HEMLOCK, Ohio — An abundance of offense.
The Southern football team chalked up a season-best 531 yards of total offense on Friday night in Perry County, with the Tornadoes taking a 39-18 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Miller.
The Tornadoes (4-0, 2-0 TVC Hocking) — unbeaten through four games for a second year in a row — led 16-0 a quarter into play, with Trey McNickle catching a 61-yard touchdown pass from Gage Shuler, who ran into the end zone from 35-yards out later in the period.
The Falcons (1-3, 0-3) got on the board for the first time from the defensive side, with Tre McCoy returning an interception 92 yards for six points.
Miller was 0-for-3 on two-point tries in the contest, but pulled within four points, at 16-12, with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Colby Bartley to Hunter Wellspring before the half.
The guests gained some breathing room with a pair of touchdown runs by Shuler in the third quarter, with the Tornado quarterback scoring from 12 yards out and then from 74 yards away. Both two-point tries were successful and Southern led 32-12 headed into the finale.
In the fourth, a 40-yard touchdown pass from Bartley to Kylan McClain pulled the Falcons within 14 points. Southern, however, put the cherry on top of the 39-18 victory with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Shuler to McNickle.
For the game, Southern earned a 33-to-14 edge in first downs. The Tornadoes’ 531-to-292 advantage in total offense featured a 352-to-99 margin on the ground. Miller — which won the turnover battle by a 4-to-2 count — committed half as many penalties as SHS, with the Falcons being sent back 50 yards on five flags, and the Tornadoes giving up 85 yards on 10 infractions.
Shuler —who was 8-of-16 passing for 192 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions —led all-ball carriers with 251 yards and three touchdowns on 19 rushing attempts.
McNickle combined 117 yards and two touchdowns on four catches with 39 yards on nine carries, while Jonah Diddle and Josh Tanksley earned 37 yards apiece on 12 and two carries respectively.
Chase Bailey caught two passes for 35 yards in the win, Will Wickline had one 20-yard reception, while Cole Steele came up with a nine-yard catch.
For Miller, Bartley was 17-of-27 passing for 193 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while carrying the ball six times for a net gain of 12 yards.
Wellspring had 81 total yards and one score on six catches and two carries, while McCoy added 80 yards on five receptions and two totes. McClain chipped in with 79 yards and a touchdown on four catches, Blayton Cox caught one pass for 32 yards, while Lucas Dishon carried the ball nine times for a total of 10 yards.
The Tornadoes return to their home field on next, with Belpre visiting on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.