 58 Vass-Gal, Connor DT 6’2″ 340 SR
18 Tim Witcoskie DT 5-10 190 SR 77 Chimiak, Jake DT 6’2″ 310 SR
25 Brandon Gedman DE 5-11 180 SR 64 Whiting, Morgan DE 6’4″ 215 SR
29 Jake Rose LB 6-1 190 JR 56 Horchler, Elon OLB 5’10” 190 JR
23 Garrett Garcia LB 6-0 170 FR 33 Sholler, Skyler ILB 5’10” 190 JR
46 Wade Kerstetter LB LB 5-11 205 SR 34 Miller, Darren OLB 5’11” 180 SR
6 Logan Potter LB 5-10 170 SR 3 McCallister, Cole C 6’0″ 155 JR
10 Jake Davis CB 5-11 170 SR 17 Reed, Mason C 6’0″ 171 SR
20 Nick Zeigler CB 5-7 160 SR 5 Bender, Caelan S 5’10” 180 SR
7 Ian Yoder S 5-10 150 SR 4 Susen, Ethan S 5’10” 170 SR
Special Teams Special Teams
43 Isaac Carter P/K 5-10 175 FR 15 Winters, Ethan KICK 6’0″ 175 SR
22 Hartwell, Daniel KICK 5’9″ 160 SR
5 Bender, Caelan PUNT 5’10” 180 SR

 

How They Got to Hershey

2020 Southern Columbia Tigers Schedule

OVERALL LEAGUE HOME AWAY STREAK
11-0 5-0 6-0 5-0 W11

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME/SCORE

09-05 Berwick  @ Berwick (SCR) 10:00 am
09-18 Bloomsburg  vs. Bloomsburg (4-4) * W 41-0
09-25 Warrior Run  @ Warrior Run (1-8) * W 67-0
10-01 Loyalsock  vs. Loyalsock (4-3) * W 50-20
10-06 Mount Carmel  @ Mount Carmel (2-5) * W 1-0
10-09 Hughesville  @ Hughesville (2-7) * W 56-7
10-16 Lewisburg  vs. Lewisburg (2-6) W 42-7
10-23 Central Columbia  @ Central Columbia (5-3) W 52-3
10-30 Line Mountain  vs. Line Mountain (5-3) (P) W 49-7
11-06 South Williamsport  vs. South Williamsport (5-2) (SP) W 49-14
11-14 Richland  @ Richland (8-2) (SP) W 57-30
11-21 Bishop McDevitt  vs. Bishop McDevitt (6-1) (SP) W 42-14
11-28 Wilmington  vs. Wilmington (10-0) (SP) 11:00 am

2020 Wilmington Greyhounds Schedule

OVERALL LEAGUE HOME AWAY STREAK
10-0 6-0 6-0 4-0 W10

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME/SCORE

09-12 Greenville  vs. Greenville (0-8) * W 48-0
09-18 Farrell  @ Farrell (5-3) * W 41-20
09-25 Sharpsville  vs. Sharpsville (3-5) * W 42-0
10-02 Greenville  @ Greenville (0-8) * W 58-6
10-10 Farrell  vs. Farrell (5-3) * W 21-20
10-16 Sharpsville  @ Sharpsville (3-5) * W 57-14
10-31 Farrell  vs. Farrell (5-3) (P) W 19-14
11-06 Karns City  vs. Karns City (6-3) (SP) W 42-14
11-13 Chestnut Ridge  vs. Chestnut Ridge (7-3) (SP) W 56-29
11-20 Beaver Falls  @ Beaver Falls (10-1) (SP) W 20-18
11-28 Southern Columbia  @ Southern Columbia (11-0) (SP) 11:00 am

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