Southside hangs on to defeat Cottage HillPublished 12:26am Saturday, September 7, 2013
After being locked in a 6-6 stalemate at the end of three quarters, the Southside offense came to life in the final period, pushing the Panthers to a 20-12 win over Cottage Hill Friday night.
Despite the offense’s great performance, the play of the night was made by the defense. With the Warriors at the Southside 16-yard line in the closing seconds, Southside’s Jhlandis Sullivan intercepted Cottage Hill quarterback Jalin Booker’s pass in the endzone to preserve the Panthers first victory of the season.
“We played four quarters. Last year we had a problem with playing four quarters,” Southside head coach Daniel Flowers said.
“They didn’t scoreboard watch. I saw them pushing each other and intensity. This is the kind of stuff you need to become a great football team.”
Flowers knew his offense had a big night statistically with 355 rushing yards, but he was most proud of his defense’s effort down the stretch.
“The defense played great all night. The offense just put us in bad situations,” Flowers said. “When you drive the ball to the 20 and 30, you have got to score a touchdown.”
It wasn’t just the Panthers having issues finishing drives, with both teams struggling early on to put points on the board.
A sluggish first quarter was littered with false start and encroachment penalties on both teams, resulting in a scoreless tie entering the second period.
Derick Daniels took a direct snap and ran 22 yards on the first play of the second quarter for a touchdown, putting Southside on the scoreboard first. The Panthers maintained their 6-0 advantage at halftime, but Cottage Hill came out firing on all cylinders to begin the third quarter.
The Warriors marched 57 yards in under three minutes and scored when Booker rushed in a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score at 6-6.
Following the touchdown drive by Cottage Hill, a 36-yard run by Casey Pullom put the Panthers in the redzone.
From there, the drive went backwards. A false start penalty moved Southside from the brink of a touchdown to the 6-yard line and a sack on fourth down ended the drive.
Flowers felt his team “relaxed” when it got in the redzone, something he said the Panthers will work on next week.
The game remained tied until the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter, when a 1-yard run by Daniels gave the Panthers a 12-6 lead. Quarterback Khamari Gibbs followed with a two-point conversion to make the lead 14-6.
Cottage Hill rallied again, as Booker again scored on a 2-yard-run. The two-point conversion failed when Booker’s pass was knocked down by Watts, preserving Southside’s 14-12 lead.
The Panthers were attempting to empty the clock when quarterback Gibbs broke through for a 50-yard touchdown run, giving Southside a 20-12 lead after a failed two-point attempt.
The Warriors put together a solid final drive, started by an excellent kickoff return by David Ward to nearly midfield. Cottage Hill got as close as the 14-yard line but negative plays and the big interception by Sullivan sealed the Panthers victory.
“I’m proud of them. We played hard last week and had a good week of practice. We are getting closer and closer,” Warriors head coach Joe Downey said. “Something good is going to happen for us before it is over with. Southside has a good football team and they played hard. It was just a good battle. It could’ve gone either way. “
Next week Southside (1-1) will travel to play Straughn, who defeated W. S. Neal 21-8 on Friday night.
Cottage Hill (0-2) will play at W. S. Neal next week.