SCA players remember key moments
Southern Columbia alums were very generous with their memories when asked to speak about the program's 50th anniversary and their favorite recollections. The News-Item asked players, coaches and fans from throughout the team's history to submit what they remember best about their time playing for, coaching for or cheering for the Tigers. These three selected submissions really bring out the key moments, but, more importantly, the bonds made over the years. Thank you to all who submitted.
Remembering Doc Forney – Southern Columbia's quarterback on the '62 and '63 squads
I was fortunate to have played on Southern's first football team in 1962, but because of a knee injury that year, was not so fortunate to have played on the '63 squad. That first year of football was the first introduction of the students from Catawissa, Numidia, Elysburg, and surrounding areas. I remember that on the first day of summer football camp we stood around in separate groups, but not for long. As happened with the overall student body, within short order we were all one team.
Doc was Southern's first quarterback, and Max Creasy and I played fullback and halfback. Our favorite and best-executed play, I believe, was the quick kick. We'd surprise the opposition on 3rd down by snapping the ball directly through Doc's legs and I'd take a step to my right and send the ball downfield in the hope of avoiding a long runback. After awhile, it wasn't much of a surprise.
Years before consolidation of the school districts, Doc and I used to play catch on the streets of Catawissa. Doc would drop back and pass in the style of Y.A. Tittle, and I'd snag his passes in the style of Lynn Swann (at least, as I remember it). During our first real season, Doc still threw like Y.A. Tittle, but without my glasses I snagged his passes more like Mr. Magoo. I remember running a sideline route, looking back, and having Doc bounce one off my helmet. Never saw it coming! In the huddle, I asked him not to do that again, and friends that we were, he didn't. He bounced other passes off my shoulder pads and chest.
Doc was a sturdy kid and talented athlete. Max was a burly tank. I still have a scar on my hand from the snap on Jerry's helmet, and a bump in the joint of my thumb from the last play of the season (I believe it was at Mount Carmel). I've often told the stories about our '62 undefeated season and district championship – at least that's how I remember it. Thanks for the memories, guys. Thank you, Doc.
Submitted by John Eveland (Class of ’64)
The turning point – A win over Hughesville snaps the streak
If I have my history and/or dates correct, 32 years ago this week Southern ended its longest losing streak in football with a 21-0 victory over Hughesville. The game took place on a Thursday night and was delayed because of a lightning storm that went through the area just before the scheduled kickoff. The win, which was quite a relief for the coaching staff (which included area football icons Ulicny, Roth, and Mills) and players, also allowed the Southern Columbia School District to salvage some PR since for the first time in years the school calendar didn't have a "Fair Day" on it. Southern students had the next day off, Friday, to celebrate the win (go to the Fair).
Submitted by Bob Williams (Class of '82)
Over the hump – Winning the first of 16 consecutive District 4 titles
I played football for Southern in 1992. Obviously Southern has accomplished an incredible amount since 1992. I have experienced many exciting and thrilling games as a player there and watching my younger brother play there after me, as well as closely following their program since then. But this memory of the District 4 championship game in 1992 really stands out, because even with their many district and state titles, I believe the 1992 District 4 championship game versus Canton, at Canton, was one of the most, if not the most, exciting finishes in their football history.
It was a defensive battle throughout the game. SCA was trailing 7-6 with under two minutes to go. Utilizing the SCA version of the two-minute drill, which is obviously opposite their traditional strength of the running game. QB Jeremy Tomaschik was able to get his team near the goal line for the go-ahead score. With time dwindling, two running plays were stuffed by Canton by the goal line. With no timeouts left, Tomaschik spiked the ball to stop the clock. This was and perhaps still is a penalty. The clock was stopped and a penalty was given. No matter the ruling, which was heatedly argued by the Canton coaching staff, one more play had to be afforded to Southern. And came on seldom used sophomore kicker Justin Barnes for an attempted field goal for one last play for a district title and move onto the eastern PA championship game. The snap was high, nearly sailing over place kicker holder Jon Fetterman's head. He skillfully brought it down and set the ball in place. Justin kicked the ball and it sailed through the uprights as time expired. The team and fans rushed the field seconds after the kick and hoisted Justin on their shoulders in celebration. SCA won back-to-back district titles versus Canton, 9-7, and moved on to play in the eastern PA championship game.
Submitted by Steve Bubnis (Class of ’93)