By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
Delaware wing-T offenses have left plenty of television camera men, radio broadcasters and reporters looking the wrong way.
Sometimes, although they are probably smarter than all of the above, even high school defenses fall prey to the deception, especially those trying to stop six-time Class A state champion Southern Columbia.
Friday night’s District 4 Class A championship at Tiger Stadium had the home fans chewing their nails as visiting South Williamsport took an early lead, the second week in a row that the Tigers trailed.
After tying it at 6-all on a 31-yard run by quarterback Taylor Young, the Tigers had one of those “where did he come from moments? moments that drive defensive coaches batty.
On first-and-10 at the Mounties’ 13-yard line, two plays after freshman Blake Marks had run a sweep to the right, the Tigers looked like they would run the same play. When the defense went left, junior fullback Adam Feudale took a handoff from Young and ran a dive up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown with 11:02 left in the second quarter.
Feudale’s run seemed to open the floodgates for the Tigers, who scored 29 points in the second quarter and turned a nail-biter into a mercy rule 47-12 victory. The win gave Southern its 22nd district title and 22nd in the last 23 years and a PIAA first-round date with Dunmore (a 7-6 winner over Old Forge) next Friday night in the Scranton area.
Feudale said, “It was going to the right side and I’m going up there and as soon as I get the ball there’s like a four-foot hole opened and the line did a great job there. All I had to do is make one cut and it was wide open right into the end zone. There was no one there,” he said.
“The plays we ran before really set up that play. They were all reading the left for a sweep, but we just ran it up the middle.”
South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth said, “Feudale is a great back. It’s one of those things, you try to stop their sweep and their counter criss-cross and then they hit you with the dive, they hit you with the play-action.”
Young said, “Their middle was wide open. I guess the plays before it made their defense flow and opened up that middle.”
His own long TD was one for the highlight film. “They called my number around the right side and I saw the open field so I thought ‘I’m scoring.’ I had to go through some people, but I started thinking I was going to score.”
South Williamsport (10-2) used its solid one-two punch of fullback Brandon Stonge and Dominick Bragalone to trade punches with the Tigers early. Bragalone put his team up 6-0 with 7:20 left in the first period on an exciting 43-yard TD run on a sweep to the right on which he hurdled the final defender and kept his balance to reach the end zone.
The Mounties squibbed the ensuing kickoff but up-man Matt Jeremiah fell on it at the Tigers’ 46. Four plays later, Young picked up good downfield blockers and worked his way through traffic for the first Tiger score at 5:26 of the first.
“Any time you’re playing Southern, and you get a score like (Bragalone’s TD), you feel good about it, and you hope it can lead to more, and positive things. But Southern, hats off to them. They have a great program,” Eiswerth added.
The Feudale TD was the start of a stretch in which Southern (12-0) scored on six straight possessions and seven of eight.
Feudale’s go-ahead score was set up by a Jake Becker block of a Matt Bartholomew punt after a high snap, which came on the heels of a sack of quarterback Tyler House by Mitch Stanziale and Trent Donlan.
The offensive onslaught was complemented by a defense that, after the third series, limited the Mountaineers, who averaged 37 points a game, to no more than four plays per possession the rest of the way.
With the front line doing the job up front, the Tigers’ linebackers, Garet Sosnoski, Tony Chiavaroli, Cody Pavlick and Robert Delbo, combined to hold the vaunted Mounties’ running game in check, except for the first two series and the end of the game, when the reserves were on the field.
Roth said, “The outside linebacker was key especially when they tried to run the toss play and (Sosnoski) has really come on throughout the season He’s a first-year starter but he’s almost like a first-year player because he missed almost his entire season last year with an injury. He played physical when they tried to get outside and it seemed like a lot of these first-year starters have really stepped up defensively.”
Roth said his team didn’t panic, but stayed calm when the Mounties took the early lead. “It was nice to see, because the offense was able to go down and answer that pretty quick and I think that took a little bit out of them and changed the momentum, and the defense picked it up,” he added..
The efficiency of the running game set up the third score for the Tigers as Young hit Matt Lupold on a play-action pass on a post play for a 50-yard TD. Young picked up 30 yards to set up his own 2-yard TD run and Feudale got his second TD, a 25-yarder, to complete the first-half scoring, with a 35-6 lead.