Game of the week: Selma, Southside ready for cross-town rivalry game

Published 11:02 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Selma High Saints (0-0) begin their season on the road, but the team only has to travel 10 miles to meet its local rival the Southside Panthers (0-1) on Friday night.

The Selma-Southside game is typically played at Memorial Stadium no matter which team is designated as the home team, but the game will be played at Southside High School this season.

The Panthers have even cleared out more space for parking and added six bleachers to accommodate the anticipated increase in attendance, according to Southside head football coach Daniel Flowers.

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“I think this is the first time since the 80s that Selma High came to Southside,” Flowers said.

The Saints lead the all-time series against Southside 29-6. Selma defeated Southside 52-6 last season, and the Panthers won 24-18 in 2016.

But from 2005-2015, Selma dominated the Panthers. In 10 years (10 games) the Panthers scored more than 10 points just once (Southside lost 35-26 in 2015).

Selma is the larger school in the Class 6A classification, while Southside is in Class 3A.

However, the Panthers still manage to give the Saints a fight.

The Panthers are coming off a week one loss where they challenged another 6A team in Northview.

“I feel like we gained experience,” Flowers said. “The improvement we’re going to see is from week one to week two. I feel like we’re going to see it on Friday.”

Flowers setup the challenging first two weeks of his schedule to help prepare his team for the region games later in the season.

“We’re not going to see the talent level of Northview and Selma High the rest of our season,” Flowers said. “I think they’re preparing us for our region schedule.”

The Saints have depth at multiple positions, two running backs that rushed for more than 100-yards in its Jamboree game and a balanced attack on offense.

“We have to control the momentum, and not let the game get bigger than what it is,” Flowers said. “If we can win two phases of the game, I think we can win.”

The Panthers want to control the tempo of the game to slow down the Saints.

The Saints, on the other hand, will have to prepare for the Panthers offense. The Saints know Southside’s quarterback Malik Johnson is capable of making big plays with his arm and his feet. Containing Johnson is the Saints defensive priority.

“We know that he’s a great athlete and that he can hurt us if we give him a chance to,” Selma High assistant coach De’Andre Wilson said. “Our game plan is to keep him contained. We want to be able to put him under as much pressure as possible. We don’t want him to get comfortable.”

Selma had a good showing on offense in its Jamboree game win against Dallas County this past Friday. The team made some big plays on the ground and through the air, but still wants to improve their offense.

“We started off with a lot of momentum,” Wilson said. “We started the game kind of slow, but eventually we got to where we were satisfied with what we did. We left that game with enough momentum to carry over and the guys are excited for another rivalry game this week”

The Selma players have been breaking down practice saying ‘Beat Southside!” according to Wilson.

“I think we’re going to be fired up and ready to go on Friday night,” he said. “It’s probably the biggest rivalry in the county, so the atmosphere is full of excitement on our end.”

Both teams are dealing with injuries. Southside’s Mariyon Johnson has a broken arm and will miss the game, according to Flowers. Selma’s Maximus Jones injured his shoulder in the Jamboree game and will miss the Southside game, according to Wilson.