Tigers, Panthers renew rivalry
If you're a betting person, take the over tonight when unbeaten Southern Columbia (6-0) hosts rival Bloomsburg (5-1) in a game which will likely decide the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference Division III title.
The Tigers average just under 50 points a game; the Panthers just under 40. The teams combined to put up 94 points at Bloomsburg University's Redman Stadium last year, and both may be more explosive this year.
It's how they score all those points that's the difference.
For Southern, it's a balanced offense but one which is about 80-20 geared to the run. For Bloomsburg, it's an offense which is just the opposite.
"We don't expect to see a whole lot of running from them," Southern coach Jim Roth said. "And depending on how the game goes, their may be a lot more chances for them to throw the ball."
The Panthers threw the ball 41 times in last week's 42-20 win over Muncy, and if they get behind and in a shootout with the Tigers, and if time allows, 50 or more passes could happen.
Bloomsburg quarterback Ricky Klingerman has stepped right into the shoes of graduated Blake Rankin, now at Rutgers, and while the fit is a little airy, the results have been similar.
"He's not a Division I quarterback, but he has stepped in and done a real nice job," Roth said. "He's not a real big kid but he's got a good arm."
Klingerman was 26-for-41 for 330 yards and five touchdowns last week. It was his second 300-yard game and third 200-plus game of the season, and what was impressive was that it was done mostly without his leading receiver, senior John Klingerman, who played sparingly and didn't catch a pass. Instead, his go-to guys were Colby Klingerman, Jon's younger brother and Ricky's cousin, who caught eight passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Vincent, who caught five passes, three for scores.
But John Klingerman is the real marked man. He has caught 33 passes for 472 yards this season, and for his career has 160 receptions for 3,101 yards and 42 touchdowns.
"John Klingerman is the real deep threat, but they always have some depth at receiver," Roth said. "If you're going to play that spread offense, you have to have some complementary players.
"They have quite a few players back from last year overall."
Southern, of course, develops running backs the way Bloomsburg develops receivers. Adam Feudale (62 carries, 566 yards, 11 TDs) and Matt Lupold (37-384, 6 TDs) lead the way this year, although the corps got bad news last week when Nate Hunter (30-380, 6 TDs) injured a knee against Selinsgrove.
"He's going to have an MRI (Tuesday) but it looks like he might need surgery," Roth said.
Linebacker Garrett Sosnoski bruised his knee last week but is expected to play.