RACINE, Ohio — These Eagles were no match for winds of this magnitude.
The Southern football team blew out the Belpre Golden Eagles 73-36 at home Friday evening in a Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup.
The Tornadoes (3-1, 2-0 TVC Hocking) started the game cold, striking out on their first two drives.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles (1-4, 0-1) got on the board first with a 28-yard run.
The Purple and Gold found their groove at the very start of the second, starting with a 3-yard touchdown run by Jonah Diddle in the first play of the quarter.
The Tornadoes extended their lead a couple of minutes later when quarterback Josiah Smith found Blake Shain on a 74-yard bomb.
After the Eagles found the endzone once more, Southern responded with a 19-yard touchdown run from Logan Hensler, followed by a 19-yard pass from Smith to Derek Griffith in the closing minutes of the half.
However, Belpre got a deep pass of their own into the endzone, giving the Tornadoes a slim 8-point lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter was filled with quite a few surprises.
Neither team found the endzone until just five minutes to go in the third, when Smith found Brayden Otto for 11 yards.
With under three minutes to go in the quarter, the Tornadoes had a 1-play drive when Smith found Griffith once more for 43 yards.
However, the Eagles responded right back with a 1-play drive of their own in their next possession, a 74-yard pass.
With 14 seconds to go in the third quarter, Otto ran the ball 29 yards for his second touchdown of the game to give Southern a 26-point lead heading into the final quarter.
After Diddle got his second rushing touchdown of the game to put the Tornadoes up by over 30 points, Belpre responded with a 60-yard kick return to the house to shut down the running clock.
However, Griffith was the only player on either team to record a touchdown on offense and defense after he returned an interception 44 yards for a pick-6.
With 18 seconds to go, Griffith went on to kick a 27-yard field goal to put the cherry on top of his team’s victory.
Smith was the only player to line up under center for the Tornadoes, recording a line of 7-19-0 for 258 yards.
Smith also led the Purple and Gold on the ground, racking up 81 yards on 13 carries, followed by Hensler (7-50) and Shain (2-39).
For receiving, Shain led his team with three receptions for 148 yards, followed by Griffith (2-62) and Damien Miller (1-39).
In a rare bit of symmetry, the Tornadoes had 258 yards passing and rushing for a total of 516 yards.
The Tornadoes will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday when they host the Trinity Christian Warriors.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.