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Tojans Fall to Southern Colombia In Semi-Finals

by Tim Taylor | NT Sports Report - November 14, 2022

TROY — Southern Columbia converted four fumbles into touchdowns and returned two interceptions for TDs en route to a 48-12 victory over Troy in District 4 Class AA semifinal action here Saturday.

“We turned the ball over, we played sloppy, but I can’t take away anything from the effort that the kids had,” Troy coach Jimmy Smith said. “The kids had a great effort and this is one step forward. Most of these kids return next year and they got to see Pennsylvania’s elite program, and we’re gonna beat this team in the next two years.”

The Trojans’ first turnover of the afternoon allowed Southern to grab a 14-0 advantage at 10:39 of the second quarter. A fumbled exchange gave the Tigers the ball inside the Troy 30 and two plays later Wes Barnes broke free on a 29-yard run. Isaac Mikel Carter’s kick made it 14-0.

It was Southern’s second TD in a span of 26 seconds. Braeden Wisloski scored from three yards out just 55 seconds into the period. A 23-yard dash by Barnes gave the Tigers a first-and-goal on the 71-yard drive.

The Tigers were nailed for personal fouls following the second TD and the ensuing kickoff, but the Trojans were unable to take advantage of the situation, going three and out.

On Southern’s next possession, the Tigers were hurt by a pair of penalties before Evan Woodward picked off a Tyler Arnold pass at the SC 41.

On third-and 8, Woodward managed to get off a pass while being sandwiched between a pair of defenders. The wounded duck still managed to flutter into the hands of Jackson Taylor for a first down at the 17.

Unfortunately for Troy, a tackle for a 6-yard loss and a sack for another 11 yards forced a punt, which managed to go just four yards to the 28.

A Southern penalty and a fumble gave Troy the ball back at the Tigers’ 18, but the Trojans coughed the ball up at the 19 on the next snap.

Wisloski had runs of 42 and 20 yards as the Tigers marched downfield with Barnes scoring on a 4-yard run. Carter’s kick made it 21-0 with 1:31 remaining in the first half.

Misfortune would continue to haunt Troy on its next possession.

Despite a 38-yard return by Clayton Smith, the Trojans would fumble after a pass to the Troy 44, where Barnes would scoop up the loose pigskin and scurry down to the Troy 17. Three plays later, he scored on a 5-yard run. Jackson, who barely missed blocking a couple of earlier PAT kicks, deflected this one and Southern would carry a 27-0 cushion into the break.

Barnes continued to be a thorn in the Trojans’ side in the second half as he picked off a pass at the Troy 28 and took it to the house. Another Carter kick made it 34-0 just 58 seconds into the quarter.

“Barnes made big plays,” Smith said of the Tigers’ standout running back / linebacker who missed six weeks due to an elbow injury. “He’s, he’s a player. I’m glad to see him back. You hate to see him go out like that several weeks ago and he’s gonna be able to finish his season his way, and he’s a tough kid and a good player. He did what good players do. He had an interception, he ran hard, he’s a good player.”

Troy fumbled the rock away again on the first play of the ensuing possession and Wisloski scored on a 3-yard run and Southern took a 41-0 lead at 9:38.

Justice Chimics returned the kickoff 24 yards to his own 33, then Smith bolted 67 yards to paydirt on the next play. The PAT run failed, making it a 41-6 contest.

The Tigers were held to minus-1 yard on their next two possessions combined, but in between Troy gave up another interception.

The Trojans refused to give in despite the lopsided score.

“They kept fighting and we got a chance to get some even younger kids and a lot of the seconds in, and they did a good job and they can, they can take that as a positive note moving forward as well,” Smith said.

Each team would score one TD in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Kerstetter picked off a pass at the Troy 46 and returned it all the way at 6:49 while the Trojans’ Joseph Frye found Lincoln Chimics wide open for a 32-yard aerial strike with 3:14 remaining.

Troy (9-3) compiled 155 yards on the ground and 115 through the air. Frye and Woodward threw for 62 and 52 yards, respectively, while Smith rushed for 95.

Barnes and Wisloski, both members of SC’s 2,000-yard career rushing club, finished with 134 and 94 yards respectively. The Tigers totaled 291 yards offense with 273 coming on the ground.

Despite the loss, playing a program like Southern is a plus for Troy.

“This is huge,” Smith said. “They had to see it and they did, and that’s the most important thing. And they didn’t back down from them. We made some mistakes, but you know they’re a great program.”

“They’ve had a tough start and they’ve battled through some injuries and those kind of things,” Smith said. “They’re getting kids back and they’re a pretty good football team and no question that if they progress forward, that their plan is to win another state title, and that’s what they do.

“Our goals moving forward are the same. We’re very young. We’re a JV team. We’re literally a JV team. We’ve got as many freshmen and sophomores playing as anybody in the state, and they’d beat any JV team in the state, so I feel good about where we’re at and where we’re going.”

Southern (9-3) will attempt to advance toward a sixth consecutive state title when it takes on top-seeded Mt. Carmel in the district championship game next week.

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore, Nate Fransen
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Tim Taylor | NT Sports Report
Anchor: Ed Weaver

Produced by Vogt Media
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