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Southside falls in heartbreaking fashion

The fundamentals of football seem to be paying off for the Southside Panthers (0-4), particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

They played the undefeated Greensboro Raiders (4-0) to a draw in regulation of Friday night’s 4A regional clash, but succumbed in overtime 12-6.

“Our guys played with a lot of emotion,” said Southside coach Lem Jones. “They also played with a lot of heart and showed a will to win. These are the things we’ve been preaching.”

The Panther defense held the Raiders in check after giving up a first quarter score.

The defensive charge was led by senior captain Tellis Young, who set up Southside’s first scoring opportunity in the second quarter when he intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 44 yards.

“I thought I could take it all the way in,” said Young. “If I had slowed down and waited for my block, I would have scored.”

The Panther offense failed to advance the ball from 36 yards out. The offense also came up short on another scoring opportunity to end the first half when Demarious Pratt grabbed a Bartavious Hall pass, but was tackled 5 yards shy of the goal line.

Southside got on the scoreboard at the 3:31 mark of the fourth quarter. It drove 65 yards down the field in just seven plays. DeMarcus Smith rushed for 48 of the yards, while Hall took care of the rest from his quarterback position, including a 2-yard plow up the middle for the score. The 2-point conversion failed, tying the game at 6.

Pratt, who intercepted two passes — one in the end zone early in the third quarter to thwart a Greensboro scoring drive, then another in the fourth to give Southside a chance to put the game away with less than three minutes to play.

But the Panthers’ final drive in regulation resulted in an interception with a minute to play, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, a costly holding penalty hurt Southside’s chances to score with the first possession. Greensboro followed with a score in three plays when Antoine Lee carried it in from five yards out for his second touchdown of the game.

“Southside has some good looking kids,” said Raider coach Jack Hazelrig. “They will win some games this year.”