Southmoreland ends 40 years of football frustration

On Sept. 23, 2016, Southmoreland triumphed over Waynesburg. Unbeknownst to the team, this would be the last victory before the birth of a losing streak that would carry over into the following season, leaving the Scotties with a crushing 0-9 record in 2017

Some students wondered if the Scotties would ever win another game again.

That was until Aug. 24, 2018 ,when Southmoreland captured a thrilling 18-14 comeback victory over rival Mount Pleasant, defeating them in football for the first time since 1995 and winning a game for the first time since their 2016 victory over Waynesburg.

Despite a 4-5 record in the 2018 season, this brought new encouragement to the Scotties.

The change in culture and the rising anticipation of the playoff season – Southmoreland won its first five games to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs – led to downtown Scottdale being transformed into a “Scottie wonderland” of sorts.

Most, if not all of the storefronts, were full of Scottie memorabilia, some of it dating back to the 1970’s and the school’s last playoff appearance, with there even being a contest to see which building could create the best display of Scottie Pride.

“It’s crazy walking through town, every building is covered in red and black now,” said senior Caileigh Johnston.

The student body started to feel the passion of the community.

“There was so much energy every Friday,” said drum major of the marching band Bri Demagall. “There were huge crowds and they all cheered them on from beginning to end.”

Senior Abby Fullem said she was “really excited to see that the team is doing so well this year,” saw the team grow over the past four years, and it was really exciting to be able to see all of their hard work pay off.” 

The enthusiasm instilled by the football team crossed over into other fall activities with the girls volleyball team winning five section games and qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs, while the marching band placed first at its first competition of the season.

“It’s so encouraging to see how much support the different sports are getting. The energy is way different than it was a couple years ago,” said junior Jonah Harshel.

The anticipation for the playoff game ramped up as well, but perhaps not as much as it would have had the Scotties not entered the game with Avonworth on a 5-game losing streak.

“There were over 1,000 tickets presold on Thursday night alone,” said band director Mr. Shawn Harris.

Unfortunately, Southmoreland took home losses for the final few season games, however, they still entered the Southmoreland lost to Avonworth 41-0 on Nov. 1. Still, the long 40-year playoff drought was over, and only five seniors will graduate with the remaining underclassmen returning next year.

Despite the loss, the Southmoreland community felt a new sense of pride in the team.

“It was impressive we went to the playoffs,” said senior Brett Huffman, a member of the team.

Especially after four decades.

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