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Trailing by one point at halftime with the outright lead in the Northern Lakes League at stake, Southview buckled down on defense and completely shutdown Perrysburg last night.
The Cougars trailed 7-6 after two quarters during their homecoming game, but they then limited the Yellow Jackets to just eight yards of offense in the second half until the final two minutes. Southview rode the impressive defensive effort to a 29-7 win on a cold, windy night with a steady drizzle at Cats Stadium.
PHOTO GALLERY: Southview vs. Perrysburg Friday Sep. 30
Southview, the preseason pick to win its fifth straight league title, took sole possession of first place and moved to 3-0 in NLL play and 5-1 overall. Perrysburg (4-2, 2-1) fell one game back.
"I was very pleased with the attitude of our football team in the second half," Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. "Defensively we shut them down. They played some great Cougar football, and they're moving toward the team we thought they could be."
The Cougars yielded a touchdown with 3:07 left in the first quarter, but then pitched a shutout.
Overall, Southview held Perrysburg to 210 yards, including just 50 in the second half. A week after containing Maumee's athletic QB Jake Schneider, the Cougars held another shifty quarterback, Steve Slocum, to 32 rushing yards and 151 passing.
Sophomore defensive back Nate Hall had two interceptions.
"Whenever we're down at halftime, we get pumped in the locker room," Hall said. "We came out more focused on our jobs, and we played harder. We got things done today."
Southview finished with 332 yards, including 188 on the ground.
Senior back Jalen Marable rushed for a game-high 105 yards on 12 carries.
With his team trailing 7-6, Marable's 49-yard run set up Jay Fisher's six-yard TD run with 7:45 left in the third quarter. Fisher leads the NLL with 10 touchdowns.
Marable added the two-point conversion on a run to give his Cougars a 14-7 lead. He then helped Southview seize a 21-7 lead with 59 seconds to go in the third quarter on a 14-yard scamper.
"We knew the season was on the line," Marable said. "We can't lose any more games if we want to get to the playoffs. We had to turn it around in the second half because if not, we were done. I was trying to make plays for my team. I was just running."
Southview QB Austin Valdez, who finished 11 of 22 for 144 yards, tossed touchdowns of 10 yards to Travis Miller and 16 yards to Jenard Pinckney.
The Cougars took full control when Valdez connected with Pinckney for a 29-7 lead with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Perrysburg struck first with an 82-yard pass play from Slocum to Austin Bishop as the Yellow Jackets went up 7-0 late in the first quarter.
"We had a great vibe in the locker room at halftime," Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. "Our team thought we were going to win this game."
At the half, Perrysburg had 160 yards of total offense led by Slocum. The junior threw for 110 yards and rushed for 40. But the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over twice.
Southview had 145 yards led by Valdez, but the Cougars were intercepted once and missed an extra point.
"We came out and made mistakes in the second half," Kregel said. "They got up by two scores, and we had to throw the ball. It was hard to run our offense then. Now we have to win out."
On fourth and four at the Perrysburg 10 midway through the second quarter, Southview pulled within one when Valdez found Miller. A good fake handoff set up the score.
Berry Grant and Nick Josza had sacks for Southview. The defense allowed the Cougars to start possessions inside Perrysburg territory, setting up the final two scores.
"What I told them is that we were going to hit harder and longer. And they did," Mayzes said.
Southview travels to Bowling Green next week, while Perrysburg is back at Cats Stadium to face Northview.
"Beating Maumee and then coming back and beating Perrysburg, it gives us momentum going into the next game," Hall said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.
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