2018 PIAA Class 2A Championship Preview – Southern Columbia (15-0) VS. Wilmington (13-1)


HERSHEY – Southern Columbia (15-0) will play in their 17th state championship game and go for a record nine state championships. The Tigers will face Wilmington out of District 10, a 27-6 winner over Steel Valley. The Tigers beat Wilmington 48-0 in last year’s Class 2A title game. 

Related: Pennsylvania Small Schools Top 10

The offense is the highest scoring in the state. Division 1 recruit Julian Fleming has been offered by virtually every school in the country. He has caught 72 passes for 1,495 yards and 22 touchdowns as he continues to move up the record books. The Garcia brothers have each gone over 1,000 rushing and have combined for 56 rushing touchdowns. Stone Hollenbach, who missed five games with a broken wrist, has completed 63% of his passes for 1,611 yards and 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Gaige Garcia’s 2,122 total offensive yards lead the team as he has also been a threat in the receiving game with six touchdowns. Preston Zachman caught four touchdown passes as well.

The starting defense gave up an average of less than a touchdown per game. The two leading tackles are Cal Haladay (120) and Max Tillett. The duo has also combined for 12 sacks. There are seven players with at least two interceptions. Fleming, who leads with four, has returned three of them for touchdowns. Lear Quinton has been very productive on the D-line with 63 tackles and five sacks. Wade Kerstetter, who has been playing different roles this season, is third on the team with 71 tackles.

Dunkelberger is just two PAT’s short of 100 on the season. He has converted on nearly 90% of his attempts. He has not had to even attempt a field goal. Fleming averages 40 yards per punt and has pinned most of them inside the 20. The combo of Gaige Garcia and Fleming in the return game has forced teams to kick away from them for the majority of the season as both are capable of taking it the distance at any point.

QB – Stone Hollenbach (Sr)

RB – Gaige Garcia (Jr)

RB – Gavin Garcia (Fr)

FB – Ty Roadarmel (Jr)

WR – Julian Fleming (Jr)

WR – Preston Zachman (Jr)

TE – Cam Haladay (Jr)

TE – Wade Kerstetter (So)

OL – Oak Six (Sr)

OL – John Stabinski (Sr)

OL – Troy Donlan (Sr)

OL – Seth Pletcher (Sr)

OL – Ross Wertman (Sr)

OL – Jacob Herr (Jr)

DL – Lear Quinton (Jr)

DL – Cole Schankweiler (Jr)

DL – Robert Williams (Sr)

DL – Payton Pursel (Sr)

LB – Cal Haladay (Jr)

LB – Max Tillett (Jr)

LB – Preston Zachman (Jr)

LB – Nate Crowl (Jr)

DB – Julian Fleming (Jr)

DB – Shane Miller (Sr)

DB – Jake Davis (So)

DB – Cade Linn

K – Ethan Dunkelberger (Sr)

P – Julian Fleming (Jr)

RET – Gaige Garcia (Jr)

RET – Julian Fleming (Jr)

A look out West.

Last weekend, Wilmington shut down a pretty good Steel Valley team out of District 7. Steel Valley’s running duo of Todd Hill and Kam Williams came into that game with 3,741 yards rushing between them.

The Greyhounds defense allowed 11 total yards and only two first downs last weekend shutting down Steel Valley’s running attack. 

Can they shut down another high-octane offense like Southern Columbia has? Its going to be a tall task for the Wilmington defense to slow down the Tigers’ offense. We will find out Friday afternoon.

A look at some key players on Wilmington. 

Wilmington’sQuarterback Robert Pontiuscompleted 70 of 119 passes for 1,234 yards and 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Running Back Cameron Marett rushed for 1,728 yards on 197 carries and 19 touchdowns. He caught 21 passes for 296 yards and five scores. Ethan Susen rushed for 897 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

Wide Receiver Junior McConahy caught 20 passes for 420 yards and three scores. Ethan Susen caught 14 passes for 207 yards and a score. 

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.