Southern Columbia Football Preview 2012
The Tigers have only seven starters (three on offense, four on defense) returning from last season’s team that went 14-2 and reached the Class A state final. It’s the fewest number of starters returning in Jim Roth’s head coaching career now in its 29th season. While playing experience will be at a premium, there is still plenty of talent for this traditional powerhouse.
For the second consecutive season, Southern Columbia must replace their entire starting backfield. The Tigers always utilize three running backs in their Wing-T attack, and Jim Roth feels they will once again have talent at those positions, led by Adam Feudale, a bruising 5-9, 200 pound junior who could have a great season at fullback. Another junior Matt Lupold, will be at one halfback position. The other halfback spot will be shared by junior Nate Hunter and freshman Blake Marks, son of former Tiger great, Jerry Marks. Roth is confident in the talents of all of these running backs.
Last season Brad Fegley had a great season at quarterback throwing for over 1700 yards and starting all 16 games without throwing a single interception. Replacing Fegley this season will be senior Taylor Young, the backup last season. Young does not have the physicality of Fegley, but might be a step quicker and has a stronger arm.
At wide receiver, the Tigers need to replace Keith Day. They have three speedsters who will try to fill Day’s shoes: seniors Joe Kleman and Bryce Parry, and sophomore Luke Rarig. If the Tigers running game is effective, long passes off play action could be a real weapon with the speed of these receivers.
Up front, Southern Columbia has three of the front six returning including tight end Jake Becker, a first team Heartland Conference selection last season. The Tigers will have good size and experience at the tackle positions- 6-4, 250 pound junior Josh Tripp will be at one tackle spot. The other will be manned by 6-0, 260 pound senior Ryan Cherwinski who started at center in 2011. Taking over the center spot will be a big and talented sophomore, Trent Donlan, who started on the defensive line as a 9th grader. The Tigers will have two new starting guards- in the mix will be a good sized freshman Josh Yoder, senior Ryan Gooler, and juniors Colin Drake and Logan Reynolds.
Experience, but not talent is a concern on defense. The Tigers must replace all four of their linebackers in their 4-4 scheme, but they have speed and talent. Big things are expected from the inside duo of juniors Robert Delbo and Cody Pavlick. Delbo is one of the team’s strongest players. Outside will be two players with speed: junior Garet Sosnoski and senior Tony Chiavaroli.
Up front Jake Becker moves from linebacker to defensive end. Trent Donlan returns as a starter at tackle. The other tackle spot might go to senior Will Wertman who has good size at 6-0, 285 pounds. Junior Mitch Stanziale has had an impressive preseason at defensive end.
The secondary has both talents and experience. Seniors Joe Kleman and Bryce Parry started at the corners last season, and junior Nate Hunter saw some action backing up Keith Day at safety.
Overall this unit has a chance to be very good. Roth thinks there is more speed in the back seven than in any team that he has coached.
This area should be a major strength for Southern Columbia. They have plenty of speed for kick and punt returns; senior Dylan Swank, an excellent placekicker, returns; Luke Rarig gets good distance on kickoffs; and Jake Becker is a very good punter.
Despite the loss of 15 starters, the Tigers have the talent for another strong postseason run. Because they were moved to Division 3 of the Heartland Conference their schedule has changed radically. They will still face five or six challenges, but their 2012 schedule won’t be the gauntlet it has been the past few seasons. Gone from last season’s schedule are Line Mountain, Montoursville, Lewisburg, Danville, and Loyalsock. In their place are Warrior Run, South Williamsport, Muncy, Montgomery, and Pius X.