By Deunte Marshall/Sports Correspondent
Southside had to use all of its weapons, both young and old, as the Panthers (5-0, 3-0) defeated Springville, 30-24, on Friday at Springville.
Hunter Armstrong finished the charge with 15 seconds to go in the game with the winning touchdown run.
“I had faith in my teammates that we could get it done and come out with the victory,” said Armstrong.
The game was showing early signs of being a fight, as a lost Southside fumble led to a 15-yard scoring pass from Adam Smith to Jalen Ramsey with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.
The Panthers’ Sage Dale forced and recovered a fumble on the next Springville drive, and Dantley Coker scored his first of two touchdowns with 10:32 remaining in the second quarter.
A little over five minutes later, Blake Devine got into the scoring act with a 5-yard scamper, making the score 14-7 in favor of Southside. But Springville useda hurry up offense and converted a field goal with 2:08 remaining in the half to draw within 14-10.
The ensuing Panther drive was halted when William Foster intercepted a pass and returned it to the Southside 10-yard line, but the Panther defense stepped up with a goal line stand to end the first half.
Springville came out firing in the second half, as Adam Smith completed three straight passes.
On Smith’s fourth attempt, however, Southside’s Holt Keeling stepped in front of the pass in the end zone and took it back to the Panther 35. The Southside offense went three-and-out, however, and Springville’s Charles Bryant hauled in a 15-yard score with 4:19 remaining to give the Tigers their first lead of the night at 17-14.
Southside quickly responded, as Coker scored his second TD of the game with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter.
The Southside coverage team forced a safety on the ensuing kickoff, giving the visitors a 23-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Following a missed Southside field goal attempt, the Tigers took a 24-23 lead on a five-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Mickey Turner with 7:41 remaining in the game.
The Panthers returned the ensuing kickoff to their 20-yard line. The first two plays of the drive went backwards and the Panthers only mustered up a yard on third down.
On fourth and 10, however, Greg Daugherty hit Aleric Williams for a 51-yard completion to the Tiger 29.
The big play stood after some confusion among the game officials, and Southside eventually won the game on Armstrong’s last-minute touchdown run.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Southside head coach Ron Daugherty. “We overcame a lot of mistakes and we fought hard against a good team. A lot of young men stepped up and did some things they weren’t used to doing, and I’m proud of that as well.”
Coker led the Panthers with over 100 yards rushing.
Southside re-enters region play on Friday with a home game against Arab.