The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 12, 2013

Tigers, Tornadoes ready to renew rivalry

By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item

— MOUNT CARMEL — After a game last week in which its opponent, Montgomery, was out-manned in every possible way, Southern Columbia has to turn things up a notch Friday night against rival Mount Carmel in a Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game.

But, as Southern Columbia coach Jim Roth knows, these are not your father’s Red Tornadoes. They are not even coach Jazz Diminick’s Red Tornadoes. In fact, some fans will wonder if these are coach Carmen De-Francesco’s Red Tornadoes. Yet Roth, knowing what graduation did to Mount Carmel, was not surprised when he learned in the offseason that DeFrancesco would replace the vaunted Mount Carmel power running game with a more wide-open attack, featuring senior quarterback Zach Wasilewski running the read-option.

“They are simply taking advantage of their talent right now,” Roth said.

“The one thing we have stressed this week is that everybody has to be ready right off the opening kick to play at a much higher level than last week. You don’t simulate these things in practices. When it comes down to it, the kids haven’t stepped on the field and played a competitive game in two weeks and that is our biggest concern,” Roth said. Of course neither coach should have had to sell his players on getting emotionally ready to face their biggest rival.

Roth said, “The nice thing about games like this is that aspect takes care of itself. You don’t have to do a lot to get the kids prepared and be emotionally up for the game.”

DeFrancesco was unavailable for comment this week. Because the Red Tornadoes have shown good runto- pass balance, Roth said his defense will be unable to focus too much on any particular phase of the game, and will have to play disciplined.

“You can’t scheme as much because (Mount Carmel) is doing both things effectively. And, when you have quarterback that runs, that makes it that much tougher.

He added that when teams run the spread, it moves the defense around.

“They will be as hard to defend as anyone we face because of their scheme. This is the best they’ve thrown the ball in years, in their first couple of games, and on top of that, the quarterback is running.”

The Southern coach said that having played a passing team in Pius X in the opener should help the Tigers against what Mount Carmel is doing.

“We had two breakdowns that both resulted in touchdowns and some other assignment issues. Playing in a first game against a spread team has some problems with it, but that experience is good because hopefully we learned form it. But it alerted us that we didn’t play that scheme the best,” he said.

Roth said that, rather than the new-look offense, the biggest surprise with the Red Tornadoes this season has been how well they seem to be playing up front with all of the people they lost and the first-year starters.

“They might not be as strong as previous lines, but the kids are playing with a lot of desire and a lot of hustle,” Roth said. “They certainly didn’t have problems holding their own in the first two games,” he added.