By Chris McCarthy/Editor
A Murphy’s Law of a third quarter was the major factor in Southside’s High’s 43-10 loss to Chelsea on Friday (Sept. 4) at Barney Hood Stadium.
Trailing by only three points at intermission, the Panthers were outscored 30-0 in the first 14 minutes of the second half.
During the above time frame, the hosts gained a total of one yard, lost three fumbles that led to 12 Chelsea points and had three three-and-out-series on offense.
By the time the Panthers managed their initial first down of the second half, the visitors from Shelby County were enjoying a 36-10 advantage early in the fourth quarter.
“First of all, that’s a good football team we just played, but we’re not a bad football team,” said SHS head coach Ron Daugherty. “We made some mistakes and a couple of breaks didn’t go our way. [Chelsea] came out and stuck it to us in the second half. We tried to respond but we had a couple of things go against us and couldn’t fight back.
“On offense, we didn’t play as a unit and we couldn’t keep out defense off the field, and that was what we had to do in order to have a chance in this game. We can’t play behind the chains. We had some situations were we thought we could take advantage of and we didn’t do it.”
It may have seemed like ancient history by the time the final buzzer sounded, but the Panthers had the upper hand in the early going.
After forcing a punt on the game’s opening possession, the hosts went 68 yard in six plays to the Hornet 14, where Alaric Williams took it in for the score. Kris Wilmore’s PAT made it 7-0 at 7:14 of the first quarter.
Wilmore’s 32-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter provided the hosts with a 10-point lead. It turned out to be the high-water mark of the night for Southside.
Chelsea capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive with Matthew Marquet’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Colby Lambert. The Hornet defense then forced a punt, which was returned by Anthony Jones 80 yards for touchdown and a 13-10 lead with 6:16 remaining before halftime.
The floodgates opened on the hosts after Southside’s opening possession ended in a punt after three plays. Chelsea worked its way to the Panther 20, from where Johnson found the end zone for a 20-10 Hornet advantage at 7:33 of third.
Matters quickly grew worse for the hosts. The Hornets recovered a fumble on the subsequent kickoff, and on the next play Johnson scored from four yards out. The Panthers blocked the extra point attempt but still found themselves in a 26-0 hole.
Another Southside punt led to another Chelsea score, this time on Marquet’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Jadarrion Vickers with 32.3 seconds left in the quarter.
The Panthers fumbled the ball away on the next play from scrimmage, and Chelsea made the hosts pay with Thomas’ 28-yard field goal at 10:29 of the fourth period.
The Hornets added a late score with Austin Stallworth’s 7-yard touchdown run.
For Southside, Williams rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries and had four catches for 42 yards. Baylon Fry gained 52 yards on eight attempts.
Triston Shaw was 6-for-10 in passing for 48 yards.
For Chelsea, Zalon Reynolds ran 13 times for 75 yards, while Johnson finished with 55 yards on 12 carries. Marquet completed 7-of-11 passes for 88 yards.
“We have a bunch of kids who are hurting right now, and they should be, because when you put everything you’ve got into something, it hurts when is doesn’t go your way,” said Daugherty. “But we were 1-2 last year at this point and turned it around and had a really good year, so we’ll get back to work and get ready for next week.”
Southside opens Class 6A, Region 7 play on Friday (Sept. 11) with a visit to Arab.