Regional rivalry renews

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keith and Southside will approach Friday’s contest from completely opposite perspectives.

The Bears (4-0) will try to continue their surprising momentum. The Panthers (0-4) will again be in search of that elusive first win.

“More and more people are beginning to take a look at us,” said Keith coach Harry Crum. “We play a hard-nosed brand of football, and we don’t apologize for it.”

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On paper, the matchup looks like an easy win for a Keith team that beat Zion Chapel 58-8 last week and has outscored its opponents 167-23 this season.

The Panthers were blown out in their first two losses, and then lost to Holt and Greensboro in heartbreaking fashion. Southside lost to Holt 26-20 in overtime two weeks ago, then fell to Greensboro 12-6 last week.

“Close only counts in marbles. But sometimes you learn more from a loss than a win,” said Southside coach Lemuel Jones. “(A win) would be big because it would be our first win.”

Despite Southside’s record, Jones is encouraged by the progress he sees.

“We may have turned the corner,” said Jones. “We’re beginning to understand what we have to do. I think we’re still growing.”

Crum is not going to let his team overlook the rival Panthers.

“We take nobody lightly,” said Crum. “We have not beaten them in seven years.”

The Panthers will likely not be in awe of the Bears, either.

“Keith has a great ball club,” said Jones. “That will gives us a lot of incentive. Throw out the records.”

Another storyline to follow on Friday is one involving the coaches. Crum coached under Jones at Keith from 1997-98. Jones introduced Crum to the Wing-T offense that has served the Bears well this season.

Given his time under Jones, Crum thinks Southside can be a dangerous team.

“His teams usually got better as the year went on,” said Crum. “We’re going to prepare for them like anyone else.”

Southside and Keith kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at J.V. Caldwell Field in Orrville.