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WVIA to premiere ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers on May 11


PITTSTON, Pa. – WVIA has announced its next original documentary film ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers will premiere May 11th at 8 p.m. on WVIA television. The documentary chronicles the 2022 Southern Columbia Area High School Football Tigers as they chase a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc.) record sixth consecutive state championship.

Award-winning WVIA filmmaker Alexander Monelli tells the story of their season from the locker room to practices to the sidelines of the games, giving viewers an up close and never-before-seen look at one of the top high school football programs in the state. Located in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania (near the world-renowned Knoebels Amusement Resort), the film aims to discover what makes the small-town team so successful year after year.

The film will feature interviews with the 2022 Southern Columbia football team and its coaches alongside interviews with former NFL players Henry Hynoski (Southern Columbia, New York Giants) and Bo Orlando (Berwick, Houston Oilers), as well as former WNEP sports director Jim Coles, who covered Southern Columbia and regional high school football for 33 years, and current WNEP sports reporters, Landon Stolar and Steve Lloyd.

"We have this incredible story right in our own backyard. The Southern Columbia football program was almost shut down in 1979 because of a 26-game losing streak and poor player turnout. It is now the perennial state champion with the winningest high school football coach in Pennsylvania history,” said filmmaker Alexander Monelli. “Everyone has their theory (good and bad) about how Southern is so dominant every year. I'm trying to shed some light on that with this film. It was such a dramatic season with so many surprises, injuries, and losses. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how their story unfolded."

“What I hope people will say after this documentary is ‘they do things the right way,” said head coach Jim Roth. “As far as the way we work, the way we treat players, the way we interact, and then the rest takes care of itself and translates into wins.”

“Southern Columbia High School football is a unique story, and we are excited to give our viewers an up-close and personal view of this team,” said Ben Payavis II, WVIA Chief Content Officer. “WVIA takes pride in shining a light on the stories of our region and giving them a platform to be shared with the world.”

The trailer for ROAR: The Story of the Southern Columbia Football Tigers can be viewed here: https://www.wvia.org/roar-the-story-of-the-southern-columbia-football-tigers

About Southern Columbia Area High School Football Tigers

The Southern Columbia Football Tigers are the most decorated high school football team in the history of Pennsylvania. Prior to the 2022 season, they have won 12 PIAA state titles (1994, 2002-2006, 2015, 2017-2021). Head coach Jim Roth has a record of 475-64-2, which is the most wins by any head football coach at any level in state history.

About WVIA

WVIA is the PBS and NPR affiliate serving over 22 counties in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. For over 50 years WVIA has been committed to serving the people by offering informational, educational, and entertaining content that enriches and expands viewpoints and serves as a catalyst for positive change. WVIA television channels include WVIA TV, WVIA PBS Kids 24/7, and WVIA Create. WVIA’s radio channels include WVIA Radio, WVIA HD2, and the Chiaroscuro Channel. WVIA’s programs can also be found streaming live and on-demand on wvia.org and the WVIA app.

WVIA Mission

WVIA educates, inspires, entertains, and fosters citizenship, diverse cultures, and perspectives to nurture community.