MERCERVILLE, Ohio — It took until the second half for things to start getting away.
The Southern football team defeated the South Gallia Rebels 57-22 Friday evening in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division opener for both schools.
South Gallia (0-3, 0-1 TVC Hocking) got on the scoreboard first during Friday’s matchup with sophomore quarterback Noah Cremeens keeping the ball on a seven-yard run to give the Rebels their first points of not only the evening, but the entire 2021 season.
The Tornadoes (2-1, 1-0) answered quickly, scoring on a short run by Lincoln Rose a couple of minutes later to tie things up.
On the next Red and Gold drive, Cremeens found a hole in the Tornado defense, running the ball 40 yards for the Rebels’ next score.
However, Southern answered right back with a run by Logan Hensler, making it so each of the first four drives of Friday’s game ended with touchdowns.
With just over six minutes to go in the second quarter Cremeens once again found the endzone to put the Rebels back up.
Not to be outdone, Hensler scored his second touchdown of the evening a few minutes later.
After the Tornado defense made an important stop, quarterback Josiah Smith ran the ball 52 yards into the endzone as the clock ticked to zero, giving the Purple and Gold a 30-22 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The second half was where things started going wrong for the Rebels, who struggled to find the same success on offense that they had in the first half of the game.
The only passing touchdown of Friday’s matchup came early in the third quarter, with Smith finding Cade Anderson on a 44-yard pass.
The Tornadoes were able to get a 13-point swing on just a couple of plays at the end of the third.
First, Smith punched the ball in from the one-yard line, then after recovering a Rebel fumble in the ensuing kickoff, Hensler ran the ball eight yards for Southern’s next touchdown.
The last touchdown of the game occured with just under three minutes to go in the fourth, when Andrew Riffle intercepted the ball off a pass from Ean Combs for a pick-six.
In stats, both teams got the majority of yards on the ground, with Hensler leading the Tornadoes (12 carries for 116 yards) and Cremeens for the Rebels (11-122).
Both teams did attempt the air attack on occasion, with Smith going 7-of-15 for 101 yards.
South Gallia was much more conservative with their passing game, only going for two completions on five attempts and one interception.
Southern hosts Belpre next Friday, while travels to Waterford. Both TVC Hocking contests will kickoff at 7 p.m.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.