Local football fans are mostly in agreement that the Southern Columbia Area Tigers are on one of those rolls in 2013.

A 22nd District 4 Class A title is likely Saturday night when SCA hosts South Williamsport, and the Tigers' 11-0 record - most of the wins convincing - has built expectations for a seventh state title shot come early December.

Before we get ahead of ourselves with Tiger football, however, we need to discuss Southern Columbia Area girls soccer. The team, after falling one game short in 1998, 1999 and 2002, will make its first appearance at 5 p.m. today in the state title game against Greensburg Central Catholic.

That's right. The soccer team may bring home the gold first this year.

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Regardless of the outcome of today's game or Southern's football season, the school district is once again doing a fine job in representing itself through athletics. The pride associated with those accomplishments, once they reach the state level, spreads to the entire region. Rivals from teams such as Mount Carmel Area will no doubt be Tiger fans, at least for today.

More than sports, however, Southern Columbia Area continues to prove itself as an all-around solid school district. Its graduation rate for 2011-12 was 98.97 percent - seventh best of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts, and it beats neighboring school districts and many others statewide in PSSA testing.

Interestingly, too, Southern is in rare territory in its serious consideration of a "pay-to-play" model for sports and other extra-curricular activities, dousing the notion that athletics enjoy unfettered financial backing at Southern.

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While the drive for sporting success too often misdirects the priorities of school leaders, Southern has shown there can be success in both sports and academics.

And don't doubt that the success of athletics improves academics, and vice-versa. One of the lessons of sports is the discipline it teaches. Student-athletes must manage their time to keep up with school work and practice, and they must maintain high grades to remain on the team. It all works together in making successful teams, and students.

So it's not surprising that another Southern team is playing for state gold today. And suffice it to say, not many Tiger fans need directions to Hershey-park Stadium.