McDonald - The Southern Indians used the aerial attack of quarterback Luke Griffith connecting with receivers Justin Shilot and JJ Napierkowski in route to racking up 335 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. The offensive combination powered the Indians (4-1, 2-0) to a 35-17 victory over the McDonald Blue Devils Friday night.
"We made school history," Indians Head Coach Mike Skrinjar said. "We've had some real tough close games out here (McDonald), its always great, they are a good football team."
"It's huge for us," Luke Griffith added. "We've never come to McDonald and got the win. It feels great to come up here (and win), they're a great program."
Southern's J.J. Napierkowski scores on Friday against McDonald. (Photo courtesy of JT Higgins)
The Indians wasted little time in taking charge as they scored only 3:52 minutes into the contest when Griffith hit Napierkowski on a 15-yard pass. The score came on only the third play from scrimmage for the Indians.
However, the Devils would settle down as the two teams exchanged possession until they capitalized on an Indians miscue. From the Indians own 22-yard line Steve Treadway was set to punt the ball away. The Devils Zack Conley would get a strong push off the right side of the line and block the attempt.
On the next play, the Devils P.J. Mansky would scamper 6-yards to pull even with the Indians. The score would occur at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter.
That seemed to wake up the Indians offense as they would use 6-plays, covering 66-yards to grab the lead back. Griffith would hit Napierkowski again, this time on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 4:49 remaining before halftime as the Indians carried a 14-7 lead.
The second half of the contest got off to a very dubious start as the Indians went four and out, and were forced to punt from their own 18-yard line. The snap sailed over the punter's head and through the end zone for a safety. The miscue at the 10:07 mark of the third quarter drew the Devils closer at 14-9.
After the free kick, McDonald was set up in great field position at their own 41-yard line. However, after a penalty against the Devils they would fumble the ball, giving the Indians possession at the Devils own 35-yard line.
But The Indians could not take advantage and turned the ball over on downs. That seemed to rejuvenate the Devils as they would quickly pounce.
The Devils would get a big run by freshman running back down to the Indians 23-yard line, and from there he would drive into the end zone from 5-yards out three plays later. They would tack on a two-point conversion to take a 17-14 lead at the 7:02 mark of the quarter.
But then Griffith would lead the Indians back to go ahead two possessions later. With 2:25 remaining in the quarter, he would hit Shilot of a short bubble screen, and Shilot would break tackles and make cuts down the field for a 55-yard score. The score gave the Indians a 21-17 lead.
"The coaches always tell me to take what the defenses give me, so that's exactly what I did. Just simple easy read, make the game come to me, and slow down then it's easy for me," Griffith explained the night's success.
They were not done there. Early in the fourth quarter, Mike McKenzie would start to get on track as he would score on 6-yard run at the 10:05 mark of the fourth. It pushed the Indians advantage to 28-17.
McKenzie would add another score the next time the Indians got the ball too. This time it was a 19-yard jaunt at the 7:27 mark of the stanza. Mckenzie would finish the night with 13 carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
"To beat a good football team you have to play consistent every stinking play and we didn't tonight," Blue Devils Head Dan Williams said.
Next week the Indians (4-1) travel to Columbiana, while McDonald (2-3) plat at Leetonia.