Saints edge Panthers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The 14 total points scored in Selma and Southside’s annual matchup Friday night might give the indication of a tight defensive battle.

The coaches have a different take on that, however.

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Turnovers, missed scoring opportunities and two teams that were having an overall difficult time getting things going in the first game of the season made for some unsightly football.

But things cleaned up enough to make for an exciting final 10 minutes of play, and the Saints took advantage for an 8-6 win.

Justin Brown was nearly perfect passing on a scoring drive that gave Selma a two-point lead with 8:20 to play in the game.

He hit Darius Steele with a 33-yard pass that set up the Saint’s only score of the game. The very next play, Steele hauled in a 30-yard score to tie the game at 6. Brown rolled out of pressure and found Eric Ellis in the middle of the end zone for a 2-point conversion that turned out to be the game winner.

Steele bailed his team out after two sure receptions, including a potential touchdown, were dropped on the Saints’ previous possession.

The Panthers failed to score on a pair of Selma fumbles in the first half but finally broke through after more than 20 minutes of clock had expired.

Even that touchdown was painstaking for Southside.

Three penalties for 20 yards nearly killed what turned out to be a 10-play, 55-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard Kevin Rowe touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, something that haunted the Panthers later on.

Southside physically dominated Selma for the majority of the game, but momentum shifted in the late minutes.

Rowe racked up 111 rushing yards for the Panthers. Quarterback Xavier Mack, who recently got the starting nod over Orlando Brown, was 5-for-13 passing with 53 yards and an interception.

Despite the snags Selma’s offense hit, they balanced their offense fairly well.

T-Ray Mitchell rushed for 73 yards, and Justin Moorer-Jones rushed for 65. Brown had 133 yards on 8-for-12 passing.

Montgomery colorfully expressed that offensive inefficiency next week would result in a loss to Jeff Davis.

Still, he’s glad his second season opener as head coach of the Saints resulted in a second win.