By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Ron Daugherty was an extremely happy person last Friday
(Nov. 15) at approximately 10 p.m.
The Southside High head football coach had just witnessed
his Panthers putting together a 98-yard touchdown drive in the game’s final
minutes to notch as 28-121 victory over Cullman and advance to the quarterfinal
round of the Class 5A state playoffs for the first time since the 1980 season.
“We have a lot of confidence in our team and coaching
staff,” said Daugherty. “The Southside and Rainbow City communities have been
great with all of their support.”
The win set up a home date with McAdory this Friday (Nov.
22). The Yellow Jackets (10-2) beat Pinson Valley, 34-17, on Friday.
The Panthers (12-0) scored their go-ahead touchdown with
1:18 remaining on the clock.
Starting at its 2-yard line with less than six minutes
remaining in the game, Southside used five straight runs by Coker to arrive at
the Panther 41.
Hunter Armstrong then gained 59 yards on seven carries, the
final run being a 2-yard TD run.
Southside gained 426 yards in total offense, including 374
on the ground. Cullman (8-4) had
only 66 yards rushing and a total of 277 yards in total offense.
Southside took their first lead of the game with 13 seconds
left in the third quarter, driving 98 yards in 17 plays.
With the Panthers lined up in the wildcat formation, Coker
handed off to Holt Keeling, who then threw a touchdown pass to Austin Abernathy
for a 21-14 lead.
Cullman (8-4) tied the game when Tyler Glenn found Garrett
Crider for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 10:11 remaining in the game.
Cullman scored the game’s first points when quarterback
Tyler Glenn fired an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mason Goodwin to cap 65-yard
series. The PAT gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with 7:50 remaining in the first
Southside, however, needed only one play to draw even.
Blake Devine, who rushed for 91 yards on the
night, took off down the right sideline for 39 yards to the end zone to
tie the game at 7-7 with 7:36 to go in the opening quarter.
The Bearcats drove 47 yards in 10 plays on the next
possession to take a 14-7 lead when Crider ran in for a 3-yard touchdown to cap
a 10-play, 53-yard drive with 4:36 to go in the opening quarter.
Southside quickly answered, driving 84 yards in 17 plays to
draw even on Coker’s 1-yard scoring run. The first half ended with the score
even at 14-14.
Coker led Southside with 197 yards rushing on 40 carries.