RACINE, Ohio — A great start … and an even better finish.
The Southern football team stormed out to a 20-0 lead on Friday night at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field, before allowing back-to-back scores to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre. The Tornadoes halted their guest right there, however, scoring 21 unanswered points en route to a 41-14 victory.
Southern (4-1, 2-1 TVC Hocking) was on the board less than three minutes into play, as Riley Roush found paydirt on a two-yard run. Just under five minutes after his first scoring run, Roush was in the end zone from four yards out.
Belpre (2-3, 2-2) committed its second turnover of the first period with 4:21 left, as SHS sophomore Gage Shuler intercepted a pass and returned it for the touchdown. Andrew Evans made a pair of extra-point kicks in the first and Southern led 20-0 at the end of the stanza.
On the second play of the second quarter, the Golden Eagles found paydirt for the first time, as Isaac Tullius broke free for a 35-yard run.
After a Tornado fumble, Belpre drove for its second score of the contest, with Logan Adams finding the end zone on an eight-yard run. Bailey Sprague was 2-for-2 on extra-point kicks, as the Orange and Black cut the SHS lead to just six points.
Southern lost possession on downs on its next drive, but the Tornado defense forced the Golden Eagle offense into a three-and-out. Belpre’s punt pinned the Purple and Gold back to its own one-yard line, with just 3:19 left in the first half.
The Tornadoes needed just three minutes to cover the length of the field, gaining six first downs in the process. With 19 seconds left on the first half clock, Roush scored on a 15-yard run. Evans made the extra-point kick and sent the hosts into the break ahead 27-14.
Southern scored on the opening drive of the second half, as Logan Drummer connected with Dylan Smith for a 35-yard scoring pass. The Tornadoes added the final score of the game with five minutes remaining, when Smith scored on a 14-yard run. Evans made both second half extra-point tries to seal the 41-14 triumph.
For the game, Southern held a 370-to-148 advantage in total offense, including 267-to-121 on the ground. SHS earned 21 first downs, nine more than BHS. The Tornadoes won the turnover battle by a 3-2 count, while the Golden Eagles failed to reach Southern’s side of the field after halftime.
The Tornadoes were penalized 10 times for a total of 110 yards, while BHS was flagged eight times for 65 yards.
Roush led the Purple and Gold on offense with 166 yards and three scores on 25 carries. Smith finished with 103 yards and one touchdown on two receptions to go with 75 yards and one score on 13 carries.
Logan Drummer — who ran for 14 yards on two attempts — completed 2-of-7 passes for 103 yards and one score. Gage Barrett gained eight yards on a pair of carries, while Shuler added four yards on one try.
Simoniette led Belpre with 50 yards on the ground, to go with a 5-of-10 passing for 27 yards. Tullius finished with 51 yards and one score, combining seven carries and one reception, while Tojzae Reams finished with 32 yards on 14 total touches.
Southern has now won back-to-back meetings with Belpre. The Tornadoes will be back on the road next, as they visit winless Federal Hocking on Friday. The Golden Eagles will entertain South Gallia on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.