Rockets blast off in fourth quarter
EVERETT – Southern Huntingdon football coach Ryan Garlock was looking for four full quarters of play from his team Friday night.
And, after making an impassioned halftime speech, Garlock got it.
Garlock verbally lit a fire under his squad at intermssion, and the Rockets responded in the second half, overcoming a 21-18 deficit with two unanswered fourth-quarter touchdowns to grind out a 32-21 Inter-County Conference Gold Division victory over host Everett at Warriors Stadium.
“We were not real aggressive in the first half, and I got on our guys pretty good at halftime,” Garlock said. “It took us awhile to get adjusted to the speed of the game, but we came out and played hard in the second half.”
Southern Huntingdon’s strong ground game was led by bullish 5-9, 185-pound senior workhorse back Mason Parks, who rushed for 214 yards on 33 carries and touchdown runs of 5 yards in the first quarter and 9 yards in the third period.
Southern compiled 297 yards in rushing offense, and won the game in the second half, sparked by a 67-yard, 14-play scoring drive that ate up half of the third quarter and culminated with junior halfback Tyler Carowick burrowing 3 yards for the go-ahead touchdown that put the Rockets ahead, 25-21 with 10:13 left in the game.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Garlock said. “We played Bellwood tough and Mount Union tough (in recent losses), but we hadn’t really put four quarters together until tonight.”
Parks was a big part of that for Southern, which ruined Everett’s homecoming game.
“Mason is just incredible,” Garlock said. “We pretty much live and die with Mason.”
Southern cemented the victory after Everett’s bid to convert a fourth-down rushing attempt out of punt formation fell short of a first down at the Rockets’ 38 midway through the fourth quarter. Southern marched 61 yards on seven plays for the clinching touchdown, with senior quarterback Nick Carowick darting through the middle for the final 20 yards with three minutes remaining.
“They’re a very strong running team, and they have a real strong offensive front,” Everett coach Jerry Fabian said of Southern. “Defensively, we blitzed the gaps tonight, and they were still able to come out with plus-yardage.”
Both teams are now 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the division, but in the first half, it looked as if things might go Everett’s way.
Led by elusive senior quarterback Kyle Sheaffer, whose sprinter’s speed produced a 29-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, a 42-yard TD jaunt in the third, and 135 rushing yards on 13 carries, Everett led, 14-12 at intermission and carried the 21-18 lead into the final quarter.
Sheaffer’s younger brother, Steven, a sophomore, accounted for Everett’s first touchdown of the night with a 65-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.
“Offensively, I didn’t feel we played a real good game,” said Fabian, whose team committed three turnovers. “But that’s a credit to their defense. And their offense helped their defense greatly. Their offense put together some pretty good drives against us.”
It’s been several years since Southern has had a winning season, but Garlock is hoping the Rockets can accomplish that this year with two regular-season games remaining.
“It’s been seven years since we’ve actually had a winning season, but that’s on our radar now,” Garlock said. “This was a huge win for our program.”
Game notes: A moment of silence was held at halftime in memory of former Everett football coach Irv Brambley, who passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 69 … Everett hosts Claysburg-Kimmel next Friday night, when Southern Huntingdon hosts Moshannon Valley.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Southern Huntingdon6 6 6 14 – 32
Everett7 7 7 0 – 21
SH-Parks 5 run (pass failed), 2:50.
E-S. Sheaffer 65 kickoff return (K. Sheaffer kick), 2:39.
E-K. Sheaffer 29 run (Steed kick), 9:27.
SH-T. Carowick 1 run (run failed), 6:44.
SH-Parks 9 run (pass failed), 8:01.
E-K. Sheaffer 42 run (Steed kick), 6:36.
SH-T. Carowick 3 run (Cornelius kick), 10:13.
SH-N. Carowick 20 run (Cornelius kick), 3:00.
RUSHING: Southern Huntingdon-Parks 33-214, N. Carowick 22-53, T. Carowick 12-23, Q. Whitsel 2-7. Everett-K. Sheaffer 13-135, Jay 14-74, Cogan 1-0.
PASSING: Southern Huntingdon-N. Carowick 4-7-0-82. Everett-K. Sheaffer 2-8-2-14.
RECEIVING: Southern Huntingdon-T. Carowick 2-30, Q. Whitsel 1-49, Jones 1-3. Everett-Weaver 1-10, S. Sheaffer 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Southern Huntingdon-Cornelius, Ulsh.