Johnson exits, Southside falls to Montgomery Academy

Published 12:32 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

Montgomery Academy’s William Meacham and Keefe White defend a pass  intended for Southside’s DeQuan Johnson during Friday night’s game. --Daniel Evans

Montgomery Academy’s William Meacham and Keefe White defend a pass
intended for Southside’s DeQuan Johnson during Friday night’s game. –Daniel Evans

Sometimes it’s just not your night. On Friday, Southside (5-2) learned that the hard way.

The Panthers gave up a touchdown on Montgomery Academy’s first offensive play of the game and lost to the Eagles 35-0 in a key class 3A, region 3 showdown. Southside probably could’ve seen the writing on the wall early in the game.

Panthers’ playmaker DeQuan Johnson injured his knee on his first carry of the game and had to be helped off. Johnson returned to play part of the first half but didn’t play a single snap of the second half. Johnson entered the game with 17 touchdowns on the season.

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Luckily, it sounds as if the Panthers’ avoided a major injury to their offensive sparkplug. Southside coach Daniel Flowers said Johnson is going to be fine.

“He just wasn’t himself … and I told him I need you for the rest of the season,” Flowers said when asked why Johnson didn’t play the second half.

The Panthers started the game with the ball and were held to a third down and 5 at their own 43. Southside lined up in a Wildcat formation that put Johnson as the lone player in the backfield.

The ball was snapped well over his head, but Johnson was able to run it down and turn a big loss into a loss of only one yard.  He was slow getting up at the end of the play and had to be helped off the field.

“When the team saw that, it kind of hurt,” Flowers said. “When your leader gets hurt, the other guys kind of stand up and our guys looked worried. I think it knocked off our rhythm some.”

Southside went for it on fourth down, but quarterback G’Neil Johnson was sacked for an 8-yard loss. On the next play, Montgomery Academy quarterback Daniel Lindsey threw a deep pass to Braxton Trest, who rose about two Southside defenders, caught the ball and ran into the end zone for a 34-yard score.

Neither team made any headway the remainder of the first quarter.

Montgomery Academy scored next on a 38-yard field goal from Bradley Westhauser, giving the Eagles a 10-0 lead.

The Panthers drove to the Montgomery 35 on their next possession. G’Neil Johnson was sacked for a 17 yard loss on fourth and 8, turning the ball over to the Eagles. On the first play of Montgomery’s next drive, Keefe White ran 48 yards for a touchdown.

Montgomery led 17-0 at that point with 1:47 left in the first half.  The Panthers threatened to score one more time after Keshawn Arrington caught a 41-yard pass to begin the drive. Two plays later, G’Neil Johnson was intercepted In the end zone by Montgomery’s John Adams, who reached up for a catch similar to one made famous by the NFL’s Odell Beckham in 2014.

Adams caught the pass one handed and was tackled in the end zone and Montgomery went into the half up 17.

Montgomery scored twice early in the third quarter to put the game away.

White scored on a 13-yard rush and Kevin Doh added a 6-yard score.

William Mozingo scored on a 10-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the third to give Montgomery a 35-0 advantage. It was the final score of the night.

“It’s like the guys are waiting for someone to be the hero for them instead of making plays themselves,” Flowers said. “I’m ready for them to take the next step. It’s like they get there, see the team and back down some.”

The Panthers are still in good position for a playoff spot, although they haven’t officially clinched one yet. Southside’s two losses have come to Pike County and now Montgomery, the teams at the top of region 3.

“We are going to bounce back,” Flowers said. “I don’t feel like this is going to hurt us for next week.”

The Panthers play at Central Hayneville on Friday.