RACINE, Ohio — Senior Night done right.
The Southern football team celebrated Senior Night with its first victory of the year, defeating Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest South Gallia by a 32-6 final tally on Friday at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field.
Defense controlled the early part of the game, with the Tornadoes (1-4, 1-3 TVC Hocking) going three-and-out on its first two drives, while the Rebels (0-5, 0-4) went three-and-out first and then turned the ball over on downs on the SHS 35.
On the third play of Southern’s third drive, Josh Stansberry broke a 47-yard touchdown run, giving the hosts a 6-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the first period.
The Tornadoes forced another turnover downs in the first two minutes of the second quarter, but Greg Davis intercepted a pass for the Rebels and returned it to the SHS 47. Southern, however, got the ball back three plays later when Griffen Miller intercepted a SGHS pass at the Tornado 39.
The Purple and Gold covered the 61 yards in nine plays, with Chase Bailey scoring on an 11-yard run with 3:25 left in the half.
Southern executed an onside kick to start the second half, with Stansberry recovering for the hosts. A dozen plays and 47 yards later, SHS was up 18-0 with a one-yard touchdown run by Jonah Diddle.
South Gallia made it as far as the SHS 26 before turning the ball over on downs. Four plays later, Bailey was in the end zone for the second time, breaking a 67-yard run. Luke Mullins made his first of back-to-back point-after kicks, giving the Tornadoes a 25-0 lead with 3:37 left in the third period.
The Purple and Gold put up their final points with 10:47 left in regulation, when freshman Brayden Otto scored from three yards out.
South Gallia went 90 yards in 14 plays on its final drive, and Kenny Siders scored on a one-yard run with 53 seconds to play.
In the 32-6 victory, the Tornadoes enjoyed a 326-to-243 advantage in total offense, including 278-to-197 on the ground. The hosts also had a 14-to-12 edge in first downs. SHS was penalized five times for 60 yards, while SGHS was sent back six times for 50.
Bailey —who was 5-of-11 passing for 48 yards —led the Tornado ground attack with 148 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Stansberry had 76 yards and a score on eight carries, Diddle added 32 yards and a touchdown on 10 tries, while Otto ended with 19 yards and a touchdown on two totes.
Blake Shain had 12 total yards, combining two catches with one carry. Damien Miller hauled in two passes for 28 yards, while Colton Walker had one 15-yard grab.
Davis led the Rebels with 110 total yards, combining 13 carries and a team-best two receptions. Tristan Saber — who was 3-of-11 passing for 46 yards — had 55 yards on 13 carries, while Kenny Siders ended with 25 yards and a score on five carries.
Devin Siders had 24 total yards on three carries and a catch, Noah Cremeens added 19 yards on four totes, while Ean Combs ran five times for a total of 10 yards.
The Tornadoes are now 15-9 in all-time meetings with the Rebels, winning five straight.
Next Friday, Southern will visit Eastern, while the Rebels host Trimble, which has clinched a share of the TVC Hocking title.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.