MONTOURSVILLE — For the second consecutive week, Southern Columbia was held scoreless in a lackluster first quarter. Unlike last week’s furious rally against Line Mountain, however, there was less nailbiting for the Tigers this time around.
Southern broke the game open in the second quarter with three touchdowns in three minutes, and Jake Townsend passed for 226 yards and three touchdowns as Southern rolled to a 42-6 Heartland Athletic Conference Division II victory over Montoursville on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
It marked the first HAC-II meeting between the schools, with Montoursville dropping down from HAC-I in the PIAA’s most recent re-alignment.
“We had a lot of problems early. (Montoursville) confused us at times and did a good job of throwing us off,” said Southern coach Jim Roth, whose Tigers scored 49 consecutive points after falling behind 20-0 early against Line Mountain. “We hit some things before halftime, and that made it a lot easier, because they were doing a lot of things that we weren’t picking up earlier.”
By scoring the first 42 points of Friday’s game, the Tigers (2-0, 1-0 HAC-II) scored 91 straight points against their two opponents before Cameron Ott’s 53-yard touchdown scamper late in the game, one of the few highlights for a Montoursville (1-1, 1-1) squad that would have finished with negative rushing yards had it not been for Ott’s long run.
“The defense was solid from the first play,” Roth said.
Southern’s defense limited the Warriors to just six first downs — one by penalty — and 69 total yards. At halftime, Montoursville had produced just two yards of offense and one first down.
“The defense brought us back. It’s big when your defense steps up and the offense doesn’t let down,” said Townsend, who was 7-for-10 for 181 yards with two TD passes in the first half.
Still, it required some opportunism for the Tigers to take the lead. Keith Day recovered a muffed punt at the Montoursville 23, and five plays later Jake Morton took it in around the left end from six yards out for a 7-0 lead with 2:56 left in the half.
Montoursville went three-and-out on its next series, and on Southern’s first play after the punt, Townsend and Morton hooked up on a screen pass, with Morton taking it the distance from 42 yards away with 1:26 left in the half.
Southern’s defense produced another three-and-out, with the Tigers getting the ball back with just 17 second left after judicious use of their timeouts. After an incomplete pass, Townsend connected on a wheel route with Aaron Zigarski, who took it down the right sideline for a 41-yard score and a 21-0 lead with just three seconds left before the break.
The Tigers then scored on their two third-period possessions, with wingback Tyrell Thomas hauling in an 11-yard TD pass from Townsend and scoring on a three-yard run to put the Tigers up 35-0. Tyler Levan capped the scoring with a four-yard TD run, and Colton Yeick made all six extra point attempts.
“At the start we were getting blown off the ball and the offense wasn’t going,” said Townsend. “But we got a got a couple of big passes near the end of the half, and then we got balanced after that.”
Southern dominated in time of possession, amassing 63 offensive plays to just 34 for Montoursville.