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Written by: Dave Fegley on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Six Seniors Sign Scholarships
It was only fitting that during the same month that Southern Columbia won a state-record 10th PIAA Football Championship, that each of the captains got to keep the celebration rolling in Tiger Country. During an event held at the high school on Wednesday evening, all six of the 2019 captains from the gridiron made their announcements official of where they plan on heading next.
Four of the seniors will continue their careers in football, one will wrestle, and another will attempt to do both. “We have been really good friends for a long time, so this transition will take some getting used to,” Gaige Garcia said. Before helping lead the Tigers to another state title, the running back broke PA’s record for the most touchdowns ever scored. Garcia will be the one that is going to try to find a way to manage competing in football and wrestling at Michigan.
Julian Fleming, who stands as the nation’s top overall recruit, put aside any rumors of him flipping his decision and remaining in state. “I am glad that it is now officially over with. I am excited to start this next chapter of my life and am fully committed to where I felt was the best fit for my future,” said the five-star recruit, The 2x Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the year will become a Buckeye in January when he enrolls at Ohio State. The transition will take place just days after the state’s most successful receiver all-time statistically suits up in the 2020 Under Armour All-American game on January 2nd in Florida.
Cal Haladay and Preston Zachman will also enroll into their respective universities early like Fleming. Include Garcia into the conversation, and these four will be in the same Big Ten conference competing against each other. Haladay is set to head to East Lansing to join Michigan State as a linebacker. Zachman will head further west to Madison as the newest member of Wisconsin’s defense. “All six of these guys have proven that they are more than just athletes. They all have a great deal of character and their work ethics will allow them to handle this next phase in life,” SCA coach Jim Roth said.
Max Tillett will head up north to New Hampshire to become a member of the Wildcats football program. “We all learned a lot from the success of the program as high school athletes at Southern Columbia. The experience of winning state championships is a confidence booster heading to the next level,” said Tillett who will play linebacker. New Hampshire consistently is a contender in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) which has its share of successful teams in the FCS.
Lear Quinton is the lone Tiger captain that will officially hang up his shoulder pads and helmet for good. With the success in the classroom, the former lineman will continue his career on the wrestling mat as he will attend Brown University in the prestigious Ivy League. “All of these guys have worked hard in the classroom. Lear though will attend a university that has as high of standards as any in the country,” Roth said.
In 2019, Southern Columbia completes the 3-Peat as this group of captains all started for the 2017 and 2018 PIAA Championship squads as well. They closed out their miraculous careers with a record of 63-1, with the lone loss coming in the state championship of their freshman campaign. The final game they played together ended in a record-breaking 74-7 victory at Hersheypark Stadium again Avonworth. On top of winning by the most points of any team in the history of the PIAA Final, the Tigers finished a perfect 16-0 with no team avoiding a Mercy Rule against the black and gold.
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