By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
Albertville scored 15 points during a furious fourth-quarter rally against last Friday (Oct. 27, but the Aggies needed 18.
Oliver Diaz’s 23-yard field goal sailed wide left after a high snap with 18.7 seconds remaining, allowing the Panthers to escape with a 20-18 victory at Aggie Stadium in the Class 6A, Region 7 football finale for both squads.
The Aggies’ loss, coupled with Fort Payne’s 19-14 triumph over Pell City, dashed their state playoff hopes. Fort Payne earned the No. 4 seed in Region 7.
Diaz kicked a 29-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth period, cutting Southside’s lead to 13-6. The Aggies (5-4, 2-4) settled for a field goal after a fumble, a five-yard penalty and a five-yard loss pushed them back from a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
Albertville’s kickoff bounced high off the turf and toward the Aggies’ kickoff coverage unit. Brandon Stewart won a scramble for the ball, giving Albertville’s offense possession at the Southside 45.
Seven plays later, Jacob Dendy scored on a 4-yard run to pull the Aggies within 13-12 with 9:33 left. Diaz’s extra point was wide left.
Southside quarterback Gavin Griffin connected with Tristan Riggan for 58 yards on the first snap, giving the Panthers (3-6, 2-4) a first-and-goal at the Albertville 7.
Kenneth Bothwell swept around left end for a 4-yard TD on third-and-goal with 8:02 on the clock. Nolan Johnson’s point-after gave Southside a 20-12 cushion.
The Aggies took the kickoff and marched 75 yards to the end zone.
Ben Allen’s 24-yard pass to Dendy and Tyler Tarvin’s 28-yard run provided the big plays in the drive. Dendy fought his way into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2, shaving it to 20-18 with 5:14 left in the matchup.
The Aggies attempted a reverse pass on the two-point conversion. Isaiah Pankey shook off a pair of Southside defenders, but Dylan Brooks broke up his pass in the end zone.
Runs by Tyler Abernathy of 11 and 36 yards helped Southside reach the Albertville 13, where the Aggie defense stopped Bothwell for a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-four with 2:05 remaining.
Albertville started at its own 10 and marched down the field behind the passing of Allen, a freshman making his second varsity start. Allen was 6-of-8 on the drive, with the big gain a 34-yard throw to Pankey.
Allen’s 7-yard pass to Pankey gave AHS a first-and-goal at the 9. Dendy rushed for three yards, and Allen was held to no gain after being forced to scramble. Allen spiked the ball on third down to stop the clock, because the Aggies had used their three timeouts.
Diaz then missed the field goal, enabling Southside to post its third straight win over AHS on McCord Field.
Diaz’s 25-yard field goal gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead with 1:23 left in the first period.
Southside’s Blake Habyan picked off an Aggie pass just over a minute into the second quarter. The Panthers drove to Albertville’s 15, where Tripp Adams blocked Johnson’s 32-yard field goal try with 6:28 on the clock.
The Panthers grabbed the lead for keeps on Griffin’s 49-yard TD pass to Riggan, who slipped behind the AHS secondary. Eric Jacobs blocked Johnson’s extra point but Southside led 6-3 with 3:06 to go in the second quarter.
Colby Strickland’s diving interception of a tipped pass gave AHS possession at Southside’s 47 with 1:28 remaining.
Diaz hooked a 20-yard field goal wide left after a high snap with 1.4 seconds to play in the opening half.
Southside’s Preston Rich recovered an Aggie lateral on the second play of the third period.
The Aggie defense made a goal line stand, with Cade Boman stopping Bothwell for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 2 at the 8:53 mark of the third.
Albertville’s Jake Millican flipped the field with a 76-yard punt, putting Southside’s offense in business at its 17. Following a penalty, Bothwell broke loose for an 87-yard TD sprint.
Johnson drilled the PAT to make it 13-3 with 5:45 remaining in the period.
Bothwell rushed 12 times for 140 yards.
Southside visits Glencoe this Friday (Nov. 3) in the final game of the season for both teams.