Southern Columbia wins 9th state crown
HERSHEY — Southern Columbia broke open a close game with a big second half, defeating Wilmington 49-14 in the PIAA Class AA Championship Game on Friday afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium.
The championship was the ninth overall for the Tigers and it came in their 17th appearance in the title game.
Southern Columbia completed a perfect 16-0 season.
Junior running back Gaige Garcia had a huge game for District 4 champion Southern Columbia, rushing for 134 yards and three touchdowns and catching two passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
His brother, freshman Gavin Garcia, ran seven times for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilmington led 14-7 late in the first half when Gaige Garcia’s 32-yard touchdown pass from Stone Hollenbach on the half’s final play allowed the Tigers to forge a 14-14 tie at the break.
The second half was all Southern Columbia.
Gaige Garcia scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, the first on a 26-yard run and the second on a 37-yard hookup with Hollenbach.
Defensive back Shane Miller picked off a pair of Wilmington passes, with both setting up Tigers touchdowns.
Hollenbach, headed to Alabama as a preferred walk-on, connected on 12-of-17 passes for 166 yards and the two touchdowns to Gaige Garcia.
After a scoreless first quarter, Wilmington struck first when Ethan Susen scored on a 2-yard run.
Wilmington finished with 177 yards rushing and 83 passing for 260 total yards. Robert Pontius led the ground attack with 73 yards on 10 carries.
Southern Columbia finished with 462 yards of total offense, 296 on the ground and 166 through the air.
Thursday’s late game Class 4A Championship Erie Cath. Prep 38 Imhotep Charter 7
HERSHEY — Billy Lucas broke the record for most rushing yards in a state final as the District 10 champion Ramblers beat Imhotep in the title game for the third straight season.
The 6-foot, 205-pound senior carried 40 times for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Thursday night’s contest. He has scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Duquesne and Old Dominion.
Lucas eclipsed the old mark of 251 set by Parkland’s Austin Scott in the Trojans’ 34-12 triumph over District 7’s Woodland Hills in 2002.
In 13 games this season, Lucas rushed 256 times for 2,085 yards and 26 scores. Cathedral Prep finished with 377 rushing yards on 58 attempts, scoring three times in the second half to blow open a 17-7 halftime lead.