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In the battle of Sylvania, Southview scored on the first play of the game Friday night at Cats Stadium and rolled over rival Northview.
The Cougars’ Keith Gilmore returned the opening kick 100 yards for a score and Southview never looked back in a 40-0 shutout.
Southview also blocked a punt and took it back for a touchdown in building a 28-0 lead at the half. Junior Leon Eggleston, who blocked the punt, also returned a fumble 32 yards for another score.
It was the eighth straight time Southview (7-3 overall) defeated Northview (2-8) in the Sylvania series.
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“The Wildcat stays in the cage and the Cougar stays on top,” Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. “There have been some close games over the years but recently it hasn't been real close. But they have a good strong football team. They have some talent.”
In a bizarre start to the rivalry contest, Gilmore fielded the opening kick at the 2 yard line and stepped back into the end zone. The referee did not signal a touchback. Yet both teams had stopped playing. Gilmore hesitated before sprinting 100 yards for a score with Northview late to react.
“I caught it and I stepped in the endzone and I thought it was a touchback,” Gilmore said. “Somebody said the ref was waving his hand to go. But I gave my teammate a handshake because he had a good block and all of a sudden I heard my coach say, 'Go! Go!' And I just went. It was like an unknown trick play. That was big. It was the spark plug.”
Southview went up 14-0 after a 12-play, 62-yard drive. Sophomore quarterback Sam Stout scored on an eight-yard keeper as he sprinted up the middle with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
Stout was the game's leading rusher (59 yards) and passer as he completed three of four passes for 58 yards. Stout also tossed a 33-yard TD strike to Nate Hall.
“It's a historic game and it was great for our seniors,” Stout said. “For our last game, this was great.”
The Cougars amassed 323 yards of total offense (185 rushing).
On the first snap of the second half, Ryan Stout sacked Northview quarterback Brendan Pierson who fumbled. Eggleston picked up the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown and a 34-0 lead.
Southview seized a 20-0 lead with an impressive 99-yard, 17-play drive. Gilmore capped it with a 13-yard TD run on fourth and one. The Cougars picked up six first downs on the lengthy march.
Eggleston then blocked a Northview punt attempt and Ryan Stout, a senior lineman, scooped it up and scored from eight yards out as Southview went up 28-0 with 1:14 left in second quarter.
“Coach put on the blitz and I was just trying to see if I could get it and I did,” Eggleston said.
Northview had 103 total yards, including 90 rushing. Preston McCurdy led the Wildcats with 45 rushing yards. Southview forced three turnovers.
Senior quarterback Griff McDonald and senior lineman Berry Grant were injured early in the game for the Cougars.
Southview won four in a row to close the regular season after losing three of its first six games, including a costly 16-13 setback to NLL champion Perrysburg in week six. The Cougars will have to settle for a second-place finish in the league (6-1) and need help to qualify for the Division II playoffs.
Southview entered the game ranked No. 9 in Region 4 of D-II. The top eight make the playoffs. Southview could vault over No. 8 Massillon Washington (7-2) if Massillon loses to Canton McKinley (9-0) on Saturday.
But Southview will likely be beaten out for the No. 8 spot by current No. 10 Walsh Jesuit (7-3) which beat Akron Hoban 20-14 on Friday.
“I heard one bad thing that Walsh Jesuit won and that doesn't help,” Mayzes said. “I was just paying attention to what we were doing tonight.”