Last night's football game between Perrysburg and Southview certainly wasn't pretty, thanks in large part to a combined seven turnovers and 14 penalties.
But the Cougars' 28-0 victory on their homecoming game at Cats Stadium was a thing of beauty to Southview coach Jim Mayzes.
"I was pleased with the way we played defense," Mayzes said. "We were trying to mix things up, and we had a lot of kids play well on defense."
Southview limited the Yellow Jackets to just 155 yards of total offense, including just 47 yards rushing. The Cougars (4-2) are in first place in the Northern Lakes League at 3-0.
"We're already in the playoffs - we were in the playoffs the third week [of the season]," said Mayzes, referring to his team's 0-2 start. "We can't drop any - that's why every game is a big game."
Southview scored the only points of the first half when it drove 40 yards on five plays late in the opening quarter. De'Nard Pinckney's 28-yard pass down the middle of the field to Konnor Chuba ate up most of those yards, and Thomas Stichter capped the drive with a 4-yard run into the end zone with just 54 seconds left in the period.
Perrysburg (4-2, 1-2) managed just 53 yards of total offense and just one first down in the first half. While Southview rolled up 170 yards, it was hamstrung by a pair of interceptions, a fumble, and several drive-killing penalties.
After an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Cougars drove 70 yards in seven plays, with Stichter sweeping around the left end and running 48 yards for the score.
"You've got to be able to run the football," Mayzes said. "We can throw it, but we started getting the sweep loose and we started to break things open."
That was more than enough offense for the Southview defense, which got even stingier in the second half. While Perrysburg had more offensive yards in the second half, only three of the Yellow Jackets' 15 running plays netted more than three yards.
"We didn't change anything at half," said senior linebacker Drew Stansley, who is playing with a broken hand. "We knew we had to come out and lay it down. We got a zero on the scoreboard, so it shows [that we did]."
What's more, the Southview defense forced three Yellow Jacket turnovers to kill whatever offensive momentum Perrysburg could generate.
"If you're in a four-wide formation, they bring seven. And if you're blocking it with six, you're in trouble," Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. "They've got good athletes, so if you can't threaten them - do some things that will move the ball down the field - they're a defense that's hard to deal with.
"And we talked all week: we can't turn the ball over. You just can't give a team with all those weapons the ball on your side of the field."
An interception by Stichter late in the third quarter gave the Cougars the ball on Perrysburg's 21, setting up a 7-yard TD toss from Stichter to Mo May.
And an interception by James Hall gave Southview the ball on Perrysburg's 44, preceding a drive in which Ja'Darian Bowers carried the ball three times for 59 yards, including a 34-yard sprint to the end zone.
Southview finished with 376 yards of total offense, including 251 yards on the ground. Bowers led the ground game with 99 yards on eight fourth-quarter carries, while Stichter added 69 and May 60.
But Mayzes said his offense can do better.
"We work and work and work about being focused, but we just aren't good at it yet," Mayzes said. "We work on [limiting] the penalties and turnovers, but we're not as good at [stopping] them as we need to be.
"The [offensive] tapes are going to be ugly. But a good defense helps soothe that pain."
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