By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
CATAWISSA — The first quarter surely didn’t go the way Southern Columbia had hoped Friday night. Just two possessions that resulted in a missed field goal and an interception and a scoreless game entering the second.
But then the Tigers started playing like, well, the Tigers.
From the second quarter on, Southern Columbia put together seven consecutive drives, all with the same result: a touchdown.
The Tigers offense rolled once they started loosening up and Southern Columbia walked away with a season-opening victory at home against Pius X, 55-28.
“I knew that we needed to pick it up a lot. So I thought we increased the intensity,” Southern Columbia running back Adam Feudale said. “(In the) beginning, we came out too sluggish, too slow. We weren’t moving the ball. Then we just stepped it up. We knew what we had to do and we just took it to them.”
While Pius X (0-1) caused some problems for Tigers quarterback Nate Becker (41 yards), the running game of Southern Columbia (1-0) rolled over the Royals’ defense.
The Tigers ran the ball 46 times for 411 yards. Feudale led the charge with 126 on 14 carries, while Billy Marzeski ran for 85 on three carries and both Matt Lupold and Nate Hunter ran for 60 yards a piece.
Six of Southern’s touchdowns came on the ground.
“I wasn’t very proud (of our running game) in the beginning, but we stepped it up and we started running the ball hard and I was proud,” Feudale said. “I was really proud of my linemen. They stepped it up and started getting blocks and hitting people, and that’s what it takes.”
The Tigers built a 20-0 lead to head into halftime against the Royals.
Feudale put the first points on the board with an 8-yard score early in the second before quarterback Nate Becker had a 1-yard keeper to go up 14-0. Luke Rarig then returned a punt 78 yards before the half ended.
Pius X struggled to do anything against the Tigers in the first half, having just 73 yards of total offense.
Royals quarterback Tre Jordan started connecting with ease after halftime, however. The 6-foot-1 sophomore ended the night going 12-for-18 through the air for 234 passing yards after throwing for just 18 in the first half.
Jordan opened the second quarter with 85- and 62-yard touchdown strikes. All four of Pius X’s scores came from Jordan’s arm.
“It’s a wide-open scheme, so they’re going to get some yards,” Southern Columbia coach Jim Roth said. “A team that runs a scheme like that with some talent and some athletes, they’re going to get some yards.”
The Royals and Tigers exchanged scores back-and-forth throughout the third quarter as five touchdowns were scored.
Pius X never seriously threatened Southern Columbia, however. After the Tigers built up a 20-0 lead, Pius X never brought it closer than 20.
The Royals’ first five drives of the game resulted in three punts, a turnover on downs, and the end of the second quarter.