December 19, 2006

Hynoski ready for anything

Southern Columbia running back Henry Hynoski rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while catching two passes for 109 yards and another touchdown, in helping lead his Southern Columbia team to a 56-14 win over West Middlesex, in the PIAA Class A championship this past weekend. Hynoski scored on runs of 52 and nine, while his touchdown reception went for 70 yards. His 52-yard touchdown run was scored on the third play of his team's first series.

For Hynoski and his teammates, the celebration is here after much talk about this team being predicted to win all season long because of their dominance every week. Hynoski, and his other 13 fellow seniors, leave Southern Columbia with four state championships in four years, and an overall record of 58-3.

"It is an unbelievable experience," Hynoski said of winning his fourth state championship. "There is no question about it. I can't say enough about the experience of playing at Southern Columbia for the past four years. Winning this game, I couldn't find a better way to go out. We'll lose 14 seniors next year, but there are great athletes returning. There will be tough spots to fill, but we have a bunch of tough kids that have a tough attitude."

While it's Hynoski's fourth state championship as a player, it is the fifth consecutive state championship for the Tigers. After the Tigers won the game on Saturday, Hynoski said fans were waiting for the team's return, as the celebrations began. Fire trucks led the team into the town of Catawissa, where the high school is located. Catawissa is about 70 miles north of Hershey. The town then had a victory parade for the team, followed by a victory pep rally. At school on Monday, there will be a school-wide viewing of highlights from Saturday's game.

Hynoski finished his senior season with over 2,400 yards rushing and 42 rushing touchdowns, averaging 12 yards a carry. He also had two touchdown receptions. He finishes his career with 7,159 yards rushing and 114 rushing touchdowns. He is one of only seven players in state history to rush for over 7,000 yards. One of those players, Jerry Marks, also played at Southern Columbia. Hynoski passed Marks to finish fifth on the all-time list.

Hynoski said the Pitt coaches have kept close tabs on him, and now that his season is officially over, he can now look ahead to his days as a Pitt Panther.

"I know (Pitt coaching staff) watched the game," Hynoski added. "Coach Gattuso and Coach Walker told me they watched the game on television, and they liked what they saw. I talk to those two the most, of all the coaches. I talk with Coach Wannstedt every now and then."

Hynoski will visit Pitt, officially, on January 12. After that, he will return to Pitt soon after his graduation from high school.

"I think they mentioned me coming in the summer, lifting with the team and learning the offense," Hynoski said. "If I work hard, the opportunity is there for me to play. Physically, the coaches feel I'm ready to play mentally, if I get the offense down, then they'll get me in there."

Hynoski added that he's also talked with the coaches about where on offense he will contribute.

"The coaches said running the ball, blocking and catching out of the backfield," Hynoski said. "They know what I can do, and I feel I can transfer what I've done (at Southern Columbia) over to the college game."

Editor's note: Southern Columbia won an unprecedented fifth consecutive PIAA Class state championship this past weekend. Southern Columbia has been so dominate in their classification in recent years that they have reached the state finals in nine consecutive years. All five of their state championship wins have been by lopsided margins.

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