RACINE, Ohio — You can’t lose if your opponent doesn’t score.
The Southern football team pitched a shutout on Friday night at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Football Field, as the still unbeaten Tornadoes claimed a 41-0 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Miller.
After forcing the Falcons (2-2, 1-2 TVC Hocking) to punt on the game’s opening drive, Southern (4-0, 2-0) need just three plays to cover 64 yards for the touchdown. The Tornadoes scored on a 44-yard pass from Blake Johnson to Ike Akers with 9:09 left on the first quarter clock. Andrew Evans made the point after to give SHS a 7-0 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, a planned power outage halted play until the stadium lights could be turned on. After the delay, Miller ran just two offensive plays before fumbling the ball back to the Tornadoes, at the MHS 40-yard line.
Southern was intercepted in the redzone, but forced and recovered another Falcons fumble on the ensuing drive. The Tornadoes were about to score again, when Miller forced a fumble and the ball went out of the endzone, giving the Falcons possession on their own 20.
Miller drove deep into Tornado territory, but came up short on a fourth down, giving the ball back to the hosts at the SHS 16.
On the second play of Southern’s next drive, Johnson hooked up with Riley Roush for a 78-yard touchdown pass. Evans added the extra point kick and Southern led 14-0 at the 11:04 mark of the second quarter.
MHS turned the ball over on downs again on its next possession, giving the Purple and Gold the ball at their own 15-yard line. Southern marched down the field with seven consecutive running plays, and the Johnson capped off the drive with a one-yard scoring run. Evans added the kick to put SHS ahead 21-0, with 4:29 left in the first half.
Miller went 3-and-out on its next drive, and a shanked punt gave SHS the ball at the Falcon 28. On the fifth play of Southern’s drive, Roush found paydirt from four yards out. Evans’ extra point kick gave SHS a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Southern went ahead 34-0 on the opening drive of the second half, with Akers capping off the seven-play 74-yard drive with a nine-yard scoring run.
Miller punted on it’s only third quarter possession and Southern took over at its own 33. On the ninth consecutive running play of the drive, Colten Holbrook broke through the MHS defense for a six-yard score. Evans added the point after at the 7:49 mark of the fourth quarter, sealing the 41-0 victory.
“It feels great to be 4-0 and these kids make it fun to coach,” first-year Tornadoes head coach Mike Chancey said. “They give great effort all the time and they come to work everyday at practice. As long as they give great effort, I’m going to be proud of them, and I thought we did that tonight.”
The Purple and Gold are outgained the Falcons 472-to-154 in total yards, including 286-to-114 on the ground. Southern also held a 16-to-8 advantage in first downs. Both teams committed two turnovers in the tilt, and both teams were penalized for 65 yards, SHS on seven flags and Miller on eight.
“We knew that Miller ran the football pretty well and I thought our kids did a great job defending the run,” Chancey said. “We did some things that we can’t do, but I was proud that, after we made a mistake, nobody had their head down.”
Johnson was 5-of-7 passing for 186 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing four times for 17 yards and one score.
Blanks was Southern’s leading rusher with 97 yards on 10 carries, while Holbrook had 85 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Roush finished with 55 yards and one touchdown on eight carries, to go with one catch for a 78-yard touchdown.
Akers caught two passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, while rushing three times for 15 yards and another score. Crenson Rogers and Dylan Smith each had one reception in the win, gaining 28 and five yards respectively.
Logan Drummer, Reece Reuter and Gage Barrett each had two carries in the win, gaining 11, six and zero yards respectively.
The SHS defense — which has only allowed 146.75 yards per game through four weeks — was led by Akers with one sack and one fumble recovery. Curtis Counts also had one sack, Jordan Fisher and Brody Richards combined for another sack, while Blanks recovered a fumble for the hosts.
Zach Waldrop led the Falcons with 100 yards on 14 carries and seven yards on two receptions. Seattle Compston had 23 yards on seven carries and four yards on one reception. Cole Geil was 6-of-13 passing for MHS, gaining 40 yards.
Matt Bauer, Alec Eveland and Rusty Greenich each caught one pass for 10, 10 and nine yards respectively. Devon Crabtree had nine yards on two carries, Colby Bartley added eight yards on two rushes, while Bauer had three yards on two attempts and Heath Bidwell had one one-yard run.
An interception by Compston and a sack by Andrew Williams led the MHS defense.
Southern — which recorded its first shutout since Week 6 of last year — will hit the road next week to face 2-2 Belpre.
“We already have a couple of (Belpre’s) films broken down,” Chancey said. “They are a team with a lot of speed, and from what I saw on film, they look like a pretty good football team. We’ll have our work cut out for us, but I know we’ll have a good plan for them and our kids will have another good week of practice.”
BHS has won back-to-back games, including a 28-20 victory on Friday night, at Wahama.
Miller will look to bounce back next Friday, when they host Trimble — which had its 33-game TVC Hocking winning streak come to an end at the hands of Waterford, on Friday in Glouster.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.