Selma, Southside meet once again to open seasonPublished 1:25am Friday, August 31, 2012
The beginning of a new season means another meeting between cross-town rivals.
The Selma High School Saints will face the Southside High School Panthers Friday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Stadium in the season opener for both teams.
For Saints head football coach Leroy Miles — someone who’s been on both sides of the rivalry — the game is really important.
“It means a lot. It’s a big, cross-town rivalry. I’ve coached at Southside before, I’ve been the athletic director there before,” Miles said. “Kids tend to come after you harder when you’ve been at a place before. Those guys that are at Southside now were freshmen when I was out there, so a lot of those kids I still know and talk to and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I’m still their coach.”
With the Panthers being led by a new head coach in Daniel Flowers, who’s brought a fairly new staff with him, Miles said the Saints aren’t quite sure what to expect, so they have to be ready for anything.
“You try stay basic and try to make adjustments as we go through the game and as the game progresses. We’re going to try to make adjustments and prepare for every possible scenario. Sometimes you’re not successful at it because you didn’t know what they were doing,” Miles said. “We usually exchange game film, and in this one, you don’t have that opportunity or that luxury to exchange game film. We’re going to have to make adjustments from the press box and on the field. You put your players in situations to be coaches on the field and they’re going to have to make adjustments on the fly.”
Flowers said he thinks the Panthers match up well with the Saints, but his team must contain Selma’s speedy quarterback Jesse Harris.
“They’ve got good size, but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem though because we match up size wise with them. They’ve got 50 something kids and we’ve got 50 something kids and we’re two deep at a lot of positions,” Flowers said. “They’ve got good speed. They’ve got a real good, athletic quarterback — he likes to run around in passing situations. As long as we contain him, I think we’ve got a chance.”
Miles said the Saints are going to have to not make crucial mistakes in order to have a shot to win.
“I think we’re going to have to minimize our mistakes and we’re going to have to control the football and play real good defense,” Miles said. “We’re going to have to try to keep the momentum on our side. It’s hard to beat anybody in a cross-town rivalry when they have the momentum.”
Flowers said he’s expecting a defensive battle, which is why he thinks tackling will be key if the Panthers are going to win.
“I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a defensive struggle. I don’t think it’s going to be a 49-46 type game,” Flowers said. “I think it’s going to be a game where whoever plays the best defense is going to win it. We’ve got to tackle well. That’s the key to the game — tackling. If we don’t tackle well, Selma will repeat the performance they had against Southside last year. They beat us pretty bad.”