Southview defenders Scott Anderson, left on ground, and Tre Simms, right, bring down Napoleon fullback Bryant Schlade. The Cougars stopped the Wildcats on fourth down four times in the win.
The eyes of Southview quarterback Griffin McDonald lit up all Friday night as he threw three long touchdown passes in a 32-0 shutout of Napoleon.
McDonald completed eight of 13 passes for 240 yards in a Northern Lakes League game. The senior tossed touchdowns of 66, 43, and 81 yards. Nate Hall had two catches for 124 yards with two scores. J.J. Pinckney caught four catches for 71 yards and one touchdown.
“It feels good because [the big plays] pick up everyone's spirits and gets us excited,” McDonald said. “I made my reads and saw Nate running wide open and I know if I throw it out there he will catch it and score.”
Up 25-0 at the half, McDonald connected with Hall on an 81-yard touchdown pass on Southview's first possession of the second half. Hall was wide open down the middle and sprinted in untouched.
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McDonald hooked up with Hall with 6:12 left in first half on a 43-yard TD pass.
“Before the play even started I identified the formation and took a look at Griffin,” Hall said. “By now we have that chemistry going. I streaked down the middle and changed my route a little bit and we connected for a touchdown.”
Southview (6-3, 5-1 NLL) entered the contest ranked 12th in Region 4 of Division II. With the shutout, the Cougars still hold some hope of making the playoffs.
“I know that if we lose next week [against Northview], we don't go,” Southview coach Jim Mayzes. “I don't know. It's hard to figure that stuff out. If we win next week … a lot of 7-3 teams make it. The way we are playing now, I hope so. We're healthy.”
Southview’s Griffin McDonald threw for 240 yards with three TD passes, including two to Nate Hall (124 receiving yards).
Napoleon (5-4, 3-3) came into the game controlling its own playoff destiny. The Wildcats were ranked No. 6 in Region 8 of Division III. Napoleon can clinch a spot with a win over Bowling Green next Friday.
Southview had 331 yards of total offense (256 passing). The Cougars held Napoleon to 107 total yards.
Napoleon's Brent Schlade rushed for a team-high 57 yards on 18 carries.
Southview's Sam Stout, who rotated in at QB, ran for 59 yards and scored on an 11-yard run.
Southview avenged a 20-14 setback to Napoleon last season when the Wildcats went on to win the NLL title.
“That was a motivating factor,” Hall said. “Every time a team beats us the prior year we really focus our attention on them.”
McDonald completed 3 of 8 passes for 140 yards and two TDs.
“It's nice to be able to the throw down the field but can you block and tackle?,” Mayzes said. “I felt real good about that. We couldn't grind it out with them last year. We talked a lot about being ready.”
The Wildcats' intercepted McDonald on his first attempt of the game.
Anson Lankenau returned it 31 yards to the Cougar 19. Southview held and Logan Peckinpaugh missed a 35-yard field goal.
McDonald, the NLL's passing leader, connected with Pinckney on a 66-yard touchdown strike. Pinckney got behind a Napoleon linebacker and McDonald's strong throw resulted in the early score.
“We run that jet sweep [run] and then we run the receivers down field and it's real hard on any kind of zone to stop both of those,” Mayzes said. “If we run a good fake … it's real tough.”
The Cougars grabbed a 15-0 edge on Stout's run. Stout had runs of 14 and 19 to set up his own score with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following a 57-yard punt return by Pinckney, Southview kicker Kurtis Parsons booted a 33-yard field goal to make it 18-0 with 9:22 left in the first half.
Hall, who will play at Northwestern, averaged 62 yards per catch.
“It's great to score and turn around and see all of your boys getting excited,” Hall said. “When things are firing on all cylinders, it's all good.”
Southview forced Napoleon to turn the ball over on downs four times.
“Our kids showed a lot of guts saving that zero,” Mayzes said. “Napoleon did not quit playing and we respect them for that.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.