RALPHO TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Sundays during football season are almost always exclusively dedicated to the National Football League.
On this Sunday, August 25, though, one of the best high school programs not just in our area, but in the country took the field in front of a national audience.
"They're a very good group of boys," Tammie Brophy of Numidia said. "They help the community in any way. They're always out there eager to help people if they need help and the people are willing to support them."
That support was on full display at The Nickle Plate Bar and Grill near Elysburg for a special watch party. The 9-time state champion Southern Columbia Tigers kicked off its much anticipated season against the Hammond School in South Carolina on ESPN2.
"It's just like watching the pros on TV," Bob Hertzot of Elysburg said. "It's like 'Hey, we know those guys!'"
"We've lived here so long and our children played here back in the early 2000s, so we're still fans and follow the games," Ray Snarski of Elysburg said.
"We all support the Southern Tigers," Terry Levan of Bloomsburg said.
The Elysburg area is known as a small farming community, but all of America got to see that it's also quite the football town as well. The two-time defending state champs from Central Pennsylvania did what many local football fans are accustomed to seeing: dominate.
"It's amazing," Dan Kreisher of Elysburg said. "Having been an alumni to play for Jim Roth, from such a small hometown, it's awesome to see national recognition for a team that's well-deserving."
This game for Southern Columbia isn't just big because a win in the opener helps set the tone for the regular season. But the Tigers enter the year with 71 regular-season wins in a row. The state record? 74. Will the Tigers break the record?
"Yes, without a doubt they get it," middle school principal, Bill Callahan said of his beloved Tigers. "They're playing well today. Our first couple of games back up here in Pennsylvania, we have some strong opponents, but I think this group of kids are going to be a special group of kids."
In a game featuring two of the top programs and some of the best players in the nation, Southern Columbia rolled, shutting out Hammond, 36-0, giving the fans a lot to cheer for.