Great anticipation for undefeated Southview and unbeaten Perrysburg will turn into exhilaration for one and frustration for the other after the outcome of their Northern Lakes League showdown Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (5-0 overall, 2-0 NLL) host the Cougars (5-0, 2-0) at Steinecker Stadium in a mid-season clash that will go a long way in determining the league championship.
“When both teams are undefeated it brings out excitement,” Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. “The kids have perked up a lot. We're extremely excited.”
Southview was picked to win a fourth straight NLL title. Perrysburg, which was pegged to finish second, is seeking its first championship since 2006.
“It's fun and exciting because the kids have put themselves in this position to play in this type of game,” Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. “This is exactly where we want to be. We set the goal to go into this unbeaten. The kids have done a nice job and now it's time to have fun on Friday.”
Southview has worked its way through a tough early season schedule unscathed. The Cougars pulled out a win over St. Francis de Sales in the opener and held on against Springfield (17-14) last Friday. They also shut out Rogers and Anthony Wayne.
“It gives you confidence. We've had some challenges,” Mayzes said.
The first half of Perrysburg's schedule hasn't been as challenging. The Yellow Jackets posted easy wins over Bowsher and Waite, opened NLL play against Rossford with a 63-12 victory, and blasted Bowling Green 49-25 last Friday.
But Kregel said his team competed well against Central Catholic and Whitmer in preseason scrimmages and held off a 3-2 Clay team (21-14) in week two.
“I'm satisfied with our preparation,” he said.
Southview has two talented speedsters in running back Ja'Darian Bowers (44 rushes for 384 yards) and quarterback De'Nard Pinckney (58 for 305). Senior QB David Vandercook, who alternates with Pinckney, has thrown for 435 yards (23 of 31).
Junior WR/DB Allen Gant, who is a major Division I prospect, leads the team with 14 catches for 276 yards.
“They just have better athletes than most teams in the league,” Kregel said. “They have team speed and that makes them tough to match.”
Southview is outscoring its foes 128-54.
Mayzes said he is looking forward to getting his “fast guys on a fast surface” at Steinecker Stadium, which has synthetic turf.
“With Bowers and Pinckney and Gant, those kinds of guys are a little more special on a consistent surface,” he said.
Perrysburg senior QB Matt Slocum leads the NLL in passing (52 of 86 for 783 yards). He has tossed 11 touchdowns, including nine to his sophomore brother Steve, who leads the team with 429 receiving yards (17.8 yards per catch).
Matt Slocum also leads his team in rushing with 297 yards (6.3 per carry). Junior Micah Carter has scored eight touchdowns. Alex Morse has a team-high 33 tackles.
“Their quarterback is a very effective passer,” Mayzes said. “I have nothing but respect for what they have done.”
Kregel said the key offensively for the Yellow Jackets, who are outscoring their foes 221-72, is to possess the ball to control the clock with long drives.
“We need to keep from giving up big plays,” he said.
The difference could come down to home-field advantage.
“The kids will feed off of that,” Kregel said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6354.