Southside beats Keith as injuries take toll on Bears

Published 12:17 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Southside’s Malik Johnson is tackled by Keith defenders. --Justin Averette

Southside’s Malik Johnson is tackled by Keith defenders. –Justin Averette

Southside High School got back in the winner’s column with a 32-14 victory at Keith to improve to 4-1 on the season.

The Panthers (4-1) took advantage of several Keith (2-3) turnovers for scores.  The Bears were also plagued with injuries, losing Levi Thomas and losing running back Domonique Jones late in the first quarter to shoulder injuries.

Southside was looking to rebound after a tough 49-6 loss to Pike County last week.

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“We need this. That was a hard loss last week, and I feel like that loss stayed with us until tonight,” said Southside head coach Daniel Flowers.

The Panthers fumbled on their first possession, which Keith was able to capitalize on. Jared Edwards found Marquez Hatcher from 35 yards out to put the Bears up 6-0. A successful two-point conversion try by Martavis Hatcher had the home team up 8-0 midway through the first quarter.

The teams traded possessions twice before Southside would answer. The Panthers recovered a Keith fumble and maximized the field position, quickly scoring off a 3-yard run by Chris Edwards.

Southside was able to score again before half. Edwards found the end zone for a second time from 19 yards out. The senior wouldn’t be denied after having a touchdown erased on the prior play due to a holding penalty.

A missed PAT try put the score at 12-8 with a minute left before the break. The Panthers didn’t trail for the remainder of the game.

Turnovers and the injuries took a tool on Keith in the second half. The Bears turned the ball over three times, with Cordell Waller and Dequan Johnson both intercepting passes. Malik Johnson also had a fumble recovery for the Panthers.

“It (injuries) just took our spirit. We just weren’t the same,” said Keith head coach Harry Crum. “Losing Domonique is like losing three players because he starts on offense, defense and special teams.”

Southside was able to add three more scores, including a 26-yard grab by Keshawn Arrington, to go up 32-8.

“We started real slow. We didn’t play like I thought we should with the intensity, but when we came back after half time, our guys played better,” Flowers said.

The Bears made the score a littler more respectable with a late throw from Edwards to Tyrone Lumpkin.  Both teams are home next week. Keith will host Francis Marion, while Southside will welcome B.B. Comer.

Crum said he hopes to have Thomas and Jones back for next week’s key regional game.