RACINE, Ohio — That’s what you call efficiency.
Southern’s first team offense scored on all seven of its possessions on Friday night, as the Tornadoes rolled to a 52-14 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest South Gallia, on Roger Lee Adams Memorial Football Field.
Southern (7-2, 5-2 TVC Hocking) needed just four plays to score the game’s opening touchdown as senior quarterback Blake Johnson connected with classmate Crenson Rogers for a 35-yard scoring pass. The extra-point kick missed, but the Purple and Gold led 6-0, 1:24 into play.
The Rebels (3-6, 2-5) answered back with a seven-play, 62-yard, scoring drive, that was capped off by a two-yard run by Johnny Sheets. The SGHS senior also ran in the two-point conversion, giving the guest a 8-6 lead, with 7:26 left in the opening stanza.
The Tornadoes’ next drive — which included a eight-yard run by Colten Holbrook to convert on fourth-down — went 57 yards in 4:19. SHS senior Jaylen Blanks found paydirt on the 10th play of the drive, giving the hosts a 12-8 advantage, with 3:07 left in the first period.
After forcing a Rebels punt, the Tornadoes needed just three plays to increase their lead, as Johnson found Rogers for a 60-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion pass failed, but SHS led 18-8 with 10:35 left in the first half.
Southern — which didn’t allow the Rebels to gain a single first down in the second quarter — scored twice more in the period. First, on a fourth-and-six, Johnson found Dylan Smith for a 37-yard touchdown pass, and then the SHS senior quarterback called his own number, running into the endzone from 10 yards out. Trey Pickens was 2-for-2 on second quarter extra-point kicks, giving the hosts a 32-8 lead at halftime.
Southern’s defense forced SGHS to punt twice in the third quarter, while the SHS offense scored on both of its third quarter possessions. Southern senior Kody Greene scored on a one-yard run with 7:33 left in the third, while Holbrook scored on a six-yard run at the 2:44 mark. Pickens made both point-after kicks, giving the hosts a 46-8 lead with one quarter to play.
On the very first play of the fourth quarter, Smith intercepted a SGHS pass and returned it 55 yards for the touchdown, extending the SHS advantage to 52-8.
On the ensuing SGHS drive the Rebels went 66 yards in five plays, aided by a pair of Tornado personal fouls. The fifth play of the drive, was a six-yard TD run by Johnny Sheets, who set a new single-season school record with 15 rushing scores. The previous record of 14 was held by Dewey Cantrell. Last week, Johnny Sheets broke the school’s single season record for rushing yards.
Southern — which had pulled its starters from the game — punted for the first time on its next drive, but Tornadoes freshman Gage Barrett came up with an interception to put the final nail in the 52-14 coffin.
For the game, Southern held a 13-to-8 advantage in first downs and a 336-to-152 advantage in total offense, including a 165-to-152 edge in rushing yards. The Rebels — who didn’t complete a pass in the game — committed all three of the game’s turnovers. SHS was penalized five times for 50 yards, while SGHS was sent back three times for a total of 35 yards.
Johnson completed 5-of-6 passes for the Purple and Gold, totalling 171 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing once for 10 yards and a score. Rogers caught three passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, Smith caught one 37-yard touchdown pass, while Ike Akers hauled in one pass for nine yards.
Riley Roush led the hosts on the ground with 59 yards on seven totes, while Holbrook finished with 50 yards and one touchdown on six carries. Blanks had 36 yards and one TD on nine attempts, Akers added 19 yards on four rushes, while Greene had seven yards on five tries.
Johnny Sheets’ led all rushers with 88 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Next for the Rebels was Tyler Bryan with 33 yards on five carries, followed by Jeffery Sheets with 27 yards on six tries, all of which came in the first half. Colten Coughenour finished with 16 yards on two carries, Josh Henry added five yards on two carries, while Kyle Northup and David Kuhn each had four yards on one and four carries respectively.
The Rebels return home to close the regular season on Friday, when they host Miller, while Southern will visit Eastern on Saturday.
Unofficially, the Tornadoes control their own destiny in terms of the postseason, meaning a win over EHS will send the Purple and Gold to the postseason for just the second time in school history.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.