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Panthers set sights on perfect game

Playing in the second round of the AHSAA playoffs for the first time in 13 years, Southside coach Chris Raymond and his squad got a tough draw. The 9-2 Panthers have to travel to Mobile Friday night to face the defending state champion UMS-Wright squad.

If Raymond and his team is intimidated, they don’t show it.

Wright, 10-1 on the season, is the toughest test the Panthers have faced yet.

They’re balanced and talented on offense, defense and special teams.

But, at this level, Raymond said, everybody’s good.

The defending state champs provide another challenge for the Panthers.

If Southside has had a weakness this season, it’s been penalties.

Yellow flags are a problem they can’t afford this week.

With the Panthers’ defense at least, perfection may be attainable. Led by Gerarde Shanks, Darryl Watts, Michael Carter and Greg Brown, the Southside defense has been outstanding. If Southside’s defense gives their best effort, the Panthers can play with anybody, including Wright.

The Panthers’ best shot must include a better offensive effort than they got last week against Rehobeth.

The Panthers’ offense managed one long run and a last second drive strung together by a pair of near-miracle fourth-down conversions.

With running back Tony Myles banged up, the Panthers most get more yardage out of all-everything back Darryl Watts.

Myles will rest mostly this week, then be ready to go.

Anderson made a great leaping catch on fourth down to preserve the game-winning drive against Rehobeth.

Although the game was probably the most exciting finish in the school’s history, Raymond said they have put last week behind them.

In fact, just to get them focused on the task at hand, the Panthers had two practices on Tuesday because the team was out of school.

It’s a good thing.

Wright has a ground game led by Dan Cadden and Josh Stapleton that will test that Southside defense.

Taylor Atchison will also find Stapleton out of the backfield for big gains, expect Shanks to shadow the back and try to make a play on a short pass.

Though it’s a long trip down to Mobile, Raymond said he hopes fans will come down and support the team.