Southview looks to be fully back on track with speed and athleticism carrying the Cougars to a determined win over a tenacious Anthony Wayne team on Friday night.
Senior wide receiver J.J. Pinckney got Southview going with touchdown catches of 24 and 55 yards in the first quarter. Still the Cougars led just 14-7 at the half. But they scored on the opening drive of the third quarter and went on to post a 28-7 victory over the visiting Generals.
The win on Homecoming night pushed Southview's record to 3-2 overall and to 2-0 in the Northern Lakes League. It sets up a showdown with Perrysburg (3-2, 2-0) next Friday night. The Yellow Jackets, who downed Napoleon 27-14 on Friday, are the only other undefeated team in league play.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from the game
After Southview opened the season with losses to two Three Rivers Athletic Conference foes, St. Francis de Sales and Central Catholic, the Cougars have rebounded with three straight wins. Anthony Wayne (2-3) is now 1-1 in the NLL.
“Our team's gaining confidence,” said Pinckney, who caught three passes for 128 yards. “Our team has more cohesiveness and swagger.”
Southview senior quarterback Griffin McDonald hooked up with Pinckney on a 24-yard scoring strike just 2:12 into game. Pinckney, who is 6-3 and 180 pounds, weaved his way smoothly through the AW defense.
McDonald and Pinckney then struck again as Pinckney took a screen pass 55 yards for a score. Pinckney outran the Generals defense to get the corner and made it 14-0 with 5:13 left in first quarter.
“It's easy when everyone is doing their job,” Pinckney said. “Those are great calls by the coaches and the line up front blocking and Griff throwing the ball. I just want to keep getting better.”
McDonald completed 10-of-18 passes for 189 yards.
Anthony Wayne got on the board on senior Kyle Aranyosi's 48-yard scamper up the middle to make it 14-7 with 5:59 left in first half.
“We got up a couple touchdowns and we started to relax,” Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. “We had a laid-back attitude and at half time that was the big message. Anthony Wayne is a good football team. They took it to us.”
Southview responded and marched 77 yards on seven plays to start the second half. Junior running back Keith Gilmore, who finished with 110 yards, rushed for a 19-yard TD. Gilmore got around right end and used his speed to sprint down the sideline.
Southview senior Malik Lockett, a transfer from Whitmer, then put it away. Lockett scored on a 24-yard TD run to put Cougars up 28-7 with 6:24 left in game. Lockett finished with a game-high 123 yards on 13 carries.
Southview finished with 466 total yards, including 277 rushing, and held AW to 212 (195 rushing).
The Cougars played bend but don't break defense in the second half.
AW had two long drive (10 plays and nine plays) that ended with a turnover on downs.
“I'm proud of our effort tonight,” AW coach Craig Smith said. “We've had a lot of injuries this year [including top running back Sam Bruno] but I thought our kids never quit. It's disappointing to lose, but we played really well against a good Southview team. It's tough because they have Pinckney and Gilmore. They are an explosive team and have a lot of good athletes. But we moved the ball well tonight. We needed one more big play to take it to where we wanted to.”
Josh Schwerer led the Generals with 92 yards on 12 carries. Aranyosi had 78 yards. But AW completed just one pass for 17 yards. Pinckney, also a defensive back, had four pass breakups.
“J.J. had no help at all, and he just had better position,” Mayzes said. “I love the way J.J. is playing right now.”
Anthony Wayne had a chance to tie it just before half after the Generals recovered a fumble and a 15-yard personal foul penalty gave the Generals the ball on the Cougar 36. But AW could not capitalize and went three and out.
Southview's Nate Hall ended another AW threat with an interception early in the third quarter. The Cougars had five sacks led by senior lineman Michael Bronson.
“This was definitely a big game,” Pinckney said. “But next week will be a huge monster. We have to get prepared. It's a very formidable team.”
Southview, the preseason favorite to win NLL, had to overcome too many penalties on Friday. But Mayzes was able to insert backups late in the game to rest up for the Perrysburg, which was picked to finish second.
“Perrysburg is always good,” Mayzes said. “I'm glad we're playing them at home. I'm sure they are going to be good and it's going to be a war. We will fill our tank full of energy again.”
Contact Mark Monroe at email@example.com 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.