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Written by: Dave Fegley on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018
SCA set the tone from the get-go
By: Dave Fegley (11-3-18)
There were two factors that Southern Columbia had to deal with to open their playoff run in defending last year’s state championship. An atypical Line Mountain squad with just four wins on the season and even worse, the weather. In a District IV AA Quarter-Final matchup with Line Mountain at Tiger Stadium in a torrential downpour, Jim Roth’s Tigers throttled the Eagles 55-0. “I thought we did a good job considering the weather conditions. The turf certainly makes it better to play on in these conditions. We got off to a great start and kept the pressure on them for the first half,” Roth said.
Southern Columbia is looking for their record 9th state championship this season. If the opening two quarters are any indication of what is to come from the state’s top-ranked team, their state title chances are looking pretty darn good. The Tigers scored touchdowns on four of their first six offensive plays. “The offensive line stepped up after having some trouble the past couple of weeks. They were the key tonight. I just think we are only going to keep improving,” SCA fullback Ty Roadarmel said.
The Southern defense was even more dominant. Line Mountain had negative-5 yards on offense in the first half and didn’t complete a pass all game. “We’ve been able to shut down everyone’s running game and we try to get as much pressure on the quarterback as possible,” said Tiger defensive tackle Robert Williams. SCA intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles in their shutout victory as well. “We all work together. We are synced in as a defensive unit and want to go all the way,” Williams said.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, the Tigers scored on their first play. Stone Hollenbach found Gaige Garcia behind the secondary for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers defense forced a turnover to start the next drive when Wade Kerstetter intercepted an Evan Herb pass. “It felt awesome to get that interception. I saw it all the way because it was obvious they were throwing,” Kerstetter said. On the next play Roadarmel scored on a 16-yard run to put the Tigers up 13-0.
SCA forced another three-and-out thanks to a Max Tillett sack. To start that drive, Julian Fleming caught a 24-yard pass and then on the next play Gaige Garcia scored on a run of 13 yards. Following it up, another three-and-out with a Williams sack, and virtually the same result. A 22-yard Fleming grab, then a 29-yard Gavin Garcia touchdown run, put the Tigers up 27-0 only halfway through the first quarter. In six plays, SCA picked up 141 yards with four TD’s and two first downs.
The Tigers only real negative play of the opening quarter came when Hollenbach threw his first interception of the season off of a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage. “Our running game obviously got off to a quick start. Later on in the half, we didn’t execute on our passes but it didn’t make a difference at that point” said Roth. One of the guys paving the way blocking for the Tigers was center Troy Donlan who was celebrating his birthday on Friday. “This was a great present for my senior season. I thought it was one of our more consistent games up front,” Donlan said.
In the second quarter, Southern added four more touchdowns. Gaige Garcia scored his third and fourth touchdowns on runs of 19 yards and one yard. Roadarmel scored his second touchdown on an eight yard carry. “The last couple of games I feel like I have improved in my running game. Obviously blocking is the priority in the position that I play, but it felt great to make an impact rushing the football,” Roadarmel said. The final touchdown of the half was scored by the Tigers defense to put an exclamation point on the starter’s efforts. Linebacker Preston Zachman recovered a fumble and returned it 24 yards to pay dirt.
The Tigers 55-0 halftime lead was ironically the third time in four weeks that they went to the locker room leading by the exact same score. After totaling 301 yards on offense, and holding the Eagles from picking up a single first down in the first half, the starters watched the second half. The weather didn’t get any better though as they watched in the pouring rain from the sidelines. “It’s good to go out and dominate. I didn’t want to catch a cold in this weather with all that rain,” said Donlan.
Neither team found the end zone in the second half as the Tigers reserves competed against the Line Mountain starters. For as ugly as Mother Nature’s conditions were on Jim Roth Field, the play was far from ugly in terms of mistakes other than turnovers, There were not any penalty flags thrown all game whether that was due to the referees not wanting to get their yellow cloths wet or just fundamentally sound football, it had to please the SoCo coaching staff. “We will take it. We can’t complain about that from a discipline standpoint heading to next week. Mentally the games will get tougher,” Roth said.
SCA forced three turnovers in the second half bringing the Line Mountain passing totals to 0 for 11 and four interceptions in their 2018 finale. On the ground, Line Mountain didn’t have much success either over the final two quarters. The Tigers will head in to next week’s semi-final matchup with Troy coming to town, as SCA continues to try and live up to last year’s dominance. “Last season was amazing. Those guys were dominant and we are just trying to live up to that and trying our best to do even better,” said Kerstetter. Unofficially, the Tigers will head in to next week’s game against the Trojans giving up an average of just 59.3 rushing yards per game. Last year, the defense set a school record by giving up only 58.1 yards per game on the ground.
SCA: 27-28-0-0 = 55
LM: 0-0-0-0 = 0
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (11-0)
Ty Roadarmel 5-82, 2 TD’s; Gaige Garcia 9-75, 3 TD’s; Gavin Garcia 6-52, TD; Braden Heim 8-38; Ron Zsido 3-12; Jayden McCormick 3-10; Brandon Gedman 2-4; Nate Kearney 1-(-4)
Stone Hollenbach 4-8-1, 89 yds, TD
Gaige Garcia 2-43, TD; Julian Fleming 2-46
First Downs: 17
LINE MOUNTAIN (4-7)
Colby Scott 11-18; Jacob Feese 12-4; Chance Hackenburg 1-0; Kelly Reed 1-0; Evan Herb 5-(-8)
Evan Herb 0-9-3; Jacob Feese 0-1-0; Breven Derk 0-1-1
First Downs: 2
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