Johnson’s five TDs lead Southside past Keith in OT

Published 11:41 pm Saturday, August 29, 2015

Southside’s De’Quan Johnson catches the game-deciding touchdown for Southside in the Panthers’ come from behind 38-32 victory over county rival Keith Saturday.--Justin Fedich

Southside’s De’Quan Johnson catches the game-deciding touchdown for Southside in the Panthers’ come from behind 38-32 victory over county rival Keith Saturday.–Justin Fedich

By Justin Fedich  The Selma Times-Journal

For a game that included four touchdowns of over 50 yards, a heart-stopping goal-line stand and a one-handed catch that sealed the fate of the game nearly 24 hours after it began, this year’s matchup between Keith High School and Southside High School surely did not disappoint.

The Southside Panthers (1-1) defeated the Keith Bears (0-1) at home 38-32 in overtime Saturday. The game, which took two days to complete due to lightning, seemed to be one-sided in favor of Keith for much of the first half.

Email newsletter signup

Although the weather was much calmer Saturday, Southside would come storming back to take the lead.

For much of the game, however, the Panthers were unable to stop Keith running back Domonique Jones. He racked up 189 yards off of 28 carries and bulldozed in for two second-half touchdowns.

While Jones was nearly unstoppable on offense, Southside junior De’Quan Johnson was unstoppable no matter what part of the field he was on.

Johnson scored his first of four touchdowns in regulation on a 47-yard touchdown reception from senior Khamari Gibbs with just over five minutes in the second quarter to give the Panthers their first points of the game after facing a 16-0 deficit.

Less than five minutes later, Johnson was sprinting down the field for an 80-yard interception return on defense. Johnson scored on the play to shrink the Panthers’ deficit to 16-14 at the half.

After Southside and Keith failed to make anything happen on offense with each of their first drives of the second half, Southside took over at its own 27-yard line. A few seconds later, Johnson was running into the end zone after hauling in a 73-yard reception from Gibbs.

It wasn’t long before Keith retook the lead 24-20 with a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Jones. However, Southside would answer again as Gibbs took the ball in from the 1-yard line. Gibbs finished the game with 299 yards passing, three passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.

“Khamari Gibbs played the best game by far since he’s been at Southside,” head coach Daniel Flowers said.

The Bears needed an answer, but instead fumbled the ball away. The first play Southside took over, Gibbs threw it to Johnson for 62 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers led 32-24 and forced a Keith punt on its next possession.

Just when the game appeared to be in the Panthers’ hands, they fumbled it back to Keith. Jones scored his second touchdown of the game with just over five minutes remaining in the game and the game was tied 32-32.

Southside fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Bears drove the ball down to the goal line with time running off the clock.

With four chances to score and potentially end the game, Keith was stopped. Southside’s defense held up and forced overtime.

“I teach them to never give up and to fight until the end, and that one moment there is the reason why I coach football,” Flowers said.

There was no doubt where the Panthers were going with the ball when they had first possession during overtime. With the first play, Gibbs lobbed it to Johnson, who came up with a one-handed catch.

Southside did its job on defense when Keith had possession in overtime, and ended Keith’s hopes of starting the season with a win.

“Our guys played hard and we’ll use it as a learning experience,” Keith head coach Harry Crum said.

Southside will be on the road to take on Satsuma Friday, and Keith will play in its home opener against Linden.