RACINE, Ohio — The game isn’t over until the the clock reaches zeroes.
The Waterford football team erased a 14-point deficit and went on to defeated host Southern 30-20 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division match-up on Friday night at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field in Meigs County.
The Tornadoes (3-5, 4-4 TVC Hocking) had momentum on their side, but the Wildcats (4-4, 3-3) rallied in the second half to take the victory.
Waterford began the second quarter driving down the field, but were stopped short in the red zone by the Southern defense. The Tornadoes’ offense came alive with a 63-yard bomb from Blake Johnson to Tommy Ramthun.
Johnson connected with Dylan Smith for 14 yards to give the Purple and Gold a scoring opportunity. Junior Kody Greene ran the ball in to give Southern a 7-0 advantage with 8:53 left in the first half.
Southern’s Theron Johnson recovered a fumble to set the Tornadoes up in Waterford territory. Blake Johnson found Crenson Rogers for a 14-yard touchdown to put Southern up 14-0 with 6:22 left in the first half.
The Wildcats came out of halftime with a chip on their shoulder. After getting set up with good field position with its defense, Waterford got on the board after a 5-yard run from Tyler McCutcheon halfway through the third quarter.
Southern tried to answer back, but their offense suffered two fumbles in the third period. Southern led the Wildcats 14-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
A touchdown pass from Isaac Huffman to Jaret McCutcheon tied the game up with 10:29 left in the contest. After punt recovery, Southern was set up deep in Waterford territory. Johnson connected with Rogers again for a 7-yard touchdown to give the Tornadoes a 20-14 lead with 7:47 to go in the fourth quarter.
On Southern’s next possession, Johnson threw an interception and Cody Harris ran it back for 99 yards to give the Wildcats a 21-20 lead with 4:26 left. The Tornadoes looked to answer, but Johnson threw another interception and Huffman ran it back for another Wildcat touchdown. A late safety sealed the game for Waterford.
Johnson was 22-of-33 passing for 267 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Tornadoes. Rogers had 10 catches for 145 yards, followed by Smith with five catches for 32 yards and Ramthun with four catches for 85 yards. Riley Roush led the Southern ground game with seven carries for 23 yards, while Johnson had seven carries for 13 yards.
Clayton Wood led Southern’s defensive efforts with seven tackles, followed by Rogers with six tackles — including one sack. Roush had five tackles, while Ramthun and Smith had four tackles each for the Tornadoes.
“We played well on the offensive and defensive side,” Kyle Wickline said. “There were too many big plays. It was tough to get by with that.”
Huffman was 8-of-18 passing for 65 yards and one touchdown for Waterford. Tyler McCutcheon had 10 carries for 85 yards, followed by Braden Bellville with five carries for 14 yards. Jaret McCutcheon had four catches for 23 yards.
Southern finished the game with 17 first downs, while Waterford had 11. The Tornadoes also had the most penalties with eight for 45 yards. The Wildcats had five penalties for 36 yards. Waterford had two fumbles and losing only one. Southern at three fumbles and lost all three of them.
Southern’s next game will take place at South Gallia on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Donald Lambert can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106