For The Daily Item
One look at the scoreboard at Stan Schuyler Memorial Field would tend to think most coaches would brag about the offensive output displayed by their team. That is not the case for veteran Southern Columbia coach Jim Roth after the Tigers dismantled previously unbeaten Muncy, 55-13, Friday in a Heartland Athletic Conference Divsion III showdown.
While obviously pleased with the precision-like effort displayed by the Tigers in their mercy rule rout against the Indians, Roth chose to sing the praises of the team’s ever-improving defensive unit.
“If you are going to have a strong team, all areas must contribute,” Roth said. “It seems ever since the Mount Carmel Area game our defense has been playing better and the players seem to be more comfortable with their roles. Offense would appear to be the strong suit of our squad, but you need to be balanced in order to be really successful.”
While noted for its deadly Wing-T attack, Southern displayed the throwing talents of Nick Becker in its opening scoring drive and the sophomore signal-caller drove the team 77 yards in six plays with a 44-yard completion to Adam Feudale and two passes to Luke Rarig for 16 yards, including a six-yard TD strike for the initial score of the game.
Rarig’s first of seven PAT kicks provided the Tigers with a 7-0 advantage.
The defense then reared its mighty head to set up the next score when Chase Tillett blocked a punt and Ken Fegley recovered the loose ball at the Muncy six yard line. Two plays later Blake Marks went over from the six and the Tigers were comfortably on top, 13-0.
“Chase (Tillett) has blocked a couple of punts and he gives us great pressure from his defensive end position,” Roth said. “He’s very quick and very aggressive.”
The Indians provided the Tigers with another short field following a short punt that gave Southern possession on Muncy’s 39. Feudale took a screen pass 35 yards before Matt Lupold went over from the three two plays later to increase the score to 20-0 after one.
Blake Marks set up the first score of the second period with a 32-yard run and capped the 59-yard drive with a nine-yard pass from Becker to up he ante to 27-0.
Muncy couldn’t generate any kind of offensive attack against the tenacious Southern defense and the Tigers then put the game out of reach by halftime when Nate Hunter scored on a three-yard run and Lupold registered his second TD of the night with a five-yard burst up the middle providing the Tigers with a 41-0 halftime advantage.
“Obviously, we are a running team but our plan was to come out throwing the football,” Roth said. “Our nucleus of returning players would indicate running to be our strength but we won’t always have that luxury to be able to run so its important we can be a threat throwing the ball as well.”
Feudale finished the game with 168 yards rushing on just nine carries, including a 68-yard run in the third quarter and Billy Marzeski got into the scoring column with a 9-yard rush.
Muncy got on the board in the fourth quarter when Ted Clark ran for a 16-yard touchdown and Manuel Ramos added a 60-yard TD run against the Tigers second unit.