Michael Knight, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Similar to last year’s meeting between Vinton County and Southeastern, turnovers played a significant factor in Friday’s final result.
However, this go-around, it wasn’t Southeastern coughing it up.
The Panthers forced the Vikings into turning the ball over on four separate occasions, leading to a 35-0 win. Over the first two weeks, Southeastern (2-0) has now outscored its opponents 71-7.
“Our line has done a great job blocking up front,” Southeastern junior Eric Hill said. “We’ve got some great skill players, too. It’s a team thing.”
Defensively, the Panthers held Vinton County (1-1) to just 168 yards of total offense … while they put up 364.
“We all hold each other accountable. We know that if we don’t play hard, that could be our last play,” Southeastern senior Jerran Ford said. “So it’s every play, go hard. If we do that, we know we can pitch a shutout.”
Southeastern controlled the ball well, using its signature Wing-T offense to wear the Vikings down. Senior quarterback Lane Ruby did what he always does, racking up 168 rushing yards, 102 passing yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Ruby had help from backfield mate Mikey Nusser, who tallied 94 yards and two scores on the ground.
Before the game, SE coach Evan Gallaugher said, “We have to take care of the ball. That is what hurt us last year.” His Panthers did just that, winning the turnover margin 4-1.
Southeastern completes its non-conference schedule at Eastern Pike next Friday. Over the past two years, the Panthers have won both games of the series, outscoring the Eagles 91-12 … 41-6 in 2018 and 50-6 in 2017.
Having said that, you can rest assured Eastern isn’t being taken lightly.
“We go into practice on Monday thinking we’re 0-0,” Hill said. “We’re just going to try and work hard in practice each day, come out on Friday and get a win.”