Southern Columbia ends Mount Carmel's unbeaten season in district final

Nov. 19—MOUNT CARMEL — Southern Columbia coach Jim Roth is the all-time winningest coach in Pennsylvania, and he says Friday night's 48-18 District 4 Class 2A championship win over Mount Carmel will stick out among all of his nearly 500 career victories.

"Down the road, I'll look back on this one, and the undefeated seasons and the state championship. This will definitely be one of the wins that stand out," Roth said as Mount Carmel turned out the lights at snowy Jazz Diminick Field at the Silver Bowl. "The way the regular season went, and to work at it and work at it and come back to get that kind of finish at the district level ... Hopefully, we can win three more (for a sixth straight state championship), but this one is really rewarding.

"Those Julian Fleming-era (games), you kind of know you're going to win every week. That's great, but it's a little more satisfying when you have to overcome that adversity."

Two big things reversed the Red Tornadoes' 35-21 victory in the teams' first meeting a month ago: Two-way standout Wes Barnes missed that contest for Southern with an injury, and senior Isaac Carter was still playing soccer.

With Barnes back at linebacker and Carter on the defensive line, a revamped Southern Columbia defense has become a turnover machine. With four turnovers Friday night and another defensive touchdown, the Tigers have forced 14 turnovers and have five defensive scores over the last three weeks.

"It definitely helps a lot. It gives us new bodies, and fresh bodies at the defensive line," Southern Columbia senior two-way lineman Chris Treshock said. "We changed up some things in practice. Last game against Mount Carmel, I was getting double-teamed all the time. I had a lot more one-v-ones in this game."

Take away Michael Farronato's 24-yard TD run when the Tigers led by three scores, the Mount Carmel ran the ball 23 times for 6 yards in the game. That's a far cry from the 311 yards Southern Columbia allowed on the ground to the Red Tornadoes in October.

"We made some big improvements in our run defense, and these guys knew we had to if we were going to beat these guys," Roth said. "Wes getting back healthy, and inserting Isaac into the defensive line, it's made a huge difference. They are both such great athletes. They made a difference."

Barnes' return played a huge role in the run game Friday. Mount Carmel was able to bottle up Braeden Wisloski in the first game without Barns to attack the middle of the defense. With Barnes back, the Tigers ran for 408 yards. Wisloski led the way with 205 yards and three TDs, while Barnes finished with 174 yards and a score.

"They would see motion (from the halfbacks) and slant to the motion. We saw that last game, but we couldn't take advantage," Barnes said. "It gave us big problems, and Braeden couldn't run around the outside."

Mount Carmel was hit by a heavy snow squall about 45 minutes before game time, and it left the field covered in snow. Both teams had trouble getting going offensively between slipping in the snow and fumbling. Mount Carmel struck first late in the second quarter, taking advantage of a Southern Columbia team that had seven penalties in the first half.

Wisloski fumbled the ball after an 8-yard gain, and Mount Carmel followed with a 13-yard pass to Luke Blessing and a 15-yard penalty on the Tigers to move the ball to the Southern Columbia 20 in two plays. It took the Red Tornadoes another eight plays to cover the final 20 yards, including two fourth-down conversions. The last resulted in a 5-yard TD pass to Garrett Varano with 4:27 left in the first half after the Tigers were called for pass interference on a fourth-down stop on the previous play. A poor snap on the PAT left the game 6-0.

It then looked as though Mount Carmel's defense forced a three-and-out, but Carter — the Tigers' punter — made a one-handed stab of a high snap and ran up the middle for a first down to keep the drive alive.

"I was originally going to run a fake because they overloaded the right side of the line," Carter said. "The bad snap helped, I think, because the middle of the field just opened up."

Wisloski had a 38-yard TD run called back because of a holding penalty, but Barnes ripped off a 29-yard run on the next play and scored a 6-yard TD with 8.1 seconds left. Carter's extra point gave Southern Columbia a lead it never relinquished.

The Tigers scored on every possession in the second half. Southern Columbia took the second-half kickoff 60 yards in 10 plays, capped by Carter Madden's 1-yard TD run made it 14-6. After a quick three-and-out, Wisloski raced 55 yards for a touchdown for a 21-6 lead with 4:34 left in the third quarter.

Jake Hoy made his second interception of the game, a diving grab on the Mount Carmel 34, and the Tigers used 12 plays to add to their lead. Madden scored with 9:17 left in the game to put the Tigers up 28-6.

Mount Carmel (12-1) added two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Red Tornadoes never stopped the Tigers nor recovered either of their onside kicks.

Southern Columbia (10-3) will go on the road in the state quarterfinals in a battle of two of the top programs in the state. The Tigers will play Bishop Guilfoyle (10-3), a 56-35 winner over Penns Valley in the District 6 championship game. That game will be next week, possibly at Mansion Park on Friday night.



at the Silver Bowl, Mount Carmel


Southern Columbia (10-3);0;7;14;27 — 48

Mount Carmel (12-1);0;6;0;12 — 18


Second quarter

MCA-Garrett Varano 5 pass from Cole Spears (kick failed)

SCA-Wes Barnes 6 run (Isaac Carter kick)

Third quarter

SCA-Carter Madden 1 run (Carter kick)

SCA-Braeden Wisloski 55 run (Carter kick)

Fourth quarter

SCA-Madden 2 run (Carter kick)

MCA-Michael Farronato 26 run (pass failed)

SCA-Wisloski 13 run (kick blocked)

MCA-Farronato 12 pass from Spears (run failed)

SCA-Wisloski 56 run (Carter kick)

SCA-Kyle Christman 55 interception return (Carter kick)



First downs;19;10

Rushes-net yards;57-408;24-30

Passing yards;(-11);158





RUSHING — Southern Columbia: Braeden Wisloski 17-205, 3 TDs; Wes Barnes 24-174, TD; Carter Madden 7-24, 2 TDs; Tyler Arnold 5-10; Isaac Carter 1-10; Team 3-(-15). Mount Carmel: Michael Farronato 5-29, TD; Luke Blessing 9-18; Ryan Weidner 1-5; Cole Spears 2-1; Garrett Varano 1-0; Team 1-(-5); Xavier Diaz 5-(-10).

PASSING — Southern Columbia: Blake Wise 1-2-1 for (-11) yards; Mount Carmel: Spears 14-25-3 for 158 yards, 2 TDs.

RECEIVING — Southern Columbia: Barnes, 1-(-11); Mount Carmel: Jacob Schultz 3-65; Varano 5-50, TD; Farronato 4-23, TD; Blessing 1-12; Matt Scicchitano 1-8.