HEMLOCK, Ohio — It’s not always about how you start, but rather what comes next that makes a difference.
The Southern football team led undefeated Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Miller 7-0 after one quarter of play Friday night in Perry County, however, Miller outscored the Tornadoes 41-to-6 over the remainder of the game to improve to 4-0 with a 41-13 victory.
Southern (2-2, 1-1 TVC Hocking) junior Kody Greene scored the game’s first touchdown, finding paydirt from the MHS one-yard line at the 4:58 mark of the first quarter. Tommy Ramthun added the extra point to give the Purple and Gold a 7-0 lead.
After tying the game on an 85-yard touchdown pass midway through the second period, the Falcons (4-0, 3-0) took the lead with less than one minute remaining in the first half on a 29-yard scoring run by Kody McKinniss. MHS kicker Alex Paquin made both of his first half extra point attempts and MHS went into the break with a 14-7 lead.
Less than one minute into the second half Miller sophomore Carson Starlin broke a 50-yard touchdown run, which gave MHS a 21-7 lead after Paquin’s kick. The Falcons found paydirt again in the third as McKinniss broke a 59-yard scoring run to give Miller a 27-7 advantage.
Southern’s offense found some life with 2:59 remaining in the third, as junior quarterback Blake Johnson connected with sophomore Dylan Smith for am 8-yard touchdown. The Tornadoes point after attempt failed, but the deficit was cut to 27-13.
The Falcons drove the final nails in the coffin in the fourth quarter, as McKinniss scored on runs of 31 and 38 yards to cap off the hosts’ 41-13 victory.
Johnson completed 13-of-26 pass attempts for 196 yards and a touchdown to lead the Purple and Gold, while rushing for 20 yards on seven carries. Smith led all Tornado ball carriers with 35 yards on 13 rushes, while hauling in two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Ramthun led the SHS receiving corps with 81 yards on five receptions, followed by Crenson Rogers with 52 yards on three receptions. Kody Greene ran six times for 22 yards, while Clayton Wood caught three passes for 22 yards in the setback.
The loss ends the Tornadoes’ four-game winning streak over Miller. The Falcons, who are off to their best start since 1999, hadn’t defeated Southern in Perry County since 2009. The 41 points allowed by the Purple and Gold are the most Southern’s defense has allowed since Trimble posted 42 on October 25, 2013. The last team aside from Trimble to score 40 points against Southern was Belpre in Week three of the 2012 season.
The Tornadoes will look to bounce back next week when the Golden Eagles visits Roger Lee Adams Memorial Football Field. Belpre improved to 2-2 Friday night with a 44-6 home victory over Wahama.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.