By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | November 13, 2010 | Photo courtesy The Review
CATAWISSA, R.D. - There are two glaring misconceptions dealing with Friday night's District 4 Class A matchup at Tigers Stadium that need to be addressed.
First of all, it was not an Arena League matchup between Southern Columbia and Canton. Second, the final score of 68-52 was in no way indicative of the game.
The Tigers (9-2), who will square off next Friday against Line Mountain for the D-4 title, were well in control of the Warriors (6-5), holding a commanding 55-12 lead in the third quarter when head coach Jim Roth chose to sit down the majority of his starters while Canton's varsity chose to feast on Southern's reserves to pad the statistics and tally enough points to make the run-of-the-mill fan think it was a battle.
"Coming off last week's game with Selinsgrove I wanted to make sure we took care of business on the field and come out of the game injury-free," Roth said. "I think we accomplished both goals and at the same time a lot of our players got to see significant time under varsity conditions."
The Warriors did perform in the opening quarter like they were going to make the Tigers earn every yard and point. Junior quarterback Ben Pepper displayed some outstanding footwork, scoring on an 18 yard run, to give the visitors a brief 6-0 lead, and after Southern took the lead, 14-6, the shifty quarterback outraced the secondary for a 77 yard run for his second touchdown to cut his team's deficit to 14-12.
Southern took the lead, 7-6, when Jake Townsend hit Keith Day in stride for a 27 yard touchdown and Colton Yeick booted the first of seven extra points. Four minutes later, following a 34 yard completion to Tyrell Thomas to the visitors' 18-yard line, Tim Benner tallied the first of his four touchdowns on a two yard run.
Southern took control with a 20-point outburst to provide the home team with a 34-12 advantage after 12 minutes of play. Jake Morton scored on a 38 yard run while Benner caught a 31 yard scoring pass from Townsend and added a 16 yard run to end the period.
Benner opened the second quarter by scoring on a four yard scamper and Thomas outran the Warriors' secondary on a reverse for a 74 yard touchdown.
"Their quarterback hurt us with some outstanding individual play in the first quarter," Roth said. "However, our offense took care of business and we took advantage of their defense and hurt them with the passing game, but our running attack still got the job done."
Tyler Levan opened the "Mercy Rule" second half by scoring on a two-yard run to put the Tigers in front, 55-12, and later contributed touchdown runs of 70 and 16 yards while the Warriors took advantage of the Southern reserves to tack on 40 second-half points that did nothing more than make the second half take longer than was necessary.