WILLOW WOOD, Ohio — Lady Luck wore a horned helmet.
Visiting South Gallia forced five turnovers, accumulated 256 more yards of total offense and claimed a 23-4 edge in first downs — and that still wasn’t enough Saturday night during a 14-12 setback at Symmes Valley during a Week 1 non-conference contest in Lawrence County.
The Rebels (0-1) rushed for 301 yards, finished plus-3 in turnover differential and held the host Vikings (1-0) to a mere 95 yards of total offense, yet never held a lead at any point in the season opener.
SVHS took a permanent lead on its opening drive of the game as Nick Strow scored on a four-yard run for an early 6-0 edge.
The Vikings caught, or rather, scooped up a break on South Gallia’s ensuing drive as Josh Ferguson returned a fumble 35 yards to the house.
Keifer Wilson found Ryan Lewis with a two-point conversion pass, giving SVHS a 14-0 cushion after one quarter of play.
SGHS started whittling its way back in the second frame as Kyle Northup scored on a 10-yard run, allowing the Red and Gold to close to within 14-6 at the intermission.
Jeffrey Sheets pulled the Rebels even closer in the third stanza with a two-yard run, which ultimately concluded the scoring — despite numerous chances for both squads the rest of the way.
South Gallia averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 46 rushing attempts and also lost half of its four fumbles in the contest. The Rebels did come away with three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions.
SGHS was also flagged 15 times for 120 yards, while the Vikings were penalized nine times for 65 yards.
Northup led the South Gallia rushing attack with 121 yards on 17 carries, followed by Sheets with 90 yards on a dozen attempts. Jacob Birtcher also added 68 yards on seven totes.
Freshman Tristan Saber was 7-of-19 passing for 50 yards in his varsity debut, throwing neither a touchdown nor a pick.
Sheets and Northup both hauled in three passes apiece for 30 and 12 yards, respectively. Garrett Saunders also had two grabs for 12 yards in the setback.
Ferguson paced SVHS with 22 rushing yards on five carries. Wilson was 5-of-7 passing for 25 yards and threw a pair of interceptions. Jack Leith led the hosts with four catches for 33 yards.
The Rebels open league play in their home debut Friday night when Waterford comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. clash between Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division programs.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.