KEMP MEMORIAL STADIUM: After flood waters ravaged much of the Susquehanna Valley and its tributaries, including areas like Catawissa, Elysburg and Shamokin, things were looking much more back-to-normal on Saturday night. The week-three football game was pushed back a day due to the fact that both teams had just played the previous Monday. Each team was victorious in their last contest, setting up this Heartland Conference cross-over rivalry between ‘AAA’ Shamokin and ‘A’ Southern Columbia.
The Indians received the opening kick to start, but turned the ball over to the Tigers after coming up short on a fourth-and-inches play near mid-field. With excellent field position, Southern went to work. Casey Savitski ran for the first first-down of the game on a six yard rush, where and incidental face-mask penalty advanced the ball to the 31 of Shamokin. That’s when Matt Moore got his first touch of the night, cut to the outside, and raced 31 yards for the opening score. SC’s kicking game struggled all night starting with the initial PAT, which was nearly blocked and sailed wide left. The score was 6 – 0 for the Tigers.
The Tiger Defense then forced Shamokin to another three-and-out series when Moore stopped Zach Tillett for no gain on 3rd & 7. After the punt, Southern began to march forward until a sack and intentional grounding penalty netted a 2nd & 27 at the Tiger 40. The set-back was quickly over-come however, when Tyler Levan caught a screen pass and ran 23 yards to the Indian 37. Following this, Moore got his second carry. Breaking at least four tackles as he pounded his way down-field, he broke free and went the distance. A blocked PAT left the score 12 – 0.
The Indians were able to muster a first down on their next series, but were forced to punt after six plays. The punt did help Shamokin with field position, forcing the Tigers to start from their own 20, but it didn’t seem to matter. Levan took a hand-off straight up the gut, broke to the left and never looked back, en route to an 80 yard score. The 2-point conversion failed, and it was 18 – 0.
Things were looking very bleak for the Indians when Jamie Slotterback sacked Tucker Yost for a loss of 5, setting up a 3rd & 15 at the Shamokin 35. However, fullback Draven Miller gave them a break on the next play. Finding a hole in the middle, he burst for the 65 yard score with 9.8 seconds left in the first quarter. The Indians had some life now at 18 – 7.
The kick-after-touchdown went to Savitski, who scrambled and fought his way down to Shamokin territory at the 41. A hit well out-of-bounds added another 15 yards to the 26 yard marker. Next, QB Brad Fegley was hit late on a pass attempt as time ran out in the first quarter. The Tigers had another shot from the 13th hash-mark with 0:00 on the clock. Savitski once again got the ball and bulled his way to the end-zone. A score of 25 – 7 marked the end of a wild opening period.
Unable to gain much on the ground, Yost went to the air to keep the next drives going. He connected with Devin Madara for 30 yards, then 2 and 6. Finally, on 3rd & goal at the 2 he tossed a flare pass to Andrew Hasuga for the score, making it 25 – 14.
Toward the end of the first half, Shamokin was forced to punt, when a fumbled snap got the punter tackled at the 8 yard-line by David Jeremiah. Three plays later, Levan punched it in from the 5. The Indians had one more shot before the half, but that hope ended with a QB sack as time ran out. The teams entered the lockers with a score of 33-14.
Southern’s first team was only in the game for one series in the second half, and that resulted in another score by Levan. Not to be out-done, the second-team added another touchdown at 4:33 in the 3rd when Cody Pavlick rumbled in from the 20. Coach Roth got his reserves some valuable playing time for the remainder of the game while Shamokin kept much of its first-team on the field. The Indians were able to add one more score early in the final quarter to make it 46-21 on a 2-yard dive by Miller. In all, the Tiger reserves held strong, including a goal-line stand at the end of the game.
SHAMOKIN (1-2) hosts a struggling Selinsgrove(0-3) team next week in HAC-I action. The Indians have a somewhat softer schedule in the middle of their season to get some of the kinks worked-out. They were able to find some success passing tonight, going 11/16 for 98 yards and a touchdown. Their running-game struggled outside of the 65-yard TD run by Miller. Beside that run they averaged less than 2.8 yards per carry.
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (3-0) hosts an improving Central Columbia (1-2) team next week in HAC-II action. They were physically dominating tonight, but will need to address some issues on defense as their season gets more difficult. As for the offense – the rushing trio was unstoppable: Levan led the rushing totals with 116 yards on 10 carries with 3 TD’s; Moore compiled 77 yards and 2 TD’s on just six carries (12.8+ AVG); and Savitski went 39 yards on 5 carries with a TD. Defensively, Tom Schetroma, Cameron Flore, Kieth Day, Slotterback and Moore led the way keeping the Indian running game bottled-up.