against Sylvania Southview and, as a result, the Minutemen were able to
stay close early. In the second half, however, the Cougars virtually
shut down the Lexington running game as the host Cougars breezed to a
28-14 victory in a Division II, Region 6 quarterfinal.
It did not look good for Southview early as Lexington pounded the ball down the field behind the combined running of their senior running back Brad Gallik (27-141 yards) and quarterback Courtney Avery (10- 57 yards). The Lexington offensive unit drove the ball 83 yards in only nine plays and all but 10 yards were gained on the ground. The final 17 came off the hard running of Gallik who sprinted around the left end to beat the Southview defenders to the end zone corner.
The Lexington lead, however, was short-lived. On the very next play from scrimmage, Southview senior Barry Ellison (12- 147 yards) turned an off-tackle play into a 78-yard gain and a Cougar touchdown. The Ellison touchdown and subsequent conversion tied the game at 7-7.
“Barry’s run was big. We knew we could run the ball against them and Barry’s run gave us a big boost,” said Cougar coach Jim Mayzes.
After looking somewhat inept on Lexington’s touchdown drive, the Southview defense suddenly came alive. While allowing the Minutemen to put together 125 yards of total offense and a touchdown in the game’s first eight minutes the Cougars’ defense buckled down over the final sixteen minutes and kept the Minutemen from mounting any serious scoring chances.
Meanwhile the Cougar offense remained in high gear. Utilizing the combined talents of running back Ellison, and quarterbacks Griff Whalen (16 carries, 161 yards) and Michael Hehl (14 carries, 40 yards), Southview managed to take the lead at 14-7 midway through the second quarter. The Cougars covered 80 yards in only six plays with Whalen being responsible for all but 18 yards of it.
“He’s just beautiful,” said Mayzes of Whalen. “He does so much for this team. He runs the ball. He passes the ball and then he plays defense as well. What more can you ask from a kid?”
The second half was a clinic by the Southview defense on how to shut down a running game. With just over six minutes remaining in the game, the Cougars had managed to allow the Minutemen only six yards rushing in the second half and the situation did not improve much down the stretch for Lexington. They finished the game with only 41 yards rushing in the second half.
While there was no scoring in the third quarter, the fourth quarter was full of scoring activity. The Cougars increased their lead to 21-7 on a touchdown that was set up by Griff Whalen’s first of his three interceptions. Following Whalen’s interception, the Cougars moved the ball 61 yards into the Lexington end zone with Mr. Everything, Griff Whalen, scampering the final four yards.
A few minutes later, Whalen ran 93 yards subsequent to his third interception and scored the fourth Cougar touchdown of the night. Whalen’s touchdown gave the Cougars a commanding 28-7 lead with a 1:18 remaining.
Lexington did manage to close the gap to 28-13 as the scoreboard clock turned to quadruple zeroes but it did not tarnish the effort given by the Southview defense in the second half.
B.J. Payne, Lexington’s head coach, was reluctant to say much following the game but was complimentary of his team’s season.
“They had a great season,” said Payne. “This is only a sign of the great things to come for Lexington football.”
Southview’s win improves their overall record to 10-1. Their next game will be against defending Division II state champion, Piqua, who defeated Toledo Central Catholic, 28-9. The location of that game will be announced by the OHSAA on Sunday.
Lexington ends 8-3.