Southern Blanks Rival Eastern, Earns First Playoff Berth

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The Southern Tornadoes (8-2) trounced the Eastern Eagles (2-8) Saturday, Nov. 2 in Racine 34-0 to secure their first playoff berth in school history. Running back Tyler Barton and quarterback Tristen Wolfe combined for four of the Tornadoes’ five touchdowns.

The Eagles finished with 8 turnovers and plenty of penalties on both sides of the ball.

Eastern struggled to move the chains throughout the game, aside from a few positive gains courtesy of running back Zack Scowden. Neither the air attack nor running game was reliable for the Eagles, who saw turnovers by both of those offenses on a regular basis during the game.

Defensive back Hunter Johnson intercepted two passes before halftime.

Wolfe’s attempts were limited, but his effectiveness was not.

While the left-hander only went 5-7 for 28 yards and a touchdown through the air, he had an additional 47 yards on the ground with another touchdown.

Barton propelled the Tornado offense the entire night, finishing with 21 carries for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Gridiron Glory Player of the Year semifinalist appeared to be running with a chip on his shoulder after missing out on the top five.

Spell back Ryan Billingsley added another 25 yards on 4 carries and also punched in a touchdown for Southern.

With the win the Tornadoes clinched the No. 5 seed in Division VII, Region 25. They await a road matchup with Steubenville Catholic Central next week.

“They like to go to the air a lot,” coach Kyle Wickline said of Southern’s next opponent. “Their quarterback (Brenton Colabella) has more than 7,000 yards in his career.”

The Crusaders started the season 8-0 before dropping their last two contests.

If the Southern secondary is able to replicate Saturday’s four-interception performance, the Tornadoes will have a chance to stick around in their first ever playoffs for more than a week.