Ellwood running back Rayford Mitchell meets up with Southside linebacker Antonio Rayford during jamboree action Thursday.  The two teams squared off against one another during the first session of the spring jamboree hosted at Southside High School. -- Tim Reeves
Ellwood running back Rayford Mitchell meets up with Southside linebacker Antonio Rayford during jamboree action Thursday. The two teams squared off against one another during the first session of the spring jamboree hosted at Southside High School. -- Tim Reeves

Panthers, Eagles square off in spring football jamboree

Published 5:22pm Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ellwood head football coach Mike Stokes already knew he was entering Thursday’s spring jamboree at Southside High School with a disadvantage.

He had decided to delay the start of spring drills, making time for his athletes to finish exams, focus on classes and prepare for the end of the school year. But, he didn’t know he would have so many athletes not live up to their end of the agreement to show up for practice and workouts, meaning he was forced to suspend 15 players ahead of Thursday’s jamboree.

“If they don’t want to do what they are asked to do, then they aren’t going to show up on gameday and play,” Stokes said. “But, those who did come out here today — they played hard and played well.”

But, for Ellwood, in their matchup against Southside, the two-quarter game ended with just one mistake — a mistake the Eagles would love to have had back.

With just seconds remaining in their game against Southside, Eagles quarterback Jalen Furlow let loose a deep pass that was intercepted by Southside’s De’Vonte Alexander, who then returned it 50 yards to the Eagles 17-yard line, setting up Southside inside the red zone with five seconds left.

On the next play, Southside quarterback Khamari Gibbs found Jalen Booker in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown as the clock expired. The Panthers failed on the two-point conversion, handing Southside a 6-0 jamboree win over Ellwood.

“I was pleased with the way we played today, pleased with the way we were able to run the ball,” Southside head coach Daniel Flowers said. “We made too many mistakes in the passing game and had some penalties that killed some of our possessions. But, you expect that in a spring game.”

Daniels said he too shortened his spring workouts to just 10 days — short of the 15 allowed to teams — and had two quarterbacks he said were still “throwing like they were still playing baseball.”

“We’ve got some work to do, but we’re going to take a little time off and then get back in the weight room,” Daniels said. “I am happy with the way we played today though and am excited about what we might be able to do when the season rolls around.”

Stokes too was pleased with the way his shorthanded Eagles played.

“We were able to run the ball today and run the ball hard,” Stokes said. “Right now, I’d have to say I am happy with where we are heading into the summer workouts.”

The jamboree also featured teams from Central-Hayneville and Central-Tuscaloosa, which also faced off against Southside and Ellwood in alternating two-quarter games.

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