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Southern tames Tigers

Morning Journal/Michael Burich Southern’s Colton Soukup takes the handoff from quarterback Ryan Exline and races 85 yards for a touchdown past Wellsville’s Tanner Rambo (19), Tyler Stanley (67) and Gavin Kountz (45) on Friday.

WELLSVILLE — In a battle for first place in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, the Southern Indians won a hard-fought 32-20 battle over their arch-rival Wellsville. It marks the fourth time in five years that the Indians have won on the Tigers’ home field.

“It’s always a big win. It gives us a chance to win the league again, and we knew it was going to be tough coming down here. They were well prepared and they stopped us early,” Indian coach Rich Wright said.

“This was huge. Winning on this field feels great,” Indians junior end Colton Soukup said.

Soukup led the way with 225 rushing yards and two touchdowns to pace the Indians on the night. He also set up the Indians’ final touchdown on a 58-yard run to the Tigers 9-yard line in the fourth quarter. In addition, he provided a key interception that set up a score for the Indians too.

“We’ve been working hard in practice to prepare for this game. We were able to get the lead, and play strong,” Soukup said.

“Brad (Sloan) had to replace Cam Grodhaus, and that wasn’t easy to do. And now Soukup, a junior has had to replace Brad Sloan so that is a tough position to do,” Wright said.

Soukup started the explosive night with an 85-yard run around the left end midway through the first quarter. That score gave the Indians an early lead before the Tigers answered right back with a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Valen Krzyston to tie the game at 6-6 at the 3:43 mark of the first quarter.

Following the interception by Soukup at the Tigers 23-yard line late in the opening stanza, the Indians wasted little time in taking advantage of the miscue as quarterback Ryan Exline found Wyatt Morris on an 18-yard pass to stake them to a 12-6 lead just 49-second into the second frame.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight, missed assignment. But hats off to coach Wright and his staff for taking advantage of our mistakes,” Tigers coach Robert Ramsey said.

The Indians would separate themselves late in the half following a fumble by the Tigers at their own 41, the Indians scored once again on a Tiger turnover as Exline ran in from 5-yards out with 3:43 remaining in the half. That gave the Indians an 18-6 advantage.

Then, with only 49 seconds left before halftime, Soukup scored his second touchdown on the night. This time it was a 42-yard run, giving the Indians a commanding 24-6 lead at the intermission.

But the Tigers showed a lot of pride as they came out on fire to start the second half. They score on a 4-yard blast by Gavin Kountz on just their third play from scrimmage in the half. They converted a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 24-14 at the 11:04 mar of the third quarter.

“We just challenged them,” Ramsey explained what he told his team at halftime. “We told them to come and football like they know-how. We did, but then we shot ourselves in the foot again.”

But the Indians answered early in the fourth quarter as Noah Perfetto plowed in from 10-yards out just 54-second into the final frame. The score was set up by a 58-yard run by Soukup down to the Tiger’s 9-yard line. That score made it 32-14.

The Tigers added a 7-yard pass from Krzyston to Isaiah Greathouse with 7:30 remaining in the contest, but it proved to be too little too late as the Indians ate up the remaining 7:17 on the clock to close the game.

“I wasn’t comfortable until we were able to take a knee,” Wright said. “They have some explosive players and they got behind us a couple of times.”

“We have to come in tomorrow and we have to lift, run, and get ready and game plan for a good Lisbon team,” Ramsey said.

The Indians will try to keep the momentum rolling next Friday when they host the Leetonia Bears. The Tigers will try to bounce back next Friday when they travel to Lisbon.

SOUTHERN: 6-18-0-8–32

WELLSVILLE: 6- 0-8-6–20

SCORING

S–Colton Soukup 85 run (pass failed)

W–Valen Krzyston 1 run (kick failed)

S–Wyatt Morris 18 pass from Ryan Exline (run failed)

S–Exline 5 run (pass failed)

S–Soukup 42 run (run failed)

WE – Gavin Kountz 4 run (Kountz run)

S–Noah Perfetto 10 run (Morris pass from Exline)

W–Isaiah Greathouse 6 pass from Krzyston (run failed)

——

S W

First downs 15 14

Total Yards 380 326

Rushes-yards 41-346 36-173

Passing 34 153

Comp-Att-Int 4-7-0 13-22-1

Punts 3-36.3 2-30.5

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 6-65 10-75

——

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING–SOUTHERN, Colton Soukup 8-225; WELLSVILLE, Isaiah Greathouse 14-99.

PASSING–SOUTHERN, Ryan Exline 4-7-34-1-0; WELLSVILLE, Valen Krzyston 13-18-153-1-1.

RECEIVING–SOUTHERN, Wyatt Morris 2-34; WELLSVILLE, 7-100.

INTERCEPTIONS – SOUTHERN, Colton Soukup.

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