CATAWISSA-Dominick Bragalone took the toss to the right, cut back and exploded through a hole in the middle. And there he went, running 92 yards into the night and putting an exclamation point on a historic season.
Bragalone took his final carry of the 2013 season 92 yards for a touchdown and ran for 341 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night against the state's top-ranked team. Southern Columbia won its 23rd District 4 Class A championship in 24 years, defeating South, 47-21, but Bragalone provided one last series of highlight runs in what likely will be an all-state season.
"He's ridiculous," South linebacker Ryan Segrave said. "Some of the things he does are just crazy."
South Williamsport’s Dominick Bragalone rushes through a hole on Saturday night against Southern Columbia during the District 4 Class A championship game at Southern. Bragalone rushed for 341 yards, but South lost, 47-21. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com
Southern fullback Adam Feudale ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns while Luke Rarig caught two touchdown passes from Nick Becker as Southern (12-0) earned a spot in next week's state tournament against District 2 champion Old Forge.
As outstanding as Southern was, Bragalone was the player most were talking about afterward. The junior shattered the 3,000-yard mark by halftime and finished his season with a Lycoming County record 3,301 yards and 48 touchdowns. Last night was the sixth time Bragalone topped 300 yards and he gained at least 170 in all 12 games while scoring multiple touchdowns each time.
Southern features one of the state's premier run defenses but Bragalone had 145 yards by halftime and consistently gouged the Tigers. He scored on second-half touchdown runs of 87 and 92 and combined tough running with breakaway speed. Since Week 10 when he broke the county record for yards and touchdowns in a season, Bragalone has made history with every carry.
The records he established this year may never be broken although he will try next fall. Bragalone broke the previous rushing record by 754 yards and the touchdown record by nine while helping South again go 10-2 and reach the district final.
"I thought maybe 1,000 yards (this year) and back in the summer my coach told me my goal was 2,000 and I acted like he was crazy," Bragalone said. "I proved myself wrong, really. This year has been a great season. I love every player on this team and I'm going to miss them."
Despite losing the majority of its starters from last year's district finalist, South enjoyed another fantastic season, romping to its second straight NTL title and beating previously undefeated NTL Big School champion Wellsboro in last week's semifinals.
South trailed 35-7 at halftime and 47-7 in the third quarter but never stopped playing hard. The Mounties scored the final 14 points, John Peters recovered a fumble and senior safety Jon Pulizzi was a fourth-quarter tackling machine.
South did not capture the district championship but it took another big step forward. With several starters back next year, the Mounties could have a breakthrough next year.
"Everyone plays hard. Nobody can take us lightly anymore," said Seagrave, a big-play linebacker who made eight tackles. "It was a ton of fun. We came a long way. We won a lot of games. Hopefully next year they win this."
"I can't say enough about this senior class and what they have done," Eiswerth said. "They got after it and kept the tradition going. Now just have to keep pushing and keep believing and try and break through this wall that is Southern Columbia."
Pulizzi made 10 tackles in his final game while fellow senior Sean McCormick added six. First-time player Ryan Foran was all over the field too, making six tackles, forcing a fumble and breaking up a pass.
"We're a team that doesn't give up," Bragalone said. "We keep fighting."
South 0 7 7 7-21
Southern14 21 12 0-47
SC-Adam Feudale 6 run (Luke Rarig kick), 5:59
SC-Rarig 35 pass from Nick Becker (Rarig kick), :15
SC-Matt Lupold 31 run (Rarig kick), 10:09
SC-Nate Hunter 4run (Rarig kick), 6:22
SW-Dominick Bragalone 14 run (Brett Garbrick kick), 3:31
SC-Blake Marks 10 run (Rarig kick), 1:48
SC-Rarig 27 pass from Becker (kick failed), 10:35
SC-Feudale 43 run (kick failed), 2:05
SW-Bragalone 87 run (Garbrick kick), :47
SW-Bragalone 92 run (Garbrick kick), 6:57
TEAM STATISTICSSW SC
First Downs 17 23
Rushes-yards 38-350 42-398
Passing yards22 119
Comp-Att-Int 2-9-0 6-9-0
RUSHING: South, Dominick Bragalone 31-341, 3 Tds; John Peters 4-7; Matt Boone 3-2. Southern, Adam Feudale 11-208, 2 Tds; Matt Lupold 8-90, TD; Blake Marks 5-30, TD; Nate Hunter 4-26, TD; Brad Noll 3-16; Matt Jeremiah 4-12; Nick Becker 2-10; Billy Mazrewski 4-9; Team 1-(-3).
PASSING: South, Boone 2-9-0, 22 yards. Southern, Becker 6-9-0, 2 Tds, 119 yards.
RECEIVING: South, Riley Hengler 1-17; Riley Thomas 1-5. Southern, Luke Rarig 5-96, 2 Tds; Feudale 1-23.
RECORDS: Southern 12-0. South 10-2.