Tigers Cruise In Lewisburg
Tagged under: District 4, Gameday Hub, News
Dave Fegley | September 16, 2023
Southern’s defense dominant again
On pass attempts Friday evening in Lewisburg, Southern Columbia was able to catch 10 of them. The Tigers caught all five of their quarterback Blake Wise’s throws and they picked off five from two of Lewisburg’s quarterbacks.
By the end, Southern won at Bucknell University 69-13 to set up the state’s game of the week next Friday at Tiger Stadium.
Southern (4-0) will host Danville (4-0) as the Tigers will celebrate their Homecoming.
Prior to kickoff last night at Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium, it was evident as fans enterered that it wasn’t going to be a night for repping school colors. Lewisburg’s home field wasn’t full of neither the black and gold insignia of the Tigers nor the green and white colors for the Green Dragons in their home field.
The stadium was filled with fans wearing orange in support of Jersey Shore’s Max Engle who was seriously injured in a game last week at Selinsgrove.
The senior is fighting for his life in the hospital during a time that is tragic, devastating, heartbreaking, and every other verb possible in a situation that is flat out horrible for all involved in connection with the young man’s current status.
Although on game night each team on the gridiron is focused on winning, this week had a different feel to it.
As Southern entered the field on Friday, they ran out with an orange flag with Engle’s #4 on it, and the Tigers gave it their all just like Engle always did for his Bulldogs.
“It felt a little different knowing something that bad can happen. It is scary, but you try to not think about getting hurt while playing,” said SCA senior captain Garrett Garcia. “Definitely playing for him was an honor. I pray for him every night hoping he’s okay. Our whole team and community’s hearts go out to him.”
On the field when the whistle blew, the Tigers scored four times in the first quarter, and they repeated it again in the second to jump out to a commanding 56-7 lead at the break.
“We played well in most areas. We are still going through some growing pains up front with our offensive line but overall, this was a nice win. In the first three weeks, we saw the opponents keying in on the run and were able to hit some big play-action passes. Blake made some really nice throws again tonight,” Southern coach Jim Roth said.
In the 23rd overall meeting between the schools, Southern’s 21st victory in the series was highlighted by another outstanding defensive performance.
“We have a lot of experienced guys on defense. We knew that shutting down their running game and pressuring the quarterback would be a huge part of our gameplan in this one,” said Roth.
Gavin Krebs, Louden Murphy, Brayden Andrews, Garcia, and Kyle Christman in that order registered the interceptions for a Tiger defense that held the Green Dragons to negative-11 yards of total offense through the first two quarters.
Lewisburg also wasn’t able to register a first down on offense until the opening play of the fourth quarter
“We made a lot of mistakes and that showed early on. We have to better with our discipline, and we have to better with our techniques. Southern has a great defense, and they were all over us all game,” said Lewisburg’s head coach Eric Wicks.
The Tigers put together a 503-yard offensive showing despite their missed assignments at times that the coaching staff was displeased over at different points during the week four matchup.
When you have a head coach like Roth, who is now just 12 wins from becoming the state’s first coach to reach the 500-win milestone, near perfection is expected each week.
“Our program is built different than most. The goal each season is a state championship. The coaching staff pushes us each week to get better,” said Garcia who had a game-high 122 rushing yards and was his typical self on defense with a load of tackles.
Of Southern’s 10 touchdowns, seven came on the ground and two through the air offensively in addition to Murphy’s interception that he took back 17 yards for a TD.
Murphy scored three times for the third week in a row, and one of those touchdowns in each outing was the final touchdown of the half for the Tigers.
In week two, he caught a touchdown pass on the final play of the half against Shamokin Area. Last week, he hauled in another pass from Wise with 36 seconds left before the break. On Friday, he broke four tackles on a 57-yard jaunt to the end zone with just over a minute left before halftime.
“He has been having a great start to the season. Between him, Carter Madden, and Garrett Garcia, they are all tremendous athletes but didn’t have the opportunities on offense like they have this year as seniors with Braeden (Wisloski) and Wes (Barnes) getting the majority of the load last season,” Roth said.
In addition to the six touchdowns scored by the three seniors in Murphy, Garcia, and Madden, Wise tossed touchdowns to Christman and Jake Hoy. Jack Beirmaas and Nathan Gallagher each scored on second half carries.
Lewisburg’s two touchdowns in the loss came from Jeremiah Davis on his 93-yard kick return and Chase Wenrich’s QB keeper.
The Green Dragons will attempt to pick up their second win at the halfway point of the regular season in their next game against Central Columbia.
“Right now, it’s going to be trying to get our guys to move forward with the right mindset. We do have toughness as a team. We have already gone to overtime in two games, winning one and losing one, so being in those situations shows that our guys will fight,” said Wicks. “Hopefully our guys go into the next game with a chip on their shoulders with how badly we got beat against Southern.”
Following Danville’s 28-25 win over Loyalsock on Friday after the Tigers defeated the Lancers last week, next Friday’s game on Jim Roth Field will more than likely determine the winner of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference’s champion in Division 2.
“We need to bring pressure knowing that Danville throws the ball primarily. We have a good defense, and it is easier when you have the type of experience that we have. Even when we make mistakes, we have guys to back us up in all areas,” said SCA first year fulltime starting sophomore defensive end Ethan Makowski.
The Tigers will get a chance at redemption over the Ironmen who defeated them last season. Southern is determined to not allow Danville to be the first team since the 2008 and 2009 seasons to beat them in consecutive years like Selinsgrove did.
“Even though we put up a huge score in this game, there is still some concern with our offensive execution. It might sound crazy with the total yards we have been getting, but there were more mistakes than we would like in our run blocking in a variety of areas,” Roth said. “Our pass blocking was good, so that is a positive sign. Not to make excuses, but we are still young overall up front and will hopefully grow more next week. Danville is going to be a challenge because it appears that they have a strong defense again like last year.”
Southern 69, Lewisburg 13
SCA — LBG
First Downs: 16 — 3
Rushes-yds: 35-416 — 27-73
Passing yds: 87 — 34
Total yds: 503 — 107
Passing (C-A-I): 5-5-0 — 4-20-5
Penalties: 3-22 — 1-5
Fumbles-lost: 0-0 — 2-0
Southern (4-0): 28-28-7-6 — 69
Lewisburg (1-3): 0-7-0-6 — 13
S — Garrett Garcia 4 run (Isaac Carter kick), 8:27.
S — Kyle Christman 25 pass from Blake Wise (Carter kick), 6:39.
S — Louden Murphy 17 interception return (Carter kick), 6:25.
S — Jake Hoy 34 pass from Wise (Carter kick), 3:28.
S — Carter Madden 1 run (Carter kick), 9:08.
S — Murphy 4 run (Carter kick), 6:17.
S — Garcia 11 run (Carter kick), 2:57.
L — Jeremiah Davis 93 kick return (Cohen Hoover kick), 2:43.
S — Murphy 57 run (Carter kick), 1:07.
S — Jack Beirmaas 9 run (Carter kick), 0:42.
L — Chase Wenrich 7 run (missed kick), 7:25.
S — Nathan Gallagher 49 run (no attempt) 3:11.
RUSHING — Southern: Garrett Garcia 8-122, 2 TDs; Louden Murphy 6-95, 2 TDs; Nathan Gallagher 2-53, TD; Carter Madden 9-49, TD; Brayden Andrews 3-47; Jack Beirmaas 4-42, TD; Joey Williams 2-8; Parker Pesarchick 1-0. Lewisburg: Nick Coleman 5-27; Xavier Carter 2-17; Jeremiah Davis 5-10; Dane Shuey 2-9; Luke Evans 1-9; Chase Wenrich 3-6, TD; Ryan Opperman 1-3; Jaylen Walker 1-2; Sean Field 2-1; Charles Landis 1-1; Derek Asche 1-(-3); Team 3-(-9).
PASSING — Southern: Blake Wise 5-5-0, 87 yds, 2 TDs. Lewisburg: Chase Wenrich 0-5-3; 0 yds; Derek Asche 2-7-2, (-1) yds; Xavier Carter 2-8-0, 35 yds.
RECEIVING — Southern: Kyle Christman 4-53, TD; Jake Hoy 1-34, TD. Lewisburg: Jaylen Walker 3-36; Charles Landis 1-(-2).
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