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When Northview and Southview meet on the same field it's a guarantee the emotions and intensity will run high.
Rivalries like this can't help but bring out such a response.
The latest edition of the Wildcats-Cougars backyard squabble basically followed tradition. The outcome didn't officially become a lock until the waning moments.
Yet, Southview dictated the momentum early by coming through with a couple of turnovers that factored heavily into a 20-14 victory for the Cougars last night at a rain-soaked Cats Stadium.
The Wildcats suffered two fumbles before halftime and the Cougars capitalized on both to help take a 20-0 lead in the Northern Lakes League matchup for Sylvania bragging rights.
Southview backup quarterback Scott Stansley scored twice on one-yard runs following the turnovers.
Kwesi Kankam capped the Cougars' other scoring drive with a three-yard touchdown run set up by a blocked punt.
Meanwhile, the Cougars (7-1, 4-1 NLL) refused to allow the Wildcats (4-4, 2-3) to gain control.
"I thought [the Cougars] came to play this week," Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. "Last week we played a good team in Maumee and we got beat. This week we played a good team, which beat Maumee, but I just think our whole attitude was a little different this week."
Northview coach Eric Keller believed his team was also prepared for last night's matchup, coming off an overtime win a week ago.
However, the early mistakes proved too costly for the Wildcats to recover from.
"They're a really good football team and we gave them the short field to work with three times in the first half," Keller said. "But I thought our kids played with a lot of heart and we never quit."
After falling behind 20-0 Northview rallied to produce the final two scoring drives of the game.
The Wildcats went on a nine-play scoring drive that covered 65 yards late in the second quarter, quarterback Mike Schneider connecting with a wide-open Eric Suttie for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 remaining in the half to make it 20-7.
After the Cougars and Wildcats played a scoreless third quarter Northview took advantage of good field position after a Southview punt and marched 45 yards in four plays to make it 20-14. Schneider capped the scoring drive by dumping a short pass to Casey Meridieth, who sprinted through the Cougars defense for a 34-yard touchdown with 3:52 left.
However, Northview would draw no closer as Southview held onto the ball for the remainder of the game. Stansley and Eric Thompson led the Cougars on a 79-yard march down the field in eight plays.
Thompson, who finished with 89 yards rushing on 17 attempts, carried the ball three times for 22 yards on the drive.
However, the drive's key play was a 54-yard pass completion from Stansley to John Smith that put the Cougars in Wildcats territory. Stansley found Smith unguarded on a short pass play that turned into the longest completion of the night after Smith raced down field before being tackled at Northview's 26.
"We just put that play in last week," Stansley said. "I told the coaches they were biting real hard on the play-fake."
The march ended with Stansley taking a knee inside the Wildcats' 5-yard line to run out the clock.
"Everybody thought we would be down because we lost to Maumee, but we just played a bad game against Maumee," Stansley said.
"We came out tonight fired up and ready to play."
Schneider led the Wildcats with 137 combined yards. Meridieth finished with 71 yards rushing on 15 carries.
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