RACINE, Ohio — If they don’t score, you can’t lose.
The Southern football team pitched a shutout Friday night and the Tornadoes claimed a 27-point victory over non-conference guest Notre Dame, at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Football Field.
Neither team managed to gain an advantage in the first 20 minutes of play but Southern senior fullback Ryan Billingsley broke a 13-yard touchdown run with 3:49 remaining in the first half. Billingsley added the point after to give the Purple and Gold a 7-0 edge.
The Tornado defense force a three-and-out a 37-yard pass from Blake Johnson to Jaylen Blanks set the SHS offense up to score again before the half. Johnson found Tristen Wolfe on a fourth down and Wolfe broke through the Notre Dame secondary for the score. The point after attempt failed and SHS went into the half on top by a 13-0 count.
The Southern defense set the offense up again less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, forcing and recovering a fumble at the NDHS 17 yard line. On the first play of the drive Johnson connected with Tom Ramthun on a corner route for the touchdown. Billingsley added the extra point and put SHS ahead 20-0.
Southern again recovered a fumble deep in Notre Dame territory with 3:20 remaining in play. Southern senior Paul Ramthun broke a 22-yard touchdown run off the right tackle and, with Billingsley’s third extra point of the night, put the Tornadoes on top 27-0.
“Coach Ashley at Notre Dame does a great job,” Southern head coach Kyle Wickline said. “They have an excellent program, they play hard, they get after it and they’re aggressive. We wanted to try and match their intensity and that’s why we started out on defense. We wanted to set the tone and try to get what we could defensively and our defense, of course, stepped up. We’re gonna have to hang on our defense while our youth is growing on our offensive side.
Johnson was 5-of-14 for 126 yards and two scores for SHS, while Wolfe was 1-of-1 for five yards through the air. Wolfe was the game’s leading receiver with 71 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Blanks caught one pass for 37 yards, Tom Ramthun had one grab for 17 yards and a score, while Paul Ramthun had one catch for five yards.
Billingsley led Southern’s ground attack with 31 yards on six carries with a score. Colten Holbrook carried the ball three times for 29 yards, Paul Ramthun had five carries for 26 yards and a score, while Blanks had seven carries for seven yards, Wolfe marked five carries for five yards, Kody Greene added five yards on two rushes and Blake Johnson gained four yards on four attempts.
Hunter Harrell paced the Titans on the ground with 35 yards on four carries, followed by Hayden Phillips and Michael Collins with 11 carries and 17 yards each. Brandon Lansing and Ethan Mault each had a six yard run, while Jonathan Major ran three times for four yards.
Collins was 2-of-5 through the air for six yards, while Tyson Montgomery had one catch for six yards.
The Tornadoes held a their guests to just four first downs and 83 total yards, while gaining seven first downs and 239 total yards. SHS was penalized 11 times totaling 90 yards, while NDHS was backed up six times for 47 yards.
Southern has now won two straight season openers, while Notre Dame’s streak of six straight season opening wins was snapped. The Tornadoes have now won three straight games in front of their home fans.
Southern will travel to New Matamoras next week to take on the Cougars in a non-conference matchup. Frontier defeated Sarahsville Shenandoah 34-14 on Friday night.