Lots on the line for Etowah, Southside

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 Southside (4-3, 2-3) at Etowah (6-1, 4-1)
Series record: Etowah 26, Southside 7, one tie
Last meeting: 2011 Etowah 44, Southside 15
Last week: Etowah 30, Arab 13; Boaz 27, Southside 13

    By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

Simply put, Etowah is still playing for first-round home field advantage and Southside is fighting for its playoff life.

Tied for second in Region 7 with Boaz – next week’s foe – the Blue Devils are in the 5A postseason, barring a meltdown that would include losses to Southside and Boaz.

“I’m not totally sure of the scenarios, because we try to approach it one game at a time,” Etowah coach Sam McCorkle said. “Right now, we’re trying to get home field advantage. If we take care of business, things will work out.”

Home field advantage is still very possible, with Boaz on next week’s agenda.

Meanwhile, because of the Panthers’ one-point loss to Arab two weeks ago, a win over Etowah is almost imperative to the playoff hopes.

“We’ve got to beat Etowah to have any chance,” Southside coach Marty Smith said. “Then there have to be some crazy things happen. But beating Etowah is key. If we lose there, we have no shot, basically.”

With both teams having bigger than normal reasons to try for a win, this game could be very interesting.

“Southside is a good team and this situation will make them more dangerous than ever,” McCorkle said. “We know we’ll have to play our best to win.”

Smith stated that the Panthers could’ve had a chance to beat both Arab and Boaz if it weren’t for mental mistakes and penalties.

Southside had 155 yards in penalties last week and that wasn’t counting the 5-yarders for offside and such.

“The great thing about this team is that they’re still bringing their lunch pails to practice,” he said. “We’ve had great practices this week and the seniors are taking it upon themselves because they feel they’ve let a lot of people down.

“This is an exciting time to be at Southside.”

Dating back to 1986, the Blue Devils have won 19 of the past 22 and 13 of the past 14 games in the series, including the last three contests.

Against Arab, Devin Horton rushed 15 times for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Tyler Bishop went 7-for-8 in passing for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Paul Ruiz recorded a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, while Dominick Pinson scored on a 1-yard run.

Dylan Tucker and Jay Duckett each has  an interception.

Against Boaz, Dantley Coker led Southside with 102 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Patrick Lister completed 9-of-17 passes for 144 yards, while Blake Devine had three receptions for 49 yards.

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