Tigers defeat Bloom
BLOOMSBURG - It was kind of hard to tell who won and who lost after Southern Columbia's 32-20 win over Bloomsburg Friday.
Southern coach Jim Roth wasn't real pleased. Bloomsburg coach Larry Sones was just the opposite.
That's because, although the unbeaten Tigers (7-0) held off the Panthers (5-2), it was clear to almost everybody in the house that Southern was very fortunate.
The Tigers took advantage of three interceptions, two Bloomsburg bad punt snaps which resulted in safeties and benefitted from great punting by Jake Becker to fend off the Panthers, who physically outplayed Southern on both the offensive and defensive fronts.
"Give all the credit to Bloomsburg. I think they outplayed us on both sides of the ball," Roth said. "Really, if it wasn't for turnovers and some mistakes they made on special teams and some breaks which went our way, they'd have won. They threw the ball how many times (52) and how many times did we get to the quarterback? None. Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call to us."
"I'm so proud of our kids," said Sones. "It's a loss but this is easily the most physical game we've played this year. The effort the kids gave for 48 minutes was outstanding. Our upfront guys did a great job."
Things didn't start well for Bloomsburg. The Panthers threw three straight incompletions on the first series, then had the first bad punt snap, which went out of the end zone to give Southern a 2-0 lead. But the Panthers then set the tone
of the game, holding the Tigers on downs on their first defensive series, stuffing Adam Feudale for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-one. After giving the ball up on a punt, they not only stopped Southern again, but Sam Miller recovered a fumble by Taylor Young to give Bloomsburg the ball at Southern's 17.
After a five-yard penalty, quarterback Ricky Klingerman (22 of 52, 259 yards) found cousin John Klingerman (7 catches, 122 yards) for a 22-yard touchdown and a 7-2 lead.
Southern answered with a solid, 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive. Feudale carried four times for 59 yards on the series and Matt Lupold scored on a three-yard run, but nothing was going to come easily the rest of the game.
The Tigers had an 11-play, 65-yard drive and went ahead 16-7 on a three-yard run by Blake Marks but needed a red-zone interception by Luke Rarig to squash a Bloomsburg drive near the end of the half.
Becker, who had a 46-yard punt in the first half, pinned Bloomsburg at its one-yard line with a 34-yarder on Southern's first series of the second half, and Ricky Klingerman threw into coverage and was intercepted by Joey Kleman, who was tackled at the Panther four, from where quarterback Taylor Young scored on the next play, and it was 23-7.
Bryce Parry picked off Ricky Klingerman again but Bloomsburg's defense dug in for a three-and-out. Then, Bloomsburg crossed Southern up with a 40-yard touchdown run on a draw by Evan Ball, cutting the lead to 23-13.
Again, Bloomsburg held the Tigers to a three-and-out. This time, Southern had a bad punt snap, but Becker kept his composure and got off a 30-yard punt to Bloomsburg's 30. The Panthers couldn't move and for the second time, they had a bad punt snap which rolled into the end zone, making it 25-13.
"I'm not going to pin the bad snaps on anybody," Sones said. "Those things happen. We were still in position to win the game."
Becker punted five times for a 35.4 average, and Roth made note of that.
"Our first team had to punt two times all season coming into this game," he said. "That tells you right there how things went."
Using good field position after the free kick, Brad Noll knocked off a 40-yard run for Southern to the six, setting up a Feudale touchdown run.
But Bloomsburg didn't go away. The Panthers had a 16-play, 61-yard drive, including two fourth-down conversions, and Ricky Klingerman scrambled for a four-yard touchdown with 5:26 remaining.
Southern recovered an onside kick but again could not get a first down. This time though, Colby Klingerman coughed up the football after a 10-yard punt return, and Southern's Tony Chiavaroli recovered the ball, and Southern was able to run the clock out.