Thursday, September 16, 2010

Southern vs. Shamokin Preview for Week 3

On Friday, Southern and Shamokin will play for the 6th time in the modern era with the Tigers holding a 4-1 advantage including winning the last four in row.  The game has still been a great rivalry between the school with great attendance, but it now lacking some regional media exposure. Southern hasn't won a state title since 2006 and Shamokin hasn't had a .500 season since 2005 haven't been a playoff team since the '04 campaign.

I believe this game will be different. It has to go back to the 2009 game which Southern won by a 21-7 score.  Jake Morton scored on a 62-yard run on the second play of the game and the Indians battled them 14-7 the rest of the way.

I have had the opportunity to see Shamokin twice and Southern once.  The Indians went to a wing-T offense but unlike Southern run their motion man parallel to the line of scrimmage.  With that change, the Indians have been able to pound teams with the running game a piling up time of possession minutes.  Defensively, Shamokin has made huge strides in the secondary in both coverage and run support (tackling).  The Indians also improved in the penalty department committing only 9 in two games and one 15-yarder.

In one of the strangest games in 30-plus years around high school football, Southern came back from on the ropes down 20-0 to Line Mountain  to route the Eagles 49-20.  The Tigers took advantage of injuries and 7 turnovers with the comeback.  For the season, the Tigers now have a plus-8 turnover ratio.

How will Friday play out?  With absence of Tom Schetroma for Southern, Wes Tillet will be the best lineman on the field and makes the rest of his teammates much better.  The Tigers have been coming out of the gate slow with no touchdowns in the first period while Shamokin has been getting out of the gate quick but has a tendancy to coast in the middle.  Shamokin has enough parts to stop the run.  The Indians can't afford to coast due to the Tigers putting up 77 in the middle quarters this season.

Give the edge to Southern if it comes down to special teams with the punting of Tim Benner and placekicking of Colton Yeick being better than Shamokin's punter Jared Montgomery and placekicker Jon Vanaskie.

Shamokin hasn't trailed all season and their first team defense hasn't been scored upon.  Southern is well tested and has played from behind.  If Shamokin scores first they can win.  Don't blink.  Barring a major injury, this game will be over in under 2 hours.  Over the coarse of the series Shamokin has played Southern tough with the exception of 2006.  No one was beating the Tigers in 2006.  In mild upset pick, Shamokin 20, Southern 14.


It was great to see so many members of Shamokin's 1975 Eastern Conference Championship team including head coach Tim Montgomery who came in from Maryland.  Great memories were shared with coaches and team members.  Team member Geoff Thomas came in for the reunion from the state of Wyoming. 

Joking around with team members, I forgot the great game Brian Jeremiah had on the defensive front stopping a great veer attack by the Pottsville Crimson Tide in a 21-20 win.  Not to matter, the '75 Indians are champions forever.

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