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Written by: Dave Fegley on Sunday, October 31st, 2021
Southern Columbia’s Jim Roth and Danville’s Mike Brennan have a long history of coaching battles while Brennan was coaching at Mount Carmel Area. With 13 PIAA Championships between the two, fans knew that each squad would come out with a plan to try and throw the other team off their game.
For the first time since 2008, the two veteran head coaches met up on Saturday night inside of Ironmen Stadium and it was Roth’s Tigers that dominated in a 55-3 victory.
“We knew coming in that it was going to be a challenge to stop their offense. They are well coached and have some play-makers that have had success this season,” said Roth who has won 11 of those state titles. “I was more pleased with our pass defense which had been a struggle at times earlier in the year, but now that we have some guys back we have improved.”
As the fog filled the field, setting the scene for Halloween Weekend, freshman Dominic Fetterolf appeared to be disguised as a ghost in the second quarter.
The freshman Tiger linebacker intercepted freshman Madden Patrick on back-to-back pass attempts to set up two late touchdowns in the second quarter to put SCA up 28-3 at halftime.
“We spent a lot of time in practice this week working on pass coverage with some 7-on-7 drills. I made sure to get in my correct position and was able to read the quarterback both times. I was happy that I was able to contribute for the team and give our offense some good field position,” Fetterolf said.
Gavin Garcia needed just seven carries on the night to rack up 209 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his scores went for more than 50 yards.
His second touchdown, a 62-yard dash, extended the Tigers lead to 21-7 with 3:02 left in the half after Fetterolf’s first pick.
“I was obviously happy to rip off some long runs in my last regular season game of my career. The defense played well, and I had some real nice holes up front to run through,” said Garcia.
Following Fetterolf’s second interception, Wisloski scored a minute later on a 14-yard scamper in his second game back from injury.
“Coach Roth always has his guys ready to play, and we didn’t match their level after that early field goal on the first drive we had. The intensity just didn’t seem to be there on our side, and they showed that they were the better team by going up and down the field on us,” Brennan said.
After halftime, Southern put the game into the Mercy rule with touchdown runs by Wes Barnes (1 yard) and Garcia (54 yards).
Sophomore Carter Madden scored twice in the fourth quarter with a run of 17 and then two yards on consecutive runs.
Southern (9-1) will host Line Mountain next week on Jim Roth Field. The Eagles got into the District 4 Class 2A playoffs by winning their final two games of the regular season after starting the year 0-8 because of Northwest opting out. The top-seeded Tigers shouldn’t have any issues on Saturday, but their coaching staff knows that the players can’t take any team lightly at this point.
“This game was a positive to end the regular season. Now that we have Braeden (Wisloski) and Wes (Barnes) back, it helps us a tremendous amount on offense, but they are just as valuable to our defense as well. We are still working on different defensive combinations, and we are confident that we have a solid group throughout the lineup,” said Roth.
Danville (6-4) will be the 1-seed in the 3A field, and they will have a bye next week as there are only seven teams in the bracket. They will await the winner of No. 4 Loyalsock and No. 5 Cowanesque Valley which will be played on Friday.
“This is a time for us to reflect on the loss and figure out what we need to do going forward. It gives us time to heal a little bit after being banged up with some guys and lick our winds after this one,” Brennan said. “I had the players take a long look at the scoreboard at the end of the game and told them to take these next two days off and come back ready to work on Tuesday.”
The Ironmen made the 3A Easter Final last year, their best finish in program history, but have a younger group that will be seeing the postseason for the first time as starters.
The Tigers will be looking to advance to Hershey for the seventh consecutive season, and they know in order to win a fifth straight PIAA Class 2A Championship, it will be another strong challenge with everyone trying to knock them off.
“We just have to take it one step at a time. From the guys blocking up front and the skill players, we need to execute on offense. Then, our defense needs to play well together and make sure to not give up many big plays,” said Garcia. “We are confident that we have a team that can do it, but it is all about making it happen on the field because there are some really good teams out there this year.”
Southern: 14-14-14-13 — 55
Danville: 3-0-0-0 — 3
D — Aaron Johnson 31 field goal – 9:20
S — Gavin Garcia 52 run (Isaac Carter kick) – 8:24
S — Wes Barnes 7 run (Carter kick) – 0:21
S — Garcia 62 run (Carter kick) – 3:02
S — Braeden Wisloski 14 run (Carter kick) – 1:58
S — Barnes 1 run (Carter kick) – 7:39
S — Garcia 62 run (Carter kick) – 4:18
S — Carter Madden 17 run (Carter kick) – 10:24
S — Madden 2 run (missed kick) – 3:18
Southern – Danville
First downs: 24 – 12
Rushing-yds: 35-401 – 29-82
Passing: 2-4-0 – 11-23-3
Passing yds: 34 – 129
Total yds: 435 – 211
Fumbles-lost: 1-0 – 3-1
Penalties: 5-38 – 5-35
RUSHING — Southern: Gavin Garcia 7-209, 3 TD’s; Braeden Wisloski 5-61, TD; Wes Barnes 11-59, 2 TD’s; Carter Madden 5-44, 2 TD’s; Louden Murphy 5-23; Gavin Krebs 2-5.
Danville: Ty Stauffer 19-71; Madden Patrick 3-6; Sam Meloy 4-4; Kory King 3-1.
PASSING — Southern: Blake Wise 2-4-0, 34 yds.
Danville: Madden Patrick 11-23-3, 129 yds.
RECEIVING — Southern: Jake Rose 1-33; Wes Barnes 1-1.
Danville: Aaron Johnson 5-50; Carson Persing 3-36; Hayden Winn 2-33; Cameron Kiersch 1-10.
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