LEETONIA - Southern Local quarterback Luke Griffith ran in a 9-yard game-winning touchdown with just over a minute left in regulation as Southern Local rallied in the 4th quarter to beat Leetonia 20-16 last night at Leetonia High School. The score capped off a 13-play 72-yard drive that featured a handful of clutch throws by Griffith. With the victory, Southern (6-3, 4-2) rebounded from a tough loss to Western Reserve last week and ensured its third consecutive winning season, while Leetonia (5-4, 3-3) is knocked out of playoff contention.
"These seniors have put in three years of their time and effort into building up this program, and tonight was a great example of what their hard work has produced," said Southern head coach Mike Skrinjar. "They faced a ton of adversity tonight but never let their belief down for one play."
Prior to the final drive, Griffith had struggled all night in wet conditions against a tenacious Leetonia defense. Running back Mike McKenzie-who finished with 221 yards on 31 carries had been the primary offensive weapon
Southern Local coach Mike Skrinjar runs on the field with his team Friday at Leetonia. (Photo by Wayne Maris)
for the Indians. However, with 6:26 on the clock, and Leetonia in front 16-13, Griffith stepped up when needed. The senior three passes on the final drive for 33 yards before finishing things off himself from 9 yards out.
"They had really stared to key on Mike [Mckenzie]," said Griffith "So I faked a draw to him and found a big hole in front of we all the way to the end zone."
"Luke Griffith is everything you would want in a quarterback," said Skrinjar. "Even though he struggled most of the game, he kept his poise when we needed him the most.
Dominic Gibson also scored a rushing touchdown for Southern, while Griffith intercepted a pass on defense.
J.J. Napierkowski led the receiving corps with five catches for 54 yards, while Jared Shilot finished with four receptions ofr 40 yards.
On defense, Napierkowski and McKenzie both led with seven tackles. Jessie McLurg had a fumble recovery.
The Indians will finish off their season next week when they host Lowellville, while Leetonia is home against Wellsville.