MERCERVILLE, Ohio — For the second straight week the Tornadoes have felt right at home in Gallia County.
The Southern football team defeated Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host South Gallia 34-6 Friday night, just one week after defeating River Valley 31-0 in Bidwell.
The Tornadoes (2-0, 1-0 TVC Hocking) were forced into a three-and-out by the South Gallia (1-1, 0-1) defense, but Southern forced SGHS to turn the ball over on downs in the Rebels first drive.
The Purple and Gold drove 67 yards in nine plays and 4:19, capped off by an 11 yard run up the middle by Paul Ramthun. Trenton Deem added the extra point and Southern led 7-0 with 1:10 remaining in the first half.
A big hit by Hunter Johnson force a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and the Tornadoes took possession on the SGHS 10 yard line. On the first play of the second quarter Southern senior Tyler Barton ran four yards off the right tackle for the touchdown. Deem added the extra point, putting SHS up 14-0 after the 10-yard, three-play drive.
The Rebels were forced to punt after a three-and-out on their next drive, and Southern began to drive again. The Tornadoes made it inside the SGHS five yard line with three chances to score but couldn’t and after a dropped pass in the endzone South Gallia took over on downs.
The Rebels managed a trio of first downs on its next drive put came up short on a fourth and three attempt and SHS regain possession. On the third play of the drive Southern junior quarterback Tristen Wolfe connected with Jack Lemley for the 37 yard touchdown. The extra point attempt went wide right but the Purple and Gold held a 20-0 lead.
South Gallia quarterback Landon Hutchinson was picked off by Southern’s Hunter Johnson but SGHS senior Ethan Spurlock picked off Wolfe to end the half, SHS leading 20-0.
Ethan Spurlock returned the opening kick of the second half 50 yards to give South Gallia excellent starting field position, but the Rebels came up one yard short of a first on fourth down and SHS regained possession.
Tyler Barton broke a 40 yard run on the first play of Southern’s ensuing drive to put the Tornadoes within scoring range again. On the fourth play of the drive Wolfe rolled out to the right and found Dennis Teaford in the back of the endzone for the score. Deem added the extra point and Southern led 27-0 following the four-play, 69-yard drive.
The Red and Gold drove down the field and found themselves in the red zone for the first time in the game. SGHS failed to convert on fourth down and the Tornadoes took over on their own eight yard line.
The Tornadoes drove 92 yards on 12 plays in 6:37 to expand its lead. Tyler Barton again capped off the drive with a three yard touchdown run and Deem added the point after, to make the score 34-0 with 10:11 remaining in the game.
South Gallia had its longest drive of the game on its next possession but Colten Walters picked of Landon Hutchinson’s pass to give SHS the ball on its own 15.
With the starters out of the game Southern fumbled its first snap and the Rebels recovered on the Tornado 16 yard line. The Purple and Gold defense stood strong and forced another turnover on downs.
The Tornadoes were forced into a three-and-out and South Gallia returned the punt to the SHS 10 yard line. with 46 second remaining in the game Dakota Wroten took the pitch left 10 yards for the score. The two-point conversion attempt failed and SGHS trailed 34-6. Southern went into victory formation and took its second straight win.
The Southern gound attack was led by Tyler Barton with 16 carries for 112 yards and two scores. Paul Ramthun carried the ball four times for 46 yards and a TD, Wolfe carried the ball five times for 44 yards, and Hunter Johnson finished with two carries for 23 yards. Trenton Deem had two carries for a yard apiece.
Wolfe was 7-of-14 passing for 128 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Teaford caught four passes for 40 yards and a score, Lemley had one reception for 37 yards and a score. Hunter Johnson had one grab for 34 yards, while Deem caught one pass for 17 yards.
The SGHS rushing game was paced by Jacob White, who had seven rushes for 43 yards. Spurlock finished with 29 yards on 16 attempts, Landon Hutchinson had 22 yards on 12 carries, while Wroten had 20 yards on three rushes with a TD.
Landon Hutchinson was 2-of-8 passing for 70 yards and two interceptions, while White had a 58 yard catch and Spurlock had one 12 yard reception.
The Tornadoes held a 19-to-7 advantage in first downs and a 49-to-47 advantage in offensive plays ran. Each team fumbled once and lost possession. South Gallia was penalized seven times for 47 yards, while SHS was flagged twice for 20 yards. Southern outgained the Rebels 354-to-180 in total offense.
This marks the first time Southern has started 2-0 since the 2006 season. That remains the last season the Tornadoes finished with a winning record. SHS runningback Tyler Barton has gotten off to a hot start, rushing 263 yards and four touchdowns this season.
The Tornadoes will host Belpre next week looking to avenge last season’s 48-13 loss to the Golden Eagles. The Rebels will travel to Trimble next week to take on the Tomcats.