Southside falls to Northview

Published 1:38 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

By Ken Rogers

The Dothan Eagle

Northview didn’t ease into the 2018 season; the Cougars came out firing.

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From the game-opening drive to the final play of the second quarter, Northview was nearly flawless as it rolled to a 27-0 halftime lead over Southside of Selma and cruised to a 34-6 victory on Friday night at Rip Hewes Stadium.

The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. The defense bailed out the offense’s only glaring error of the first two quarters – a fumble that put the Panthers on the Northview 33 – when defensive lineman Cameron Truitt intercepted a center screen pass thrown by Southside’s Malik Johnson.

In all, Northview had five first-half possessions and scored four touchdowns with a nice display of execution and big plays on the ground and through the air.

Malichi (check spelling?) Harvey got the scoring started when he capped off the first drive of the game with a 5-yard touchdown run. The Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage all night. They went 58 yards in 10 plays for the first score.

That drive was done mainly between the tackles. The second score was set up on a fine pass from quarterback Grayson Davis to Jabree Barber on a crossing route. Barber caught Davis’ pass in stride in the middle of the field and turned up the right sideline for a 37-yard gain to the Southside 14.

Two plays later, Barber carried in from the 5. Jack Martin’s extra point gave the Cougars a 13-0 lead.

Northview extended its lead on the possession after Truitt’s clutch interception. The Cougars went 55 yards in six plays in 3:01, scoring on a 2-yard run by Harvey. Martin’s kick made it 20-0 with 6:16 left in the first half.

The Cougar defense forced the third Southside punt of the first half and the offense took over at the 50 after a 28-yard return by Barber. Backup quarterback Jamal Lane made sure the Cougars didn’t let up.

Facing fourth-and-15, Lane connected with receiver Jordan Allen over the middle. Allen spun off contact from a Southside safety, who gambled for the interception but was too late. Allen stayed on his feet and raced the final 15 yards, scoring as the first-half clock had expired. Martin’s extra point sent the Cougars into the locker room with a 27-0 lead.

Southside made six first downs in the first half, but its best field position came after the Northview fumble in the second quarter.

The Cougars’ four touchdown drives in the first half totaled 211 yards of offense.

They weren’t done, either. Lane, who played quarterback most of the second half, ended a nine-play, 50-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Panthers avoided the shutout on their final possession of the game. Quarterback Malik Johnson, who took punishment and never backed away, guided a six-play, 65-yard drive. Johnson finished it himself with a 7-yard touchdown run that came with just 36 seconds left in the game.

Northview got to play a lot of players. Third-team quarterback Nick Bowden came in for the Cougars’ final two possessions.

Harvey led the Cougars with 105 yards rushing on 14 carries. He had just four attempts in the second half and none in the fourth quarter.

The first two Northview quarterbacks were effective. Davis, a senior, was just 2-for-3 passing, both to Barker. Barker caught a 37-yard strike that set up the second touchdown and added a 17-yard completion that started the next scoring drive. Barker also rushed six times for 24 yards and scored a touchdown.

Lane finished 3-for-8 passing for 66 yards with two completions to Allen for 52 yards, including the 45-yard TD.

Southside’s Johnson rushed 16 times – many of them scrambles – for 83 yards. He also was 12-for-22 passing, unofficially, for 175 yards. The Panthers hit five passes for more than 20 yards.

He also was intercepted twice, by Truitt in the first half and by linebacker Nathan Cobb in the second half.

Southside running back-receiver Markendrick Williams caught four passes for 92 yards. The Panthers’ Sandarius Smith caught four passes for 57 yards.