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Written by: Dave Fegley on Saturday, September 15th, 2018
By: Dave Fegley (9-15-18)
Southern Columbia is simply the best when it comes to measuring success on the football field. After all, the Tigers have won more state championships than any other team in the history of Pennsylvania football. Of the eighth that they have won, Henry Hynoski was at the center of four of them. The Tigers all-time leading rusher went on to eventually win a Super Bowl as a starting fullback in the NFL. Friday night, at Tiger Stadium, with SCA celebrating their annual Homecoming, Hynoski also returned home to his alma-mater but in a different role.
“Of course it was nostalgic, but when you get into the game it takes its course and you put that to the side,” Hynoski said. The 2007 Southern grad came in as a first year head coach of Shamokin Area. Already winning more games in the first three weeks then they did all of last year, the Indians were up against a different beast that Hynoski knows as much as anyone about. “It was disappointing that we lost in this fashion, but that’s a tremendous football team and they are the best in the state,” said Hynoski about his former school.
Hynoski was a part of plenty of Mercy Rule victories as a member of the Tigers, but ironically his first as a coach comes against the same Tigers that he suited up for in high school. Southern jumped out to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter and ultimately won the game 48-0. “Henry has done a great job of trying to change the culture of his program. Obviously he’s disappointed in the result from tonight I’m sure, but they will bounce back,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. “It had to feel weird for him to be on the other side in this stadium, but he’s the ultimate competitor,” Hynoski’s former head coach said.
With as successful as Hynoski was as a player, there is another Tiger that has passed him in terms of recruitment from the college ranks. “Julian Fleming can go as far as he wants to go. Plain and simple. He’s a tremendous talent and has the right mindset with all the tools needed from an athleticism standpoint. He just has to take it one step at a time which he seems to be doing very well,” Hynoski said. Fleming, still just a junior, has been offered scholarships by more than 25 of the top programs in the country including the University of Miami. The Hurricanes offered him after the Tigers victory on Friday night. With his skill set, he could have a chance to one day follow in Hynoski’s footsteps as the second Tiger to ever play on the highest stage.
Penn State’s Head Coach James Franklin would love to keep the junior in state to play his college ball with the Nittany Lions. “With Coach Franklin on our sidelines I think it definitely added excitement. Julian had some extra motivation seeing him in attendance for sure,” said Tiger quarterback Stone Hollenbach was has connected with Fleming 39 times for touchdowns in his career. Two of those passes came in the first half of Friday night’s shutout victory during the school’s annual Homecoming.
Not only was Franklin in attendance the night before his ranked PSU squad hosts Kent State for a noon kickoff at Beaver Stadium, but the Nittany Lions head honcho was standing on the Southern sideline with a Penn State #4 jersey on. “I knew he was coming all week, but I didn’t know he’d come wearing a Penn State jersey with my number on it. That was pretty neat to see, but during the game I was focused on the field and not worried about who was on the sideline,” Fleming said. The Tigers #4 only caught two passes on the night, but the speedster took both of them to the house for scores.
Southern freshman Gavin Garcia started the scoring in the first quarter with a two yard touchdown run to make the score 6-0 on the turf of Jim Roth Field. Then on the next possession, Fleming caught a short slant and took it 71 yards for a touchdown. On the next drive, Fleming essentially did the same thing. This time his pass from Hollenbach across the middle resulted in a 66-yard touchdown to make the score 20-0 after the first quarter. “Julian is a nightmare for opposing teams to try and prepare for. A perfect example is this game. He caught two short passes and just simply outran the defense the rest of the way to score,” Roth said.
In the second quarter, the Tigers defense continued to dominate the Indians offense. They consistently forced three-and-outs to get the ball back in the hands of their offense. “We just did what we do best. Our mission each week is to shut down the run. I thought we did a good job of flowing to the ball,” said linebacker Cal Haladay who led Southern in tackles. The Tigers went up 27-0 on the opening play of the second quarter when junior Gaige Garcia caught a 36-yard screen pass from Hollenbach. On that play, Fleming showed his ability as a blocker by taking out two Indians at the exact same time. “For as great as Julian is when catching the ball, he’s just as good with his downfield blocking,” said Roth.
The younger Garcia scored on the next drive with a 13-yard run around the edge. After the defense forced yet another three-and-out, the Tigers suffered a scare when their quarterback left the game with a non-throwing hand injury. “I just got hit and my hand bent backwards. It was more precautionary so I think I’ll be alright,” Hollenbach said. The very next play after the quarterback left the game, the elder Garcia took a handoff 88 yards for a score to give his team a 41-0 cushion heading to the half.
Gaige Garcia, who like Fleming and Haladay is already a 2x all-state selection, scored for the third time on the opening kickoff of the 3rd quarter. He took it back 84 yards and his partner in crime, Fleming, was right there along the way blocking until they got inside the 10-yard line. “A kid just came up and tackled me and I didn’t even have the ball. It was just showing some immaturity on his part. As a player you can’t let that get to you when others come at you,” said Fleming. I guess the only positive was the Indians fans seeing that Fleming is actually capable of being tackled. Even if it takes a personal foul cheap-shot to accomplish it.
After those first nine seconds of the half on the kick return touchdown, neither team could find the end zone the rest of the way. Southern’s defense held Shamokin to zero completions throughout the entire game. The Indians will try to move back to having a winning record next week when they host Lewisburg. The Tigers will take their 65-game consecutive game regular season winning streak to Central Columbia next week. “This upcoming week will be a good test for us. We will watch film and try to come out and take care of business again,” Haladay said.
SCA: 20-21-7-0 = 48
SHA: 0-0-0-0 = 0
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (4-0)
Gaige Garcia 7-104, TD; Gavin Garcia 4-34, 2 TD’s; Ty Roadarmel 3-24; Julian Fleming 1-0; Braden Heim 6-27; Brandon Gedman 4-22, Jayden McCormick 5-37
Stone Hollenbach 4-6-0, 173 yds, 3 TD’s
Julian Fleming 2-137, 2 TD’s; Gaige Garcia 1-36, TD; Ty Roadarmel 1-1
First Downs: 13
Brycen James 14-22; Mark Wetzel 5-16; Collin Bowers 1-4; Wolfgang Pearson 7-7; Aaron Frasch 3-20; Max Madden 3-2; Nate Grimes 1-12;
Collin Bowers 0-4-0
First Downs: 5
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