CATAWISSA RR — Gavin Garcia was looking for redemption.
Despite a lopsided win at Mount Carmel last week, the one thing that stuck in his and fellow running backs’ craws was that the Red Tornadoes limited the vaunted Tiger running game to 136 yards and just 3.6 yards per carry.
So, when Garcia took his first handoff against Selinsgrove Friday evening at Jim Roth Field at Tiger Stadium the freshman halfback was not ready to be tackled even though it appeared the rush would only be for a marginal gain. With his team already up 7-0 over the Seals, Garcia broke a tackle then headed across the field, picked up one block and raced for a 37-yard touchdown.
It was one of five big plays on the night for the Tigers, who cruised to a 48-0 victory, scoring all 48 points in the first half.
Gavin Garcia also had a 26-yard TD pass from Stone Hollenbach and a 58-yard scoring run and his brother, junior Gaige, added a 34-yard TD run.
Gavin said, “Mount Carmel has a pretty strong run defense and we came into this game looking to get redemption on the last game. On the first carry, I got in the open field and did what I thought I could do and it was a big confidence booster for the rest of the game.”
Gavin didn’t expect the run to go for a big gain at first. He commented, “I got around the first corner and I kind of thought I was going to get tackled and I broke one (tackle) and I saw Preston (Zachman) hit the one guy and I saw a lot of green on the right side. I knew there was one defender over there to beat and I got past the defender and it was open from there.”
He added, “Last week was really rough with the run game and tonight, my brother especially, stepped it up. He had a crazy game.”
Gaige said the 37-yard TD run by his brother was just like Gavin did in junior high.
The older Garcia said, “I can’t say enough good things about him. He really showed he can play varsity football and can play at a high level. He did it just like he did in junior high and I wasn’t sure it was going to work at this level, but he showed today that it can still work.”
Southern coach Jim Roth said the running game was one area he wanted to see improve, and said the biggest problem was that half of the front line graduated.
“We haven’t played the best there up until this point and I thought tonight we stepped it up and they did a nice job. They executed, got off the ball and stayed on blocks better than last week,” he said.
Roth said the first-year starters, tackle Jake Herr, guard Ross Wertman and rotating tight ends Cam Haladay and Wade Kerstetter played better than previous games.
Gavin said, “It’s a good team effort, without all them doing that (blocking downfield) you can’t get those big runs. Everyone’s got to block and do their part for this offense to work and I think that’s what we did tonight”.
Fullback Ty Roadarmel capped the scoring with a 5-yard run and, with Ethan Dunkelberger’s five PATs, it was 48-0 with 3:45 left in the first half. Roth elected not to run a play after Southern reached the Selinsgrove 2-yard line before the half ended.
Selinsgrove was held to negative 17 yards of offense by Southern’s first team in the first half.